Jason Bradley has everything going for him. He’s Banner High’s first-string varsity wide receiver, headed to another State championship, and the college recruiters are already knocking on his door. His girlfriend is every guy’s dream, there’s a brand new black Camaro with a 6.2L, V-6 engine parked in his garage, and he’s on cruise control.
But when the school’s beloved football coach turns up dead and Jason’s found standing over the body, his cruise control cuts off bringing his charmed life to a screeching halt, and the reality of being an accused murderer of the first degree takes over.
When everyone else walks away and leaves him to hang, one girl can’t. But it’s going to take more than guessing and wishing to get through to him and the truth of what happened, since he seems bound and determined to accept his fate as a criminal, tried as an adult and eligible for lethal injection.
Can one really determined girl get to the bottom of the mystery when no one else seems to care? It would be so much easier to watch him go down, and for many, maybe just a little bit too satisfying. After all, who isn’t guilty of finding pleasure in seeing that perfect someone suddenly exposed for the self-centered prick that he really is?
3 stars — So my husband asked me how I was liking this book, and the conversation went something like this:
“How’s the book?”
“Are you going to say ‘It’s unique’ next?”
He’s a bit of a smartass. But it really is hard to define this book. It’s a bit out of my wheelhouse — I don’t read a lot of mystery type books. I saw it categorized under suspense and thriller, but those don’t feel like they quite fit either. And while it does have a smidge of romance, I wouldn’t call it that either.
In fact, as anyone who reads my reviews can tell, I tend to stick with books that have at least a smidge of romance in them, and it will play heavily into my enjoyment of a book. And that would be one area where this book kind of let me down. It definitely wasn’t the focus of the book, but the romance was there…only it wasn’t all that compelling, and I didn’t really get the feels from it. Their friendship I definitely felt and really enjoyed, but the romance aspect just didn’t work for me.
Quite honestly, Katy kind of confused me. There were certain bits about her I just adored — she was hilariously awkward and adorkable, and said/thought some of the funniest things. But when she was analyzing her feelings about the case, I kind of got lost…like I couldn’t quite understand what she was trying to say in her head, or how exactly she feels. She would say she was feeling guilty or like a horrible human and sometimes it would come out of nowhere and wouldn’t make sense to me. Maybe that was more just me? I don’t know. But she really did confuse the heck out of me sometimes. Even with regards to her feelings towards Jason and the way that relationship progressed — one moment she would still be confused about his feelings for her (thinking he just felt for her as a friend), and the next paragraph she seemed to understand (that he loved her) and yet I didn’t see the transition. Maybe I was just too tired and I missed something. But that would be a huge part of why the romance didn’t work for me, b/c her change in perspective came out of nowhere.
So really this story was more about the murder and the mystery surrounding it. And I guess that’s where I was kind of bummed out too — b/c I made some educated guesses practically right from the beginning that turned out to be in the right direction, and I was just surprised that Katy didn’t make those leaps as quickly. I mean, if you’re looking for a reason, what would be the kind of thing that would drive someone to murder? And a coach no less?
This book was heavy on the teenagerness too. Duh, it’s a YA. But it was sometimes hard to see Katy acting like a brat towards her parents. She was very volatile in her emotions, and sometimes that was a bit cringeworthy. I know it’s pretty realistic for a teenager, but maybe I just wasn’t in the mood. And there was a bit of stereotypicalness about the people in the high school. Heck, I was even hoping for more out of her and Jason’s conversations about the different social circles, and how not everything was as it seemed. I never really felt like Katy got what Jason was trying to say there…and it was kind of a poignant moment.
So I was initially at 3.5 stars for this book, but I’m gonna have to go with 3 stars after having written all that out. That’s not even everything that bugged me. I really did enjoy the funny aspects of this book, and even some of the heartwrenching ones (Jason and his father in particular really got to me, and I thought that their circumstances were portrayed well). I guess I just was hoping for more out of Katy, and while her humour was top notch, I couldn’t always empathize with what she would do or think. I’m probably not making any sense to anyone but me at this point…oh well.