Book Review: Truly, Madly, Deadly by Hannah Jayne
They Said It Was An Accident…
Sawyer Dodd is a star athlete, a straight-A student, and the envy of every other girl who wants to date Kevin Anderson. When Kevin dies in a tragic car crash, Sawyer is stunned. Then she opens her locker to find a note:
Someone saw what he did to her. Someone knows that Sawyer and Kevin weren’t the perfect couple they seemed to be. And that someone—a killer—is now shadowing Sawyer’s every move…
Truly, Madly, Deadly by Hannah Jayne is a murder mystery. It is a whodunit and as more people die one after the other, it is a who-is-doing-it. I don’t care who you are, when you pick up a murder mystery we are all transformed into Sherlock Holmes. When I read a mystery I build and discard theories. That’s half the fun! You have to look at what clues the author is giving you and also think about what mystery clichés the author might be using. ? Is it an evil twin? The once childhood friend turned enemy? The confidant? The seemingly betrayer? What pattern is the author using to build their story? Nobody and nothing are what they seem. As my theories come and go, I try to pay attention to everything. Nothing pleases me more than getting to the end of a murder mystery and having my theory proven right. Unless, of course, I’m proven very wrong in a very original way.
What I Liked
I went through several theories while reading Truly, Madly, Deadly. About half way through, I settled on one theory that persisted all through the rest of the book. I was sure I knew what was going on. I was all pleased with myself for figuring it out. But when I reached the end, I was dead wrong. (Oh, look. A pun.) The killer turned out to be someone I wasn’t even considering and that is a mark of a great murder mystery.
Truly, Madly, Deadly is well crafted. I loved Sawyer and the rest of the characters. Sawyer’s voice and how she reacted to events were believable. Some people might see Sawyer as a bit of a wimp but you have to remember that she’s a kid. Sawyer is confused, doesn’t know what’s happening to her, if she’s losing her mind or not, has no support, and I think she reacts appropriately to events. That is, she freaks out and makes things worse.
This book is creepy. I felt the rush of anxiety as the notes kept coming and Sawyer didn’t know what was happening. I felt the fear as Sawyer was chased while out running and wonders who is watching her every move. Truly, Madly, Deadly is at its heart a stalker story and as a woman, I find that very upsetting and unnerving.
What I Didn’t Like
There was one point where I nearly threw the book across the room in disgust. Near the beginning, Sawyer gets talked into going to a party by Chloe and while there, mind you this is soon after her boyfriend dying and just after finding the note implying he was murdered and not killed by accident, she meets a boy she hasn’t given two looks at before and, suddenly unable to control herself, kisses him and has a lovely make out session in the backyard of the party house. You have got to be kidding me! This is what annoys me about the characters in YA books. Scenes like that make it seem like nobody can control themselves and just want to f*ck all the time. It’s ridiculous.
I have to express my righteous fury for how Sawyer’s parents deal with her depression. Tear a teenager’s whole life and family apart, her mother abandoning her and moving half way across the country, and popping down some stranger as her new mommy? Just buy her a new car and give her a bedroom with her own private bath! Kid still not acting like everything is hunky-dory? She must be broken! Send her to the shrink and put her on sleeping pills. Yeah, that’s A+ parenting there! Assholes. No wonder Sawyer has rock bottom self-esteem. Her parents are treating her like some sort of failed experiment whose existence is now nothing more than an inconvenience.
I would have liked some more explanation on how the killer accomplished what they did. How did they get into the house, into Sawyer’s locker, kill Kevin and the teacher? Details were a little thin on that. And I think with one of the murders, quite impossible for the killer to do.
I felt like some of the secondary characters were just there to give us other people to suspect as the murderer. They really don’t add anything to the story. They are merely functional. There are also a lot of high school character troupes in use. It made the book feel like the author had used a checklist for the characters.
This was a creepy and fun read. It was super quick. I read it in a day and really enjoyed it. It had a few problems and I was left with some confusion after the end but I still liked it. The romance between Cooper and Sawyer added nothing to the book and was actually slightly irritating. The messages to Sawyer really made the creep factor for me and I think it was what made the story so unsettling. I probably would have died on the spot if I found the ‘You’re Welcome’ message in my locker. As the deaths pile up, it seems like everyone is in danger and nobody is safe and all the evidence is pointing right to Sawyer. The reader is kept on their toes. Truly, Madly, Deadly by Hannah Jayne was a good murder mystery but just an okay YA book.