Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Dude, I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but this book gave me major Twilight déjà vu. Now, it might just be me being persnickety, which, much to my chagrin, happens with the same frequency as Bella reminds the reader how orgasmic she finds a single strand of Edward’s (maybe even pubic?) hair. (I can’t help myself—can you?)

Deadly Little Secret opens with a mysterious boy shoving our heroine Camelia (as in Chameleon—oh, the woes of the hippie parents cliché) off the path of an out-of-control car coming straight at her. She’s never seen him before. He asks her if she’s okay. Touches her tummy (yes) and gives her a burning stare.


Then, three months later, at the beginning of junior year, he shows up again. His name is Ben and he was suspected of killing his late girlfriend, but then they never convicted him so there he is. Nothing sobers up a high school student body like a rumored murderer among them, but hey, Camelia doesn’t care. She wants him to touch her again (yes). (Erm...)

But he ignores her. Treats her as if she didn’t exist. It’s all very weird, how he shows up and is allegedly a psycho and at the same time, random creepy things arrive in Camelia’s mailbox: notes, gifts, pictures of her taken on the very same day.

It goes on like that until the pivotal moment in which he walks into Chemistry late and, HELLO, Camelia’s got no lab partner. So they pair up—what choice do they have?—and invest their time in their own chemistry rather than in the H2O kind. All the while, of course, making me wonder if Camelia had some sort of unbalanced equation for a brain.

(Honestly, I’m not condoning the ostracism of people rumored of having committed capital offenses. How reliable are rumors anyway? But a girl in this day and age needs to look after herself, and maybe socializing with a shady citizen isn’t the best idea when she’s the lucky prey of a stalker on the loose.)

The entire setup is at least vaguely reminiscent of Twilight, right? Maybe just a bit? Hooooold on, though:

Soon Camelia discovers the reason Ben is keeping his distance is because he’s got a secret ability he can’t control. And—wait for it—she’s at risk by being near him.


This after a nice picnic they had at the park, where they had a romantic heart-to-heart and talked for hours and bonded and a pretty unicorn on top. It wasn’t a meadow, but... Well, the mind wonders.

The ending was also mildly New Moon-esque. Just throwing that on out there.

Anyway, all the Twilight musings aside, I have to say this book came as a bit of a shock. It was highly recommended to me from a couple of different people and so I was expecting more than it offered. Truthfully, I wasn’t even aware that it was a mystery novel. I love those! But the problem there is, I’m usually pretty good at figuring out early on who the wrongdoer is. I did here, too—by the time Camelia received the first stalker package, I already knew who was behind all the mal-doings. To the novel’s credit, I did second guess myself here and there, but overall it was a more-or-less cemented theory, so...

Deadly Little Secret is a fair novel, I’ll allow that. All of its qualities (the pacing, for instance) notwithstanding, however, I like for books featuring stalkers that strike close to home to give the culprit a more psychological profile. That didn’t happen here. The bad guy was just like any other well-masked criminal, someone you see on the street and think you know and you really don’t. It made me wonder, Why did the person do that? But no further explanation is offered, which I think puts a novel like this, set in a close-knit community, at a disadvantage.

And...well, that’s my take. Quick read and not mesmerizing enough for me to recommend purchasing, but I wouldn’t say it’s worth discarding the possibility of reading as a library loan, either.

My grade? An indifferent C.

To be released on December 23rd. Since I am not recommending it, I decided to review with a few more days before the pub date than is my normal policy for ARC reviews. For more info on this title, click here.

(For those present yesterday, no, this was not the snarky review I had in mind. That one is still in the works.)


Alea said...

Oh you, now I want to know what the snark review is going to be! Hmpf!

Lenore Appelhans said...

I'd say I need to read Twilight and then this, so I can get all the Twilight similarities too :)

Renay said...

I don't even remember Twilight that well (BLOCKED OUT FOR MY SANITY) and that sounds really suspiciously similar in a "filing the serial numbers off" sort of way. Huh.

Amee said...

Wow, that is crazy close to Twilight. Kind of off-putting actually.

Great review though. Can't wait for the snarky one. :)

Anonymous said...

LAURIE STOLARZ ROCK!! ?no? Si, si she does! Me want to read this badly!

Steph said...

It's coming out right before Christmas - less than a month! :)

Emily said...

Okay so this is the one thing I can NOT stand. Using an idea from another book. Seriously? Those similarities are so prevalent that the story sounds just dull to me. Goodness use some creativity!

Gabbi said...

Holy crap! That does sound like Twilight! New Moonesque ending... So, this 'Ben' character thinks our heroine, the Chameleon died via cliff-diving so he scrambles over to Italy to kill himself by public sparkling?


Ew. If Edward's public hair (or, seriously, ANY hair on ANYONE) is giving Bella an orgasm, she has more problems that I suspected.

Diana Peterfreund said...

Ooh, it had a unicorn on top?

Khy said...

Gabbi's comment gave me a question:

Does that mean that when both this Ben fellow and Camelia are about 18, they will get married and have creepy hybrid children?

Liz said...

Hey, fab review. I like your gutsy ways, young lady! I'm steering clear of anything Twilight, having been once smitten and am now a recovering Meyer fan...

Anonymous said...

grrr. i really wanted to read it when i read the summary on barnes & noble but now im not so sure i even wanna buy the book. I'm in love with twilight saga; read the whole series in 6 days. This makes me upset that the two books are so similar. thank yuh for warning me_loved the review!~

Anonymous said...

As soon as I started reading this book I was like "This is just like Twilight (her almost getting hit by a car, Ben saving her"). WELL... my friend also read this book and she didn't think that it was like Twilight at all, so I guess it is how the reader interprets the book? Well thats all I have to say. Yes it was a good book, but I would recommend Laurie Faria Stolarz other series of books called Blue is for Nightmares. Thanks for reading!

Patti said...

Oh god, I just finished reading this and your review was sooo funny!

Patti said...

And spot on by the way :)

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