A haunting young adult novel about a girl who can talk to the dead is something that I would definitely be interested in reading. Add the fact that the book is published by ChiZine Publications (under the company’s ChiTeen imprint) and it then becomes a must read. This book is “Dead Girls Don’t” by Mags Storey.
Liv was an outsider at the exclusive Rosewood Academy. She was the type of girl who hoped that people would not notice her because those who did just heaped shame and humiliation upon her. She was from a poor family, unlike most of her classmates, and helped her single mother make ends meet by working in a funeral home. Liv’s world changed on the day that a killer begin to prey upon the students who had been making her life so difficult. It was not the reduction of the number of bullies that caused her life to change, however. Rather, it was her newly discovered ability to talk to the dead.
Not only can she talk to the dead, but she is talking to the same souls that had tormented her when they had been alive and finds herself drawn to solve the mystery of their deaths. All clues point at Adam, who escaped from a detention center and who she had been helping hide from authorities due to her undeniable attraction to him, although she had assumed all along that he was framed. Further complicating matters is that her only friend, Gabriel, seems to be hiding a sinister secret of his own. With no on in whom she can confide, Liv finds herself torn between the living and the dead as she tries to stop the killer before the body count gets any higher.
There is no doubt that “Dead Girls Don’t” is a book written for teenagers and there is a lot of high school drama in the book. With prom looming, the characters are consumed with thoughts of the big dance whether they be good or bad. Preparations for the big night and the complexities of high school relationships fill the book and this is something that is normally not topics that I find interesting. Too much of the high school life has derailed young adult novels for me before when they take center stage rather than hovering in the back and there were a couple times when I was afraid that this was going to happen with this novel. Luckily, however, it did not.
Storey does a good job of putting enough of this in the novel to keep the interest of a young adult reader but the book is not dependent upon the high school drama. “Dead Girls Don’t” is quite simply a smart and entertaining supernatural mystery that has a strong enough story to appeal to readers of all ages. I quickly fell into the world of the novel and did not want to put the book down. Storey puts enough twists and turns into the novel to keep the reader guessing and does a good job in developing the characters so that they seem real and are easily accessible. I cruised through the novel thinking that this is a good, three-star book and then Storey drops the hammer at the end and turns up the story for a strong ending that made the book much stronger. If you are not a fan of young adult fiction, there may be a touch too much teenage drama for you but I would still suggest giving the book a chance. If you like young adult mysteries and thriller, this novel is sure to be a rare treat.
I would like to thank ChiZine Publications and NetGalley for this review copy. “Dead Girls Don’t” is available now.