Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dead is the New Black by Marlene Perez

First published in 2008.

Everyone in the Giordano family is psychic - except for Daisy. When her mother, who uses her powers to solve crimes, enlists Daisy's older sister to investigate a teenage girl's mysterious death, Daisy feels utterly useless. But she takes matters into her own hands when she learns the victim has lots of company - teenage girls are being attacked all over town, including at Nightshade High School, where Daisy is a junior. And when she discovers a vampire may be the culprit, Daisy suspects head cheerleader Samantha Devereaux, who returned from summer break with a new "look." She looks a little . . . well, dead.

Is looking dead just another fashion trend for pretty, popular Samantha, or is there something more sinister afoot? Daisy will stop at nothing to find out - she even joins the cheerleading squad. And with a little sleuthing help from Ryan, an old friend (who may be turning into something more), Daisy not only reveals the id
entity of the vamp, she also discovers powers that she never knew she had. (book back blurb)

You know, this was one of those books where I read it, I was pretty entertained but there was nothing spectacular enough to make anything really jump out at me. The story kind of blends into every other vampire/cheerleader/maybe boyfriend story out there and I really don't think it had the oomph enough to elevate it over the crowd.

It gets huge kudos for the Santa Cruz reference, not to mention its wharf. I'm curious to know why she didn't reference the Boardwalk since that's really where all the teenagers hand out. Maybe Perez felt the wharf needed a little love too. That's ok. But big-up to that.

The writing was decent. Didn't sweep me off my feet but I didn't hate it either. It was writing.

And what's with the name Devereaux in teen lit lately? This is, like, the third book I've read with someone with that surname. Is everyone accessing the same names database or something?

Anyway, the whole "awkward girl becomes a cheerleader" motif is getting really old and I'm just plain old tired of it. From the books out there with something like this in it, you'd think that were every girl's dream or something. Can we find a new way to infiltrate the in-crowd, please? Popularity and cheerleading are not the only bed mates.

The story as a whole had a real campy feel, but I mean that in a good way. I like camp. I liked the big reveal at the end. Very kitsch but I really liked it. My guess was teetering back and forth between the actual culprit and another character so I was close to guessing who it was! But parts of it had that kind of old school Goosebumps feel which is always a good thing. You can never go wrong with that feeling.

The characters were kind of typical. I didn't find too much about them that really stood out to me. They were relatable enough but that also made them kind of forgettable too, unfortunately.

There were some really interesting tidbits hinted at in this story though that I think hold a lot of potential. The whole supernatural committee is really intriguing and I'm wondering if Perez was influenced at all by, "Ghouls and werewolves occupy high positions at city hall." (ten points if you know where that's from) And Daisy coming into her powers were really interesting although if she ends up taking the Special Child route and gets the powers of all of her family members combined, that would severely disappoint me. I doubt I'm going to read the following books so someone's going to have to update me on that one.

You know, overall, it was just kind of blah for me. It was paranormal, it had a slight love interest, a "normal" girl that "normal" teens can relate to, the bitchy cheerleader with the pig boyfriend, the boy friend/boyfriend. To me it just blended too easily. It's not a bad read. It really isn't. But I've read better. If you like kitschy, campy paranormal (again, not a bad thing), then pick this one up. There's nothing not to like about it. It's just a matter of what your tolerance level is for this kind of thing as a whole and, frankly, I'm a little oversaturated on the same 'ol.


Tom Bailey said...

I like your blog you write a great review and you have a very interesting topic.

I stumbled onto your blog and I am glad that I did.

Best regards,
Tom Bailey

ParaJunkee said...

My orthodontist is Dr. Devereux so you know that name always stands out to me - and you know what it has been used a few times. In Witch & Curse right? I don't remember the other book. That's funny. I bought this book for my 12 year old neighbor for her birthday - but I knew it would just be too tweeny for me. - Parajunkee

Unknown said...

Great review, I have this one, but keep pushing it down in the TBR pile - looks like that's a good to save for when there's nothing else really going on...right now soo much good stuff I want to read!


Anonymous said...

Love the review and the cover, but I will pass on this one. It doesn't sound all that good.

Donna (Bites) said...

Yeah, it was one of those meh books. It's not bad but not good enough to leave an impression.

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