Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading ... Dead to Me by Mary McCoy

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Just Finished Reading ... Dead to Me by Mary McCoy

Dead to Me
by Mary McCoy
Published by Disney-Hyperion
on March 3, 2015

Source: e-ARC for review

Synopsis from Goodreads: "Don't believe anything they say." Those were the last words that Annie spoke to Alice before turning her back on their family and vanishing without a trace. Alice spent four years waiting and wondering when the impossibly glamorous sister she idolized would return to her--and what their Hollywood-insider parents had done to drive her away. When Annie does turn up, the blond, broken stranger lying in a coma has no answers for her. But Alice isn't a kid anymore, and this time she won't let anything stand between her and the truth, no matter how ugly. The search for those who beat Annie and left her for dead leads Alice into a treacherous world of tough-talking private eyes, psychopathic movie stars, and troubled starlets--and onto the trail of a young runaway who is the sole witness to an unspeakable crime. What this girl knows could shut down a criminal syndicate and put Annie's attacker behind bars--if Alice can find her first. And she isn't the only one looking.
My take: 1940s Noir -- think Chinatown or L.A. Confidential -- meets YA as good girl Alice tries to solve the mystery of how her wayward older sister ended up beaten and unconscious in the hospital.

To me, noir stories are all about exposing the dark, seedy underside of things. Because I love moral ambiguity, these kind of stories always appeal to me. This book is set in 1940s Hollywood, as sheltered Alice tries to unravel the mystery of her older sister's horrific injuries and learns a lot of hard lessons about the world in the process. Noir stories also often involve a shocking betrayal, and I felt that this aspect of the book didn't feel as crushing as it could or should have.
Highlight for spoiler: Cy's betrayal would have felt a lot sharper if he and Alice had more of a relationship. I was never quite sure what his role in the story was -- as a potential love interest for Alice? I was surprised that he was the betrayer, but in more of a "huh" kind of way, not an "OMG!" kind of way. End spoiler.

The setting of this book was great -- I always love Hollywood stories that are able to emphasize both the glamour and the seediness of that world. There was pretty much zero romance, which was fine with me, but I also felt that the setting and plot overshadowed the characters to some extent. There was one character (Jerry) who was intriguingly hard to pin down, but some of the others felt a bit typecast: the plucky heroine, the loyal best friend, the sleazy, womanizing villain, the brassy bad girl with the heart of gold, etc. And while I liked the the hardboiled voiceover quality of the narration, in a book that can result in a bit of a tell-not-show feel. Then again, that's pretty much the noir style: the world-weary detective tells you a story about how one day this dame walked into his office....

Dead to Me has a lot to offer -- it feels completely different from the typical YA historical fiction, and it features a lot of great girl power and some unexpected plot twists. If you're looking for something different to read, give it a try!

18 comments:

  1. Yay, great to hear when a book takes a turn from the typical or norm for a genre and makes something special

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did enjoy the fact that it's not the typical YA

      Delete
  2. Looks really interesting. I'm intrigued by the "different from the norm" description. I wasn't aware of this book....

    Kate @ Ex Libris

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love me a good noir story! Gonna have to move this one higher on my TBR list.

    Courtney @ Storybook Slayers

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to find another noir fan. Let me know what you think!

      Delete
  4. I actually hadn't heard of this one before but by the synopsis alone, I wouldn't guess it's historical fiction. I'm definitely intrigued by this one Jen and I want to learn more about characters and the mystery. Lovely review :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it takes place in Los Angeles in 1948

      Delete
  5. It just doesn't sound like a book that I could get into. As much as I love historical fictions, this one doesn't really have any appealing qualities. It's great that you're able to find enjoyment in it, nonetheless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fair enough :) I do love some noir!

      Delete
  6. Girl power and plot twists? THAT'S WHAT I WANT TO READ. Also I don't think I've ever read a noir-ish kind of YA. Omg. There is clearly a hole in my reading habits. *scrambles for goodreads*

    ReplyDelete
  7. "There was pretty much zero romance" - oh my gosh, a YA novel without romance? I think I must read this. And yay for mystery! I actually haven't read much YA historical fiction, but this one sounds good!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Awesome review! I enjoyed this one as well. I loved the whole film noir vibe and the classic mystery feel. It was a little more grittier than I thought it would be and reminded me a bit of Veronica Mars. I wish there was a little more romance though.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I don't think one is for me but I like the sound of the twist! I love things like that.

    Karen @For What It's Worth

    ReplyDelete
  10. THIS looks really good! Between the awesome cover, synposis and your review I need to get my hands on this one. Thanks for sharing!
    -Jon from Bookish Antics!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love glamour in books! And it's always nice to read about something we don't have, you know? I remember loving this YA Hollywood series - Secrets of My Hollywood Life - because I was reading about stuff I did not know about, you know? And it was really authentic since the author is a journalist. Anyway, great review!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I love noir type books too, Jen. And if you are a fan of morally ambiguous characters have you ever read V.E. Schwab's Vicious? Those two main characters are easily the most morally ambitious I have ever read. Schwab does a good job with that type character in her latest too (which I ADORED.) I feel like I'm totally pimping that author out to you but it's the truth!

    ReplyDelete
  13. With a demographic that's slowly becoming stagnant by the day, I'm always game to read something new from the Young Adult category! I've read very few noir books, but I've always loved the settings they usually are in, and the grim plots and atmosphere. The fact that this doesn't have any romance at all makes it more enticing than not!

    Faye at The Social Potato

    ReplyDelete

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I hope you'll leave me a comment. I read and appreciate each and every one and try my best to reply. Leave me a link to your blog or website!

 
Blog design by Imagination Designs