Sunday, February 23, 2014

Dead is the New Black by Marlene Perez

Synopsis:  Welcome to Nightshade, California—a small town full of secrets.
It’s home to the psychic Giordano sisters, who have a way of getting mixed up in mysteries.
During their investigations, they run across everything from pom-pom-shaking vampires to shape-shifting boyfriends to a clue-spewing jukebox. With their psychic powers and some sisterly support, they can crack any case!
Teenage girls are being mysteriously attacked all over town, including at Nightshade High School, where Daisy Giordano is a junior. When Daisy discovers that a vampire may be the culprit, she can’t help but suspect head cheerleader Samantha Devereaux, who returned from summer break with a new “look.”Samantha appears a little . . . well, dead, and all the most popular kids at school are copying her style.       
Is looking dead just another fashion trend for Samantha, or is there something more sinister going on? To find out, Daisy joins the cheerleading squad.

My Thoughts: A book with an interesting idea but a less than polished execution.

The Good: The idea of a family of psychics and one "norm" (aka no woo-woo powers) investigating mysteries has excellent potential. Daisy, the "norm", seems a typical teenage who just doesn't feel as if she fits in with her powerful psychic sisters and mom. Feeling like an outcast is a good theme for a YA novel even if it has been done over and over again.

The Bad: Touting this book as a paranormal mystery is misleading. The mystery is very underdeveloped and has no depth. There were only a few viable suspects and Daisy jumps to conclusions to the point of suspecting each of them at one time or another based on nothing more than their attitude and her teenage intuition. Also, the world building is poorly constructed with no real rules to Perez's Nightshade world. Daisy's acceptance in werewolves and vampires is instantaneous with no explanation as is her Frenemy, Samantha's acceptance of the same thing. Readers have to conclude that because Daisy and Samantha live in a world of psychics there must be other things out there too.

And The Ugly:  Because this book is quite short (less than 200 pages) one would expect that the author would make every page count. Unfortunately, that isn't the case. The storyline feels scattered and is full of unnecessary tangents. A lot of time is spent on Daisy's culinary expertise yet she spends very little time investigating the "deaths". I put deaths in quotes because the dead girls seem to come back to life with no explanation only to have everything wrapped up very quickly in a happily ever after bow where no one actually died. Maybe. I'm still not clear on that issue nor am I 100% clear why so much time was wasted on Samantha's "Dead" look when it had no impact on the story.

In a Nutshell: Overall I didn't completely hate this book. As I mentioned first, it did have potential. I'll continue on to the second book in the series to see if Perez can reign in some of her ideas and create a more cohesive storyline. Even though I will continue on to the second book in this series I don't think I would recommend this book to my friends. I'd go as far as saying "Read at your own risk."
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