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Famous Last Words

Famous Last Words

4.4 23
by Katie Alender

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Hollywood history, mystery, murder, mayhem, and delicious romance collide in this unputdownable thriller from master storyteller Katie Alender. Willa is freaking out. It seems like she's seeing things. Like a dead body in her swimming pool. Frantic messages on her walls. A reflection that is not her own. It's almost as if someone -- or something -- is trying to send


Hollywood history, mystery, murder, mayhem, and delicious romance collide in this unputdownable thriller from master storyteller Katie Alender. Willa is freaking out. It seems like she's seeing things. Like a dead body in her swimming pool. Frantic messages on her walls. A reflection that is not her own. It's almost as if someone -- or something -- is trying to send her a message. Meanwhile, a killer is stalking Los Angeles -- a killer who reenacts famous movie murder scenes. Could Willa's strange visions have to do with these unsolved murders? Or is she going crazy? And who can she confide in? There's Marnie, her new friend who may not be totally trustworthy. And there's Reed, who's ridiculously handsome and seems to get Willa. There's also Wyatt, who's super smart but unhealthily obsessed with the Hollywood Killer. All Willa knows is, she has to confront the possible-ghost in her house, or she just might lose her mind . . . or her life. Acclaimed author Katie Alender puts an unforgettable twist on this spine-chilling tale of murder, mystery, mayhem -- and the movies.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Willa's new stepdad, Jonathan, is a movie director, which is how she finds herself transplanted to Hollywood from suburban Connecticut. Willa isn't particularly thrilled about her mom remarrying—she is still reeling from her father's death two years ago. But for her mom's sake she is determined to make it work. On the plus side there's Marnie, a new friend at school, and Reed, Jonathan's cute, young assistant who seems to like Willa as much as she likes him. Unfortunately, there's also a murderer, aka the Hollywood Killer, on the loose who enjoys re-creating iconic scenes from classic movies, such as the final attack scene from Hitchcock's The Birds. The murderer's victims—always young aspiring actresses—play the starring roles. Wyatt, Willa's unfriendly chemistry lab partner at school, seems oddly obsessed with the crimes. As if that weren't enough, Willa's new house is haunted. The ghost is desperate to tell her something; Willa thinks it might have something to do with the Hollywood Killer. The plot moves at a breakneck pace as Alender has jam-packed her latest novel with murder, ghosts, and romance. At the heart of this story, however, is Willa coming to terms with her father's death. Fans of the author's "Bad Girls Don't Die" series (Disney-Hyperion), as well as readers who enjoy suspense and supernatural elements with their romance, won't be disappointed.—Ragan O'Malley, Saint Ann's School, Brooklyn, NY
From the Publisher


"Katie Alender spins a killer ghost story that will haunt your heart." --Margaret Stohl, #1 NYT bestselling co-author of BEAUTIFUL CREATURES
"A compelling supernatural thriller." --KIRKUS REVIEWS


"All the flavor of a macaron, bound by a ganache of sweet, supernatural grit."
"A story that mixes slice-of-life teen drama with supernatural menace, infused with the sights, sounds, and tastes of a Paris that comes to life in the process."

VOYA, October 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 4) - Stacey Hayman
Nothing has felt right since her father’s unexpected death two years ago. Willa thought trying to contact her dad in the afterlife would ease the loss, but there has been no response from the other side—so far. Leaving Connecticut for Hollywood and a fresh start with her mom and her new stepfather, movie director Jonathan Walters, might not fix anything, but it could not hurt, could it? Connecting with Jonathan’s assistant, Reed, as well as Marnie and Wyatt, fellow juniors at her new private school, eases the transition, but are they real friends? Time will tell as Willa is slowly drawn into the mystery surrounding the serial murderer Hollywood Killer, and clues lead her to places she does not want to go, clues seemingly provided by unknown, maybe unfriendly, spirits drawn by the portal meant for her dad. Is there anyone, alive or dead, who can help Willa? It is hard to believe how much the author is able to accomplish in a relatively short number of pages. A great backstory offers plausible explanations for elements in the current drama—dispensing important pieces of information without spoiling the big reveal and creating spine-chilling scenes of supernatural activity—and makes the exhilarating twists and turns so much more powerful. Hollywood-style gossip and film appreciation, both past and present, strengthen the sense of place. Complex personal relationships, including a few romantic choices for Willa, make the whole story relatable. Teens will keep the lights on all night to finish reading, but leave them on, just in case. Reviewer: Stacey Hayman; Ages 11 to 18.
Kirkus Reviews
Willa uses her mysterious ability to communicate with the beyond to track a murdering psychopath.After moving to Los Angeles with her mother and stepdad, Willa discovers a ghostly presence haunting their new home. The local news is consumed with reports of a serial killer stalking up-and-coming actresses, and it doesn't take long for Willa to figure out that their specter is one of the butcher's victims. It's a clever premise, and the whodunit fails in only one aspect: It's incredibly obvious who did it. Once the killer is introduced as an ancillary character, even novice detectives will be able to point and cry, "Guilty!" Luckily, the characters and their investigation more than make up for this. The procedural elements are well-executed and complemented by characters that readers will truly come to care about and a romance that resonates. Alender enhances the mystery by setting it in Hollywood, a town where no one is quite who they seem to be. The result is a mystery that's worth it for the chase if not for its conclusion.A compelling supernatural thriller. (Paranormal mystery. 12-16)

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Sold by:
Scholastic, Inc.
Sales rank:
File size:
7 MB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Katie Alender is the acclaimed author of several novels for young adults, including Bad Girls Don’t Die, From Bad to Cursed, and Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer. A graduate of the Florida State University Film School, Katie now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their daughter. She enjoys reading, sewing, and eating delicious high-calorie foods. To find out more about Katie, visit katiealender.com.

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Famous Last Words 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I literly couldn't put the book down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This has got to be my favoritebook right now i was reading it and i literally couldnt put it down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it! Would definitely recommend to anyone who enjoyes mystery, ghost stories & suspence.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book kept me on the edge of my seat, i couldn't take my eyes off it. It is an amazing book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good story with many twists. The killer is the one you least expect.
valercrazy More than 1 year ago
This has been in my TBR pile for a few weeks and every time I looked at it, I thought “I’m so excited to read that book” and it didn’t let me down! This book was great! I was worried because I read some reviews that described it as mediocre but I have to disagree. It was a quick read that captivated me from the very beginning; I was taken on such an enjoyable ride that kept me guessing the entire time. I am just now realizing that I have an addiction to mysteries and this book just added to it. The premise of the story was thoroughly interesting and it was told in a way that kept the reader invested to the very end. The Hollywood Killer recreates famous movie deaths with his victims; he has a type, aspiring actresses, and he has a routine, setting up a fake audition and then keeping the victim alive for four days practicing the big scene, which made for a super creepy read. I got creeped out quite a few times with this book but that’s the point, good job Katie.  There are paranormal beings in this book but what really impressed me was the balance that Katie created between the paranormal and reality. I mostly read contemporary and since it was grounded in reality, it was easy for me to immerse myself in. It was really impressive to me how well the two were integrated while never outshining one another. The writing was what really made this book come together.  I actually really enjoyed the MC, Willa, because she was snarky but not annoying. I found her to be quite funny while still being a believable teenager; she complained about rules and relied on others but this made me really like her as a character. My favorite part of the entire book was the flashbacks; Willa had flashbacks through the eyes of the victims of The Hollywood Killer. How interesting! It added so much to the story and it helped give the paranormal an added importance to the story.  I think that mysteries are perfect for me because I suspect everyone and don’t find out who the murderer is until the author reveals that knowledge to me. It all came together at the end and it all made sense, the book dropped hints throughout but I was too enthralled to even notice. I give it my stamp of approval. Great read.  The part that I didn’t really like was the romance; it was fine but not as good as the rest of the book. This was an enjoyable book and I’m glad that I got to read it. 
Anonymous 5 months ago
Famous Last Words is an amazing novel that I could not put down.?
nxomilee 7 months ago
I lived the book!! I couldn't stop reading it, because its So Good. Her is a summary I wrote for the book, After her dad's death 2 yrs ago, a girl named Willa moved to Hollywood to live with her new stepfather, Jonathan and her mom, she met 3 new people over time, Marine, a friend she thought she could count on to tell the truth, Reed, a charming guy that works for her new stepfather, Jonathan, and Wyatt, who might be the key the what's happening in her new house. Willa goes over a series of supernatural events, that all lead to the killings in Hollywood, the killer is called “The Hollywood Killer”. In the end maybe those supernatural events had a meaning to find her dad’s secrets, maybe even him, bring her closer together to Wyatt, or would it be the end for Willa? I rate this book a 5/5, it gives you a great horror and love story tied into one.
BookPrincessBlog 9 months ago
I had been craving a little something different when I decided to read this book. I remember enjoying Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender quite a few years ago, so I was interested when I saw that she had a bunch of mysteries that involved ghosties. I love me a good ghostie mystery, and this book did deliver. Willa is seeing things. It all started after her mother and her move into her stepfather's Old Hollywood mansion that beloved to a once beloved Old Hollywood actress. It is even said to be haunted by the actress herself, but perhaps that explains the writing on the wall, the footsteps in the hall, and someone dead floating in the pool when there's no one there. If this wasn't enough for Willa, there's a killer on the loose, targeting young actresses. Who can Willa trust? And what happens when she becomes a possible target on the killer's list? I did enjoy this book. The mystery and ghost element balanced each other out so I wasn't too creeped out by the ghosties (although, I mean, I totally was - this was far creepier than Ghost Hunters, which you already may know makes me pee my pants a bit) and I was intrigued by the mystery. It had enough for ghostie fans but also enough for mystery fans. I liked Willa well enough. She's not super memorable - I read this back in April, and writing this review, I had to go back to look up her name because I couldn't remember what it was for the life of me...truthfully, I don't remember anyone's name in this book, but as I said, when I was reading the book, I liked the characters well enough.I wanted to root for Willa, and I could feel for her being thrown into this new life. The romance was okay. You and I both know that a good mystery always has a surprising twist, and sadly, I figured out this one decently early on. I will say that Alender did manage to make me second guess myself a few times, but overall, I will admit that I did figure out the killer way before it was obvious. I will give credit for Alender to making me doubt the killer's identity a few times, but true mystery fans may be disappointed by the ability to figure it out. It didn't detract too much from the story since I was too busy trying to figure out the ghost element - which did have me guessing until the end. Overall, this was a pretty good read. It had likeable characters, a decent mystery, good writing style, and a pretty nice atmosphere. I loved the setting of the Old Hollywood mansion and the ghosties was a very nice addition. This book isn't that memorable, though, and there was a certain feeling missing it from it for me. It was still a good read and I would recommend. Check out more of my thoughts: https://bookprincessreviews.wordpress.com/
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Famous last words Is a superb novel not likely to be forgotten. Scary and amazingly written, Famous last words becomes a classic. Everything a book should be. Every word is brilliant and you can't stop reading. Perfectly paced with a epic twist. A modern horror and novel masterpiece. Watch out stephen king! Katie alender will likely steal your thunder. Three hundred pages of genius. Witty, terrifying, and stylish, famous last words is a succsess.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its the mix of your everyday romance and the ghost stories t the end
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its mysrerious cool i just lov it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have to say, although the book was a bit slow, it was totally worth it. It was amazing how Katie Alender went and threw a screw ball and made it seem like one person was the killer rather than the other. I still can't believe that the killer was actually the killer. It grabbed me from begining to end. This is now in my favorites. I honeslt was surprised how in one scene you could realize that what you thought was something really wasn't. Over-all, great work. Surprising, Holds Up, Unexpected, Amazing. &hearts &hearts &hearts &hearts &hearts
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think this book is very slow but other than that it is a great book. And i think ths book is very creepy,like for example when willa is swimming in the pool and she gets draged under the water but she's just imagining things and she does it her self and then she finds a dead body in the pool and then when her parents come out te body is gone. Very creepy and then now she is seeing things on the walls like"this is the kind of dream you dont wake up from henry and she is the only one to see it that is way creepy. But im making the conclusion that there is a ghost that is trying to tell her some thing but she is'nt getting the message and i think that when she does get the message then she will help it and try to see what it wants. So if you like mystery then this is the book for you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it. Spoiler Alert: Reed is the Serial Killer  of Hollywood. I was sooooo suprised. You will know what i mean when you read it. I SAY ALL TEENS SHOULD READ IT. But sometimes its just gets creepy 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have to say that thus boois not All tht interesting from what I've read.