Killing Britney

Killing Britney

4.3 93
by Sean Olin

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Britney is the girl everyone loves to hate.

Ever since Britney transformed herself from freak-and-geek to the most popular girl at school, her life has been touched by tragedy. First it was her mom, who drowned on a family rafting trip. Then her hockey-star boyfriend, Ricky, was killed in a hit-and-run.

When the deaths continue to pile up, everyone fears for


Britney is the girl everyone loves to hate.

Ever since Britney transformed herself from freak-and-geek to the most popular girl at school, her life has been touched by tragedy. First it was her mom, who drowned on a family rafting trip. Then her hockey-star boyfriend, Ricky, was killed in a hit-and-run.

When the deaths continue to pile up, everyone fears for Britney. Sure she's popular, blond, and fabulous.

But is that enough reason for someone to want to...kill her?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Olin's novel is structured like a typical horror movie, and readers will likely be sucked into the mystery. After her mother's death, Britney Johnson transformed into a blonder, skinnier self, got a hockey jock boyfriend and became popular. But during this snowy Wisconsin winter, her new life spins out of control: her boyfriend is killed in a horrific hit-and-run that may not have been an accident, the brother of her best friend, Melissa, is killed, then Melissa herself-each in terrible, gory ways (Melissa is run over by a Zamboni machine, her body "caught like chicken bones in the corkscrew blade"). Along the way, Britney receives a CD, a threatening voice telling her what will happen "when I come for you," and Melissa finds an unsettling picture in her brother's possessions after his death. Pretty soon everyone looks like a suspect: Is it the old friend whose heart she broke? Her father's friend's troubled son who is staying with them? Are the crimes connected to her mother's death, and was the killer actually after Britney? Readers will puzzle along with the detective trying to solve the crime before Britney is killed or finally goes insane. The writing may be mediocre, and readers will be left with questions, but they will likely have enough fun figuring out who done it-and why-to stick with this pageturner. Ages 14-up. (July) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
After years as a geek, Britney Johnson has remade herself and achieved prestige as the high school "hockey wife" of Ricky Piekowski, a star defenseman on the La Follette Rabid Raccoons varsity team. Unfortunately, Ricky dies in a horrible accident, mangled by a red pickup truck on his way home from their latest date. In La Follette, there has been a strange accumulation of deaths in the recent past. Other high school students have died, and Britney's mom disappeared during the family's whitewater rafting trip after warning people that she feared she wouldn't come back from the adventure. Britney's young life has been surrounded by tragedy, but will she be able to escape being the victim herself this time? As the body count mounts, a sense of foreboding builds to what seems like a surprisingly unsatisfying ending. Fasten your seatbelts, though. The real ending is still to come. After the final page is turned, readers may be tempted to start over again at the beginning to find the clues that were missed the first time around. If so, it's well worth a second trip through to see how skillfully all the clues are hidden in plain sight. Dramatic cover art showing spatters of blood at the base of a picture of a lovely blonde girl provides ample warning of the violent content the reader will encounter. KLIATT Codes: S—Recommended for senior high school students. 2005, Simon & Schuster, 234p., Ages 15 to 18.
—Mary Melaugh
After her mother dies mysteriously on a rafting trip, geeky brown-haired Britney goes on the Atkins diet, hits the gym, and transforms herself into a blonde beauty with a hockey-star boyfriend. Yet all is not well in this Wisconsin winter wonderland. Someone is killing those close to Britney. She thinks that the murderer is after her but seems strangely unwilling to work with local detective Tara Russell to help solve the murder. Suspects are plentiful, including a paroled felon, a houseguest with a shady past, and a creepy computer nerd. The jacket blurb advertises this novel as "a fresh and entirely different voice for teen horror." The plot itself will be familiar to any fan of R. L. Stine or Christopher Pike, although those authors could tell the story better. Pop culture references abound and surely will date the novel quickly. Characters say and do inexplicable things, but by this novel's clunky finale, readers will cease to care. Disjointed chapter transitions create some confusion, making this reviewer think that she had skipped entire portions of the book or that there were missing pages. Any element of mystery quickly disintegrates as the possible suspects are killed off in grisly technicolor ways-a Zamboni shreds one luckless victim. On the positive side, short chapters with frequent cliffhanger endings, wide margins, and copious amounts of blood and sinew will make this book a popular choice with horror fans and reluctant readers. VOYA CODES: 2Q 4P J S (Better editing or work by the author might have warranted a 3Q; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2005, Simon Pulse/S & S, 240p., Trade pb. Ages 12 to18.
—Angelica Delgado
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up-Winter in Madison, WI, can be chilling enough without a serial killer on the loose. Now the La Follette Rabid Raccoons have one more thing to turn their blood cold. Britney Johnson is the ugly duckling turned swan who has reinvented herself with dramatic results. She's slim, blonde, and beautiful and begins dating the captain of the school's ice hockey team. What's not to envy? But it looks like someone is taking envy to another level by killing off her friends and family. Olin has created an atmospheric, moody horror novel filled with vivid depictions of evisceration and gunshot wounds to the head. Readers are guided from scene to scene as though the events were unfolding across the movie screen. Gritty language and even grittier situations conjure up powerful images of death and sex. Teens will be left guessing until the very end as to who is behind the mayhem. This noirish tale is darker and starker in detail than many titles in the genre. Readers with a macabre sensibility will enjoy the ghastly descriptions and brooding atmosphere that the author sustains throughout.-Elaine Baran Black, Gwinnett County Public Library, Lawrenceville, GA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Simon Pulse
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Age Range:
14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter Two

Britney and Ricky had begun fighting at Troy's party after he'd found her alone in the basement. Even though she was the only one down there, he'd accused her of flirting with other guys.

Now, nearly an hour later, idling the car in front of her father's big house in the Green Pastures housing development, Ricky still wouldn't let it go. His anger seemed to have more to do with the teasing he'd had to put up with from Jeremy and Digger than with anything that Britney herself had done. They'd used her absence as an excuse to pummel his shoulder and say things like, "You better watch out for her, man. You should have seen the way she was looking at Lawson," and, "I bet she's run off for some nasty with him," and -- poking two fingers under his ribs -- "Ricky P. can't even keep track of his own girlfriend."

She listened silently and hoped he'd talk himself out, but this tactic didn't seem to be working well. The longer she was quiet, the more paranoid Ricky became.

"Don't you understand, Britney?" he said, his green eyes wide and pleading. "I love you."

She liked that he loved her, she loved that he loved her, but she didn't like hearing it in this horrible begging way.

"You're drunk," she said.

"That doesn't mean I don't love you."

She tried to tune him out. They'd been sitting in front of her father's house for half an hour, and she was starting to become afraid that they'd never stop fighting. She gazed at the street. The city had re-paved it last summer, and it was such a glimmering shade of black that it looked slick even when it was dry.

Despite the fact that the heat was running full blast, Ricky's car was icy cold. It was an old green Honda with over a hundred thousand miles on it. In warm weather, it smelled like mildew, but now it just smelled like cold. The cracks in the plastic on the dashboard seemed to grow in this weather. She didn't understand why he couldn't get a new one. Anything would be better than this junker.

She shivered and tugged Ricky's giant letter jacket, its sleeves hanging down past her fingertips, tighter around her, afraid that she might have to give it back soon. Nuzzling her nose in the collar, she picked up faint whiffs of Obsession for Men and hair gel. Quintessential Ricky smells.

She stared out the window of the old car and thought about how nice it would be to finally be allowed to get out of the car and go inside the house, where it was warm.

"I love you too," she whispered, her mouth tight, her lips thin, the skin of her cheeks taut and tense.

The house, with its white shutters and the pale gray stonework around the doorway, reminded her, as always, of a great old cottage plopped down in the middle of a wide empty plain. Green Pastures was a newish development on the west side of town, and though there were trees, they were all still so small that they had to be supported by stakes. In the winter, the snowdrifts nearly covered them over. The spindly tips of the trees' trunks poked out of the center of weird moonscape craters.

" why can't we..."

And now he sounded like he was going to cry. Hockey players aren't supposed to cry, she thought. He hadn't cried when his pit bull, Spur, died. He hadn't cried when he'd almost failed trigonometry and been put on academic probation -- and he'd had to miss most of last year's season for that. Why was he crying now? Did getting her answer immediately really matter that much to him?

"Just...w-w-w-why can't...I mean, just seems like..."

He was blubbering. His face, usually so chiseled, was puffy. His lips curled like those of a fish gasping for air.

"Listen, Ricky, I'll have to think about it. But I'm not mad at you, 'kay? And you, don't be mad at me either. Please?" she asked. She was mad at him, but if she could just get out of the car, she'd get over it.

She liked being his girlfriend. She'd dreamed about it for years, ever since the two of them were in eighth grade and she was a full foot taller than him. He'd looked so cute playing for the JV team. She'd been such a nerd then. She'd played French horn in the band and said things like "gosh darn it" and "fudge" when she thought she was going to curse.

Smoothing his hand between her two palms, she said, "Let's talk about it tomorrow."

The look he gave her -- she couldn't tell if he was going to scream at her or try to kiss her. He did neither, just stared at her forlornly, and she slowly pulled her hands back to her lap.

"Okay?" she said. "Just...don't be mad?"

He laughed bitterly.

"No, I mean it, okay?" she said, trying to look deep into his eyes. But as soon as her eyes caught his, he turned away to stare at his own reflection in the windshield.

"So, good night," she said, opening the door.

His tousled hair, frosted blond with brown roots, sparkled in the strong moonlight. Shadows accentuated his cheekbone, which pulsed as he clenched and unclenched his teeth. She wanted to reach across and touch his face one more time, but she didn't.

Instead, she stepped out onto the curb and slammed the door -- maybe a little too hard. The sound rattled like a gunshot across the empty street.

Ricky didn't seem to notice. He kept staring at the windshield, his cheek pulsing like it did when he was trying to keep his emotions from bursting out.

Just as she was about to turn to go, he rolled down the window, reached across, and grabbed her wrist. "Wait...Britney, I -- "

"Tomorrow, okay?" she said, pulling her arm away. "Bye." She crouched down and waved at him. But he didn't move.

"Goodbye," she said again.

He nodded stiffly, and that was enough for her. She turned, her blond hair flying behind her, and marched toward the front door. She heard him turn the ignition over.

"Oh, hold on," she said. She turned and ran toward the car. "I need my CD."

He pressed the eject button and handed it to her -- the rock classic Led Zeppelin IV, the one with "Stairway to Heaven" on it. They'd listened to the song about two hundred times that first night in her bedroom when her father had been away meeting with a client in Milwaukee.

"Thank you!" she said, surprising herself with the sickly sweet voice she usually reserved for Mr. Massey when she wanted him to give her an extension on her English paper.

Resisting the urge to turn around, she walked slowly away, lingering until she heard him pump the gas. His tires buzzed like chain saws as they spun on the ice, and then he caught traction on a dry spot and the car jerked forward, squealing. He fishtailed for a moment and then he was off down the street.

With Ricky gone, Britney's emotions came flooding to the surface. She was more upset than she'd realized. Enraged, really. And sad.

Even though she was cold, she didn't want to go inside. The chilly air made her more alert, cleared her mind. She'd lived with cold weather her entire life and she didn't mind it. Instead, she stood on the front stoop and stared out at the snowdrifts. She needed to talk to someone who might understand. Shivering, Britney pulled out her cell phone and scanned through the names in her address book.

Her heart was racing. After two twirls through the list, she found the name she could trust. She hit send and waited for the voice that would come to her rescue.

"Hi," she whispered. "It's me."

Copyright © 2005 by Alloy Entertainment and Sean Olin

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Killing Britney 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 93 reviews.
Swimmer11 More than 1 year ago
I was always enjoyed horror books. Up until now, R.L. Stine has been my favorite horror author. Now that I have completed Killing Britney, I am searching for more Sean Olin books at the library! Killing Britney is by far the best book I've read in a very long time. This book is about a girl whose life has been turned upside down by someone who is trying to destroy her life. First, her mother dies, and, tragically, her body was never found. Then, a few years later, her boyfriend dies caused by a hit-and-run. Things get much worse as the brutal murders continue. I can't tell you any more, or I might have to kill you. The ending is the best part in the whole book! It will shock you! Right when you think you know who it is, the book takes a shocking turn. All of a sudden, your afraid of evryone, even yourself. I would recommend this book to readers if they are ready to be blown away! Also, if they don't mind the author explaining how these not-so-innocent victims die. Be ready to read Killing Britney, one of the best books of its time.
Madi More than 1 year ago
Twisted, gory, and unpredictable, this book will keep you on the edge of your seat and guessing. After finishing this book, I threw it across the room and then later went to retrieve it. This book is so amazingly intense and twisted that you will never forget Britney or her story.
TaylerAlexandra More than 1 year ago
This book was suggested to me by a friend, I'm glad I read it. I couldn't put the book down! Something was always twisting the story, and the ending COMPLETELY left me shocked!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was great, i had only read one horror book in my life and when i started to read this book i couldnt put it down, i love the way that sean olin writes and i hope to see another book like this come out, it was amazin, intense, and there should be more books like this!
AshleyLovesRob More than 1 year ago
This book was so amazing! I was totally not expecting what happened in the ending! I could not put this book down AT ALL! I got in so much trouble cause I wasn't paying attention in class while I read this, so you've been warned ha ha
Marisky130 More than 1 year ago
I read this, then forced my sister and my mom and about everyone I know to read it. I was so shocked to find out who the killer actually was. While reading I had a post it note and was writing my suspects and the killer was never on the list. I've read this book so many times! It's my favorite book. It's so easy to read yet so graphic in violence. I an see this book as a movie and I want to do that, turn it word for word. I hope Sean Olin continues writing. I read all the time and there are only 2 (technically 4 because the second is a series)books that kept me guessing. This and the Party Room. I cried, I screamed, I could feel myself blushing at some scenes. It brought so many emotions out in me. (My sister just walked in and said 'Best Book Ever'!)
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book kept me at the edge of my seat. i read it within 3 hourse. to find out the killer in the end was shocking. i highly recommened this book (:
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is awesome the best book ever you should read it the killer in the end is unpredictable and i just cant believe brittany had to go through all of that so any way you should read it and then tell other people to read it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm a freshmen. And I just started reading this. So far I believe rhis is a reallt good book! I just got to the part where after Ricky dies everyone's at the dinner thing, and the cop is talking to Britney. I haven't read since Friday, but still.......ITS A REALLY GOOD BOOK SOO FARR!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book will not disapoint you. I am such a book nerd and i hardly let anyone pick a book out for me to read. My dad actually picked this book out. I went out on a limb and tried it out. Keep in mind my dad is not a reader at all. I fell in love with this book. It can be such a quick read. You wont find a dul moment in this book! Just when you think you figured it out, boom! You get snothet curve. I have re-read this many many times and it still isn't old to me in any way at all. I highly recomend this to anyone and everyone, even if you hate reading or dont like mystery. You honestly wont find this as a waste of me. I have never wrote a book review trying to get people to give a book a chance!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I completly loved this book and all the suspense it contained. Also the crazy twist at the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Need 2 Read
DanceBree17 More than 1 year ago
This book will keep you guessing every step of the way!!! The detail gets to be a little gruesome, but does not take away too much from the suspense. If you want a quick but scary read, this is the one for you.
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jenesmith1106 More than 1 year ago
Great book good for all teens that like suspenseful books with drama.
Jeannie2010 More than 1 year ago
When i finished reading this book i was surprised. I highly recommmend to those who of you who love suspense. This book will keep you wanting more and will leave you in shock.
Puplove126 More than 1 year ago
My sister read the book and said it was amazing, so I read it and I'm really glad I did. The book keeps you wanting more and there is a different surprise around every corner. It's such a page turner. If you ever need something to read, Killing Britany is a perfect book. It was so good, it became my new favorite book! Killing Britany kept me interested and wanting more. I highly suggest it!!!
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