Kiss Me Kill Me (Kisses and Lies Series #1)

Kiss Me Kill Me (Kisses and Lies Series #1)

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by Lauren Henderson
     
 

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When 16-year-old Scarlett Wakefield transfers from St. Tabby’s to Wakefield Hall Collegiate, she is relieved that no one knows her dark, haunting secret. A few months ago, Scarlett was invited to an elite party with a guest list full of the hottest names in British society, including Dan McAndrew. Before the party, Scarlett had only imagined what it would be

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Overview

When 16-year-old Scarlett Wakefield transfers from St. Tabby’s to Wakefield Hall Collegiate, she is relieved that no one knows her dark, haunting secret. A few months ago, Scarlett was invited to an elite party with a guest list full of the hottest names in British society, including Dan McAndrew. Before the party, Scarlett had only imagined what it would be like to have her first kiss with Dan, but on the penthouse terrace, Dan leaned in close and she no longer had to wonder. Their kiss was beautiful and perfect and magical, and then . . . Dan McAndrew took his last breath as she held him in her arms. No one knows how or why Dan died, and everyone at St. Tabby’s believes Scarlett had something to do with it. But now that she’s safely hidden away at Wakefield Hall, Scarlett would rather forget that it ever happened. Only she can’t. Especially when she receives an anonymous note that will set her on the path to clearing her name and finding out what really happened to the first and last boy she kissed.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Fans of Libba Bray’s books will enjoy this contemporary British murder mystery.”—Booklist
Publishers Weekly

Turning for the first time to YA, Henderson (the Sam Jones mysteries; Jane Austen's Guide to Dating) kicks off her Scarlett Wakefield series with a mostly captivating mystery. Sixteen-year-old Scarlett is trapped in social obscurity at St. Tabitha's, an ultra-ritzy, all-girls' school in London. Used to spending her free time at gymnastics practice and watching movies with her only two friends, Scarlett is stunned when the school's poshest set invites her to one of their parties. She eagerly accepts, hoping to see her longtime crush, Dan McAndrew, the most golden of the boys from the neighboring school. But when she and Dan actually kiss, he drops dead at her feet-and her classmates brand Scarlett a murderer. Forced to flee to Wakefield Hall Collegiate, a private school in the English countryside where her aristocratic grandmother reigns as headmistress, Scarlett launches her own investigation to discover the cause of death and clear her name. The marriage of chick lit and murder can be awkward: Scarlett can barely breathe in Dan's presence, but Henderson can't let readers get invested in him lest the treatment of his death seem casual. However, this author knows just how to time even the smallest revelations for maximum drama, and her mini-sleuth has a natural glamour and intelligence that Nancy Drew can only dream of. The audience will be rivited. Ages 14-up. (Jan.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up- Seconds into her first kiss, Scarlett watches her dream guy, Dan, fall to the floor dead. Traumatized, she switches from one posh English girls' school to another, where a mysterious note forces her to question whether he died naturally or was murdered. Sharp, witty narration makes Scarlett's simple sleuthing a lark. Teens will find themselves enamored with Henderson's sassy British colloquialisms and the protagonist's pluck. Her gymnastics skills, which surface at key moments throughout the story, will inspire oohs and aahs as well. A cliff-hanger ending might frustrate readers looking for resolution, but like a complicated tumbling sequence, this lithe mystery has great momentum.-Shelley Huntington, New York Public Library

Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385734882
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
01/13/2009
Series:
Kisses and Lies Series, #1
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
535,607
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
14 Years

Read an Excerpt

On January 1, I made two wishes. I know it's supposed to be resolutions, but the two things I really wanted you can't exactly make happen, like you can with resolutions.
I wished to kiss Dan McAndrew. And I wished to have breasts, instead of two flat pancakes on my chest. God, how I hated it when girls would come by and flick their fingers on my back between my shoulder blades and laugh mockingly because there wasn't a bra fastening there, because I didn't need to wear one.

(Actually, that's three wishes, isn't it? One kiss plus two breasts equals three, the magic number.)

Cut to June, nearly six months later, when I'd pretty much given up hope that I would get either of those things, ever. I had resigned myself to being flat-chested and unkissed for the rest of my life.

And then everything happened at once, and my life was changed. Though not, I might add, for the better.

Be careful what you wish for.

***

"Scarlett! Round-off, two back handsprings, back tuck! And keep it tight this time!"
I stand at the edge of the floor, bracing myself. I can do this. Ricky's halfway down, at just the right place to give me a spot on the second back handspring if I need it. But if I need it, he'll shout at me afterward.

Long and strong, Scarlett, I say to myself. Long and strong.

I'm running. Three steps to the round-off. Land and flip, jump up, jump back . . . my hands push the spring-loaded floor and bounce me up, feet land and I'm already jumping off my toes to the second back handspring, reaching away, reaching long . . . yes! No touch in the small of my back, which would be Ricky thinking I needed that tiny bit of help to arch on the second one . . . land on my feet again and use the momentum to rebound up, high in the air. Spot the high bar across the room, which gives me that fixed point I need to focus on for the split second before I tuck and flip myself backward like a ball through the air, thrown by an invisible hand. Land straight, knees not too bent, slightly dizzy, but knowing I made it.

"Yeah!"

Across the room, Alison and Luce, my two best friends, are clapping and whooping. I beam with happiness and look at Ricky for approval.

"Better. But go a lot longer on the second back handspring" is all he says.

That is approval, believe it or not. You don't expect bouquets of flowers from Ricky, no matter how good you are.

And then he looks at my chest.

"Strap those things down, Scarlett, can't you?" he adds. "They're bouncing everywhere—they're getting in your way when you tuck up! Jesus, where did they even come from?"
This is embarrassing. It's embarrassing to have Ricky talking about my boobs in front of everyone.

"Get a sports bra, for God's sake!" Ricky says, waving me away.

Like every single other girl here, I used to have a massive crush on Ricky, who's built like a rugby player—wide shoulders, muscles bulging through his tracksuit—with thick blond hair, bright blue eyes, and a really nice smile, which you get to see, on average, once a year. Ricky's incredible grumpiness is the reason my crush faded. And the insults he throws at you. And the fact that he's gay. (No reason you can't have a crush on a gay guy, of course—it just feels increasingly pointless as time goes on.)

I move to the side, giving Alison a clear run across the floor. As she starts, I walk around the edge of the gymnasium, back to where Luce is standing.

"I'm wearing a sports bra already," I say. "I don't know what to do."

"Get one of those tops with a built-in thingy," Luce suggests. "You know, the shelf support."

I pull my top a little away from my body so she can see.

"I am," I say hopelessly.

"Oh."

Luce has the ideal build for gymnastics—like a wire. She's small (you shouldn't be over five feet, five inches, that would be too much of you to send spinning through the air) and has no excess fat on her entire frame. Her breasts are pretty little points under her pale blue leotard: Luce can still wear a leotard over footless tights because she's so lean. Most of us gave that up years ago for something a bit less cruel to our curves. She wears her hair in two twisted bunches on either side of her head—a style that's easier for gymnastics, because it keeps her hair out of her way, but it makes her look even more like a little girl. Creepy old men are always giving her weird stares. But Luce is the most stubborn person I've ever met; if I suggested she change her hairstyle, she'd put plastic bobbles on her bunches and walk down the street sucking on a lollipop, just to show me.

"Maybe you should go to a sports shop and ask," she suggests.

I grimace. "They weren't much help when I went to buy the bra," I say.

Luce looks helpless. "I'd love to have ones like you," she says. "But I know I never will. My mum's flat as a board. The only time she had any was when she was pregnant with me, and she said she cried for weeks when they went down again."

"Better for gymnastics," I say.

"I s'pose."

"Lucy! Scarlett! Stop gossiping! Lucy, you're up!" Ricky yells.

I watch Luce precipitate herself into a blur of motion. She flies through the air, her twisted bunches spinning as she goes; in her front handsprings, she's almost perpendicular to the floor for a brief, breathtaking moment. Arms by her ears, legs almost straight out behind her. That's why we call that moment "Supergirl."
I think about what Luce said about her mum. If I had a mum, I could ask her about the sports bra thing. Maybe she would take me to the shop and talk to the snotty assistants.

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Meet the Author

Lauren Henderson is the author of several acclaimed “tart noir” mystery novels for adults, as well as the witty romance handbook Jane Austen’s Guide to Dating. She was born and raised in London, England, where she lives with her husband.

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