“A suspenseful, thrilling read that will keep you on pins and needles until the last page.” Liezel and Angie's Book Blog
Beautiful. Perfect. Dead.
In the peaceful seaside town of Cape Bonita, wicked secrets and lies are hidden just beneath the surface. But all it takes is one tragedy for them to be exposed.
The most popular girls in school are turning up dead, and Penelope Malone is terrified she's next. All the victims so far have been linked to Penelopeand to a boy from her physics class. The one she's never really noticed before, with the rumored dark past and a brooding stare that cuts right through her.
There's something he isn't telling her. But there's something she's not telling him, either.
Everyone has secrets, and theirs might get them killed.
|Publisher:||Entangled Publishing, LLC|
|Product dimensions:||5.60(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.30(d)|
|Age Range:||14 Years|
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I finally get her where I want her, folks, and wouldn't you know, she starts giving me attitude within seconds.
"And why am I here again?" Gretchen snags the lit joint from my fingers and brings it to her mouth, taking a long drag. She holds the smoke in, her bright green eyes narrowed, her expression almost pained, before she blows it all out.
Straight into my face.
God, she's such a bitch sometimes. Though I envy her fearlessness. She's rude and mean and she just doesn't give a damn.
I realize she's waiting for me to speak and I clear my throat.
"Look, I know you're never going to believe me, since we haven't talked much in the past. But we've gone to school together for a long time and I just wanted us to ... g-get to know each other better." I stumble over the words, and I am thoroughly pissed at myself.
I practiced this little speech over and over again the last few days, preparing for this moment. In the mirror, reciting the words back to my reflection. Late at night, while I lay in bed and stared up at the ceiling, mesmerized by the slow spinning ceiling fan above my head.
Yet I mess it up, falter because I'm actually in front of her, just the two of us. Gretchen Nelson, one of the most beautiful, most popular girls in school. She has everything.
I have nothing.
All I want is a little taste. Just a tiny sample of what she is. What she has. What I could possibly be.
"So what? You tricked me to go out with you?"
"It's nothing like that," I reassure her.
"What do you mean by getting to know me better, then? What exactly are you talking about?" She takes another drag off the joint, this one short and fast, and she coughs out the smoke, hacking a little. The glamorous, perfect Gretchen Nelson mask falls for the briefest moment, and it's like I've just been treated to a sneak peek of the real Gretchen. She's just a girl who likes to get high, who's aggressive, and who treats other people like shit. I mean, I already knew she was like this, but ... "Please don't tell me this is your idea of a date."
The contempt in her voice is obvious.
"No, not at all!" I sound too defensive and I clamp my lips shut. "That wasn't my intention. Can't we just be ... friends?"
She shoots me a sardonic look, her lips curled, her delicate eyebrows raised. She's still wearing her shorts and T-shirt from volleyball practice and she has to be cold, since both car windows are rolled down, and once the sun disappears, the temperature around here drops rapidly.
My gaze falls to her legs. They're sturdy, her thighs are thick, and I can't help but stare at them. They're thicker than the other cheerleaders', which made her a great base. Gretchen was known for tossing the flyers into the air higher than anyone else. I remember watching her. Watching all of them ...
Not that Gretchen's a cheerleader any longer. She quit at the end of her sophomore year, wanting to focus on volleyball instead. She's a strong player. Fearless. Downright mean on the court. Yet she's also beautiful and poised and smart.
"You really want to be friends with me?" She makes it sound like an impossible feat.
"We have nothing in common."
"We have a lot of things in common."
I frown. "You really want me to name ten?"
She nods slowly, places the joint between her lips. It dangles from her mouth, giving her this tough, rebellious air, and I can't help but admire her all over again. At school, she's absolute perfection. Right now, in the passenger seat of my car with a joint hanging from her lips, her dark-red hair a wild tangle about her head, eyeliner smudged, and her cheeks still ruddy from the chilly nighttime air, she's not quite as perfect.
But she's a lot more real.
"That's stupid," I tell her, and she sits up straight, yanking the joint out of her mouth so she can gape at me.
"Did you just call me stupid?"
The venom in her voice makes me recoil away from her. "N-no. I mean, I just took a hit off that joint. My head is spinning. How do you expect me to come up with ten things we have in common, just like that?" I snap my fingers for emphasis.
"God. You're just like everyone else. Always thinking you can buy me off with sex or booze or weed." She tosses the joint at my head and I dodge left, so it sails out the driver's side window and lands on the ground outside. "Bringing me to a church parking lot, too. Real classy."
With those last words, Gretchen climbs out of my car and slams the door behind her, so hard she makes the vehicle rock.
Panicked, I bolt out and follow after her. Her long legs take her far across the parking lot as she heads straight toward Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church. But I can run fast when I need to, and I catch up to her quickly. I grab hold of her arm and she snags it out of my grip, whirling on me with wild eyes.
"Get away from me!" I grab her again and she shakes me off, her expression full of disgust. "God, you're so freaking weird! Just leave me alone!"
It's the weird comment that gets me. It always gets me. They all single me out. They all point their fingers and laugh. With every step forward I make, something like this happens, and I'm pushed four steps back.
She turns away, breathing heavily, but she's not going anywhere. Odd. She's usually dying to get away from me.
That's when I realize she has her phone in her hand. And she's tapping away on the screen, like maybe she's texting someone.
"Gretchen, come on." I keep my voice even, like this is no big deal. Like I'm not hunting her down in the church parking lot on a Tuesday night. The wind whips through the giant pine trees that surround the lot, I can hear the branches swing and sway, the hoot of a lonely owl in the near distance. It's dark up here. Quiet. No one drives by. The street is abandoned and the nearest house is a quarter mile away.
Feels like it's just the two of us out here.
"Fuck you, you fucking weirdo!" She turns to face me and starts to laugh. No doubt when she catches sight of the stricken look on my face. "I can't wait to tell everyone about this. Wait until I spread this story around — I will ruin you."
A roar leaves me, unlike any sound I've ever made before in my life, and it makes my lungs ache. I run up on her and shove her hard, so she tumbles to the ground. She's distracted, in shock that I shoved her, and I take my chance and sock her in the face. I meant to hit her mouth, but my knuckles only glance off her jaw and my entire hand throbs from the impact.
I can't believe I hit her.
"What the hell?" She touches her face gingerly, working her jaw to the side, and she winces. "You punched me!"
"You deserved it." My voice is eerily calm as I stand over her, both of my hands clutched into fists.
She tilts her head back, all that glorious red hair spilling past her shoulders. Even after I hit her, she still challenges me. I don't know whether she's brave or just stupid. "What are you going to do to me now? Beat me up?"
I say nothing.
I don't need to.
Instead, I smile. Laugh.
Actions speak louder than words, after all.
"So yeah. They found a ... body this morning. Rumors are flying it was a teenage girl."
"Are you serious? How do you know?" Wednesday morning before third period and the halls are packed, everyone trying to get to class. I'm desperate to dump a few books off in my locker so I don't have to carry them around. Bad enough I have to wear the school uniform what feels like every day of my life. Don't need my backpack to stretch out my navy blue cardigan sweater and make it look even worse.
"I just ... know. I have sources." My best friend, Danielle Sanchez, is practically whispering as she stands by my side; I can hardly hear her. Not that it really matters, considering whatever she's telling me is most likely pure rumor and speculation. Maybe she's hallucinating. I mean really — a dead body found before eight in the morning in our privileged little community?
No freaking way.
"Who are your sources? And please, speak up. I can't hear you. No one's listening to us anyway." My voice drips with skepticism and I resist the urge to roll my eyes. I'm the realistic one while Dani's the idealist. She's all in, all the time, believing every little thing she hears, from the stupid lies some jock tells her in Spanish class to the rumors buzzing around the quad at lunch.
Me? I trust no one. I've been burned far too many times.
"Cops were on campus first thing this morning. Didn't you see their cars in the parking lot?" Dani frowns when I shake my head. "They showed up at the main office just before first period. A whole bunch of them, too, with serious expressions and looking badass in their uniforms." Only Dani thinks cops are hot. She loves a guy in uniform. "They looked like they were going to a funeral or whatever." Her eyes go wide the moment the words leave her lips. I can read her mind. She's thinking of funerals and murder and dead teenage girls.
"I was at the Larks meeting before first period." And what a worthless meeting that had been, not that I'm telling Dani. Half the girls in our community-service group weren't even there — every one of them seniors. The juniors all show up because they're trying to secure their Larks spot for next year, but they're clueless most of the time.
This is why meetings before school are pointless. No one wants to get out of bed a minute earlier than they have to, not even for their fellow Larks or for the good of the community. "You didn't show up," I remind her.
Dani shrugs. "I figured you'd fill me in, considering you're President Penelope." Ugh, I so hate it when she calls me that, but I say nothing. Just give her a little grin.
She smiles serenely in return. "But back to the cops. Supposedly they wanted to see recent attendance records for all seniors."
"Please. They might've been looking for a truant senior, and I can think of two right off the top of my head. I seriously can't remember the last time I saw James Fuller or Craig Howe in class." Grabbing my physics book, I slam the metal locker door so hard it rattles before I take off down the crowded hall toward my third period class.
Dani falls into step beside me, the heels of our loafers clicking in time on the concrete floor. "Valid point." She's always saying valid point. Usually because I'm explaining that whatever lies someone fed her were just that — total lies. "But I think you're way off. I heard they only wanted to look at the girls' attendance records. No guys."
"So?" I can't even focus on what she's saying right now. I have that test in physics to study for — Mrs. Emmert said we could use both sides of an index card to write notes to help us, and I want to get a head start. I do well in school. Okay, fine, I do great in school, but this year, physics is tripping me up, and I don't like it. I can't put my future at risk, which means I need to do everything I can to ace this test. My college applications must look impressive. I've got everything mostly covered.
Advanced classes, check.
Volunteers within the community, check.
Social and athletically involved, check and check.
Problem? I'm going to look less impressive because I suck so badly in that stupid freaking class. I'm barely keeping my head above water with a C that could slip into D territory if I don't watch it.
And I can't have that. Within my group of friends, we're all a bunch of overachievers. And the Larks isn't just about community service — it's the ultimate overachievers group. The outgoing seniors nominate the best of the best before the end of their sophomore year. The Larks is a small group of ten girls who are the smartest, the most respected, the most athletic, the most popular in our school. We all try to make the top grades so we can get into the best colleges and make our school and our families proud.
Sometimes, it feels like we don't really have a choice, either.
"So put two and two together. It was a girl's body that was found this morning? And they're checking out seniors' attendance records?" Danielle's the one who rolls her eyes when I say nothing. "Duh, Penelope! The dead body is someone from school! Someone from our class." The last two words are said in a ragged whisper.
"No way," I tell her, but she's nodding frantically, her enthusiasm level shooting up about fifty notches. "You always think the worst when something happens."
"That's because bad stuff happens to good people!"
"I'm afraid you're watching too much Discovery ID channel again." It's true. My best friend loves to jump to conclusions. There was the time during sophomore year Danielle thought Melissa Hankins got caught up in a sex-slave ring but it turned out Missy had mono. Or when she thought Brent Villanueva was a drug dealer who got tossed into prison when really Brent spent the night in juvie because he was caught with a little baggie of weed in the front pocket of his jeans.
The cops didn't even want to take him to juvenile hall. They were ready to cite and release, but his parents wanted to prove a point. They wanted him to suffer the consequences. He stayed the night, picked up some excellent leads on who to score even better weed from, and was released the next morning. He proceeded to go to his best friend's house, where they smoked a bowl together before they came to school.
"Maybe I am, but come on. It's just too weird of a coincidence." A little shiver moves through her and she frowns. "I just hope it's not someone we know."
"Ah, Dani." I wrap my arm around her shoulders and give her a side hug. We've been friends for so long, and I love her dearly, even though she's a little nutty sometimes. "I think you're getting ahead of yourself."
"Something is definitely up." Dani smirks, looking rather pleased with herself. "Courtney answers phones during second period in the main office. She said the cops called in twice. Twice."
"It's probably nothing." Maybe. Maybe not. How often do the police call the high school? I know we have rent-a-cops who put on a big show when they strut around campus, supposedly scaring us straight or whatever.
"Or it could mean everything." Danielle glances over her shoulder, her eyes narrowing. "Touch me and die, Pearson!"
I blow out an exasperated breath when I hear Brogan Pearson and all his football buddies laugh at Danielle's useless threat. She's the one dying for Brogan to touch her. She's just playing hard to get.
"I'm sure we'll find out what's going on eventually," I tell her once we reach the wing where my class is. "See you at lunch?"
Dani nods and waves before we go our separate ways, Brogan chasing after her with his friends. He's a goofball, always playing pranks on people, and for some reason everyone loves him, especially Dani. I tolerate him because she's had a crush on him for so long, but I don't get the appeal.
Pushing thoughts of Brogan Pearson out of my head, I hurry to class, slipping into my seat and pulling a few index cards and my pen out of the front pocket of my backpack before I scan the room.
Everyone's talking in low whispers, their wide-eyed gazes lingering on empty desks. Unease trickles down my spine and I jump a little when the guy who sits next to me brushes past and settles into his seat, sending me a curious glance when he catches me gawking.
I look down, not wanting to engage. Weird boys who keep to themselves and rarely talk really aren't my thing. Plus, his background story is weird and sort of sad and warped. Something about a dead father and a mom in prison for murdering him? I don't know if it's true — the information did come from Dani, after all.
But I do know he lives with his grandma up on Hot Springs Road, which is like, the most elite neighborhood in town. We're talking multimillion-dollar estates with views of the Pacific that stretch as far as the eye can see. He's also really smart and prefers to keep to himself, which ups his weird factor around here. No one wants to keep to himself on purpose.
Meaning no one can figure him out.
Within minutes, Mrs. Emmert strides into the classroom and dumps a stack of books and a can of Dr Pepper on top of her desk before she surveys everyone sitting at their desks, her hands resting on her hips. "Ready to get this review started?" she asks, her overly cheery voice making everyone groan in agony. Including me.
Excerpted from "Pretty Dead Girls"
Copyright © 2018 Monica Murphy.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I'm so glad this book lived up to my expectations! It was a YA murder mystery and it was a good murder mystery at that. I didn't know who I could trust and it made for a really suspenseful book.. This book followed The Larks, a group of girls at an upper crust school. They were pretty much the most popular girls at the school and treated other students as lower class. They were at times snotty and not very good friends to even each other and because of this, there were a lot of suspects to pick from. Was it the main character, Penelope? The mysterious boy with a past, Cass? Snotty Courtney? This book kept me guessing until the very end!
The novel starts with a bloody bang as it opens in the killer's perspective and we see the killer take their first victim. Then, it switches to our main character, Penelope Malone: rich, popular and, most importantly, the president of the Larks, a very exclusive service club at school that was made up of five of the most popular senior girls and five junior girls. The senior members of Lark rule the school, and one of their tasks was to groom the junior Lark girls to take over when they're seniors. The killer's first victim was one of the senior Larks. Reeling from the violent tragedy that changed their once peaceful and quiet town forever, Penelope pulls her fellow Larks together to plan events to honor the girl's memory. But, when the killer strikes again and again, seemingly to specifically target Penelope's friends and frenemies, Penelope starts if the killer is closer to her than she thinks. The only person who might have some answers, as well as a connection with the victims, was a boy from one of her classes. But he's keeping secrets too, and Penelope starts to wonder if she's next. I breezed through Pretty Dead Girls in a couple of days, which was faster than my usual reading speed, because I was riveted. I wanted to know what's going to happen next, when the killer is going to strike, and who their next victim is. The fact that we see the murders through the killer's point of view kept the tension high and it's also when we're in the killer's perspective that we get most of the clues of who this person might be. I have to admit that although I enjoyed Pretty Dead Girls and it's a good YA thriller, it wasn't great. By this I mean, nothing about it really surprised me and there wasn't truly anything unique about it. I've seen the elements used in previous books before. Like, when the killer's motivation was finally revealed, it was more like a fizzling oh, okay not an Oh. My. God. I didn't not see that coming! gasp. I did like that the killer's identity wasn't obvious until the last possible minute because there were many possibilities and that kept the tension up all the way until the end. As for the characters, some of the secondary ones felt all over the place in the beginning and I couldn't quite connect with our main girl Penelope. Then, there's our mysterious boy Cass who, unsurprisingly, was Penelope's love interest. He was okay, but I was indifferent about him. And since I had no connection with Penelope and Cass, I was meh over their romance and their overall relationship. I enjoyed the author's writing style. There were some parts that dragged just a little bit, but I thought Pretty Dead Girls was paced pretty well. The author writes in a way where you can consume the words on the page quickly and I liked that, especially since I wanted a fast read. Overall, Pretty Dead Girls was a fun, thrilling read. Like I said, I picked it up at the right time when I wanted a fast read that can keep my attention and Pretty Dead Girls was successful in doing that. If you're in a reading slump, this would be a good book to pick up to get you out of your funk.
Another terrific book from Entangled Teen! With great writing and a fascinating storyline, Pretty Dead Girls by Monica Murphy had me hooked from the very first page. It’s entertaining, addictive, and just so much fun. This book completely intrigued me the entire time. The plot was fast-paced, suspenseful, and utterly thrilling that I actually finished reading in less than 12 hours. With catty popular girls, gruesome deaths, and a budding romance between two unlikely characters, there was definitely enough drama that had me turning the pages. I LOVED the mystery aspect and while Murphy certainly kept me guessing until the end, I did have my theories and 2 suspects in mind. There was a part that made me think it was a certain character. Just something about the scene gave me the feeling and I’ll have you know… I was correct! I loved playing detective and had such a blast solving the mystery. Although if I’m going to be honest, I never could do this in real life. I’d be too anxious, scared, nervous, and just a total mess.I do have to mention that the ending felt just a tad bit rushed. Don’t get me wrong, it was still awesome, but I felt like there could have been more. The characters, while infuriating and not very likable, were developed and written very well. They were fantastic in their own ways and acted their part quite convincingly. However, I have to admit that I had a difficult time relating with any of them – even Penelope. Their personalities were just strong and so intimidating that I could not see myself being friends with them. (I’m an introvert and very shy so I would not do well in their group). Nevertheless, that didn’t stop me from rooting for Penelope and the rest of her friends to have some kind happy ending. Oh and can I just say that Cass’s grandmother was just precious!!! She’s super adorable, genuine, and so sweet. Yup she’s definitely my favorite character! The romance, while interesting, was kind of weird and I still don’t really know how I feel about it. I’m a romance junkie so to feel this way about a love story — specially one of my favorite tropes — is really throwing me off. I just felt that the relationship between Cass and Penelope was a bit forced at times and just so awkward. I think the story would have been just as good without their romance. BUT… there were a few moments between Cass and Penelope that made me swoon. My favorite scene involved a closet, some music, and one steamy spine-tingling kiss that I wished would have happened to me when I was a teen (minus the uncomfortable situation which you’ll find out once you read this book). Maybe if some of their interactions played out differently, their pairing would have been more believable. Pretty Dead Girls by Monica Murphy is a fun thriller that’s perfect for anyone looking for a quick and exciting read. There’s plenty of drama and action, suspense to keep you on edge, and murder mysteries to solve. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story and appreciated that Murphy addressed and showed the scary and devastating effects of bullying. I received an advanced reader copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Penelope is president of the Larks, a group of elite female students at a private school. When one of the Larks shows up dead, rumours fly and suspects abound, as she was a typical mean girl. When another member of the Larks is found murdered, Penelope thinks it might be more than just a coincidence. What is the murderer’s motivation and who will be next? The story is a mix of "Pretty Little Liars", "Beverly Hills 90210", and "Scream Queens". It’s told in two first-person accounts, one by the murderer and one by Penelope. Unfortunately, it's sometimes difficult to tell who's narrating. The writing is good, the tone is conversational, and the speech and teenage behaviors are realistic. The beginning is a bit slow and repetitive, but the author maintains the tension and manages to build the suspense. Even though I guessed who the killer was, I was still interested to see how it played out. Warnings: coarse language, sexual references, violence. I received this book in return for an honest review. Full blog post (19 January): https://booksdirectonline.blogspot.com/2018/01/pretty-dead-girls-by-monica-murphy.html
A heart-pounding thrill ride from start to finish! I just loved this murder mystery! Penelope is a senior in high school and a member of The Larks, an elite group of popular overachievers who rule the school. A tragedy occurs when one of Penelope’s frenemies, Gretchen, also a Lark, is found murdered in cold blood. Penelope wonders who could commit such a horrific act, while also feeling guilty for not being more saddened by her death. Before long, other Larks are being knocked off one by one in brutal ways, and Penelope has no choice but to try to find some answers and sniff out a possible serial killer in their midst before she winds up dead herself. She teams up with Cass Vincenti, an outcast and a mysterious boy in her physics class, who has some theories about the identity of the killer and seems to know more than he’s saying. Penelope finds herself falling for the guy she never expected to trust or come into close contact with, while she questions his motives and the obvious secrets he’s hiding. Could Cass be capable of murder? Or is the killer someone closer to home? Read this superb whodunnit to find out for yourself, and trust me when I say you’ll be glad you did! I highly recommend this book to older teens and adults for its graphic and explicit content, and if you have watched and enjoyed the TV show, Scream Queens, on Fox, you will not be disappointed by this highly satisfying read! Undoubtedly one of the best YA thrillers of the year!
Pretty Dead Girls is a riveting thriller! Like a cross between Scream and Pretty Little Liars, this one is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. Be prepared for a fast paced ride back to high school where homework isn't the only thing that will kill you. What can I say about Pretty Dead Girls? I was entertained. I read it in one sitting. It was intriguing and gripping. I had Scream playing in my head the whole time I read this one. It had suspense, betrayal, and murder. Where it lacked in character development, it made up for in humor and thrills. It was certainly worth a read. When I say it lacked in character development, that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. I wanted to be pulled in to a creepy murder mystery without getting attached to the characters. These were shallow, annoying, high school girls. It was like watching a bad horror movie. It was more humorous than chilling, but too entertaining to quit. The story was pretty well written. I could not figure out who the killer was until they were revealed. The points of view were well developed with differing writing styles too. The killer's point of view was angry and intense in comparison to Penelope's softer voice. The characters felt like a mix between Scream Queens, Before I Fall and Cheryl from Riverdale. They were mean, superficial high school drama queens. They were the "over achievers" of the school, but were also the party girls. Though they were not my favorite ya girls, they were certainly too amusing to stop reading about. I was looking for a good murder mystery, and despite the rushed ending, I definitely found it. It had a nice mix of humor, intrigue, romance, and killing. It was wickedly alluring. 3.5 stars. Thank you to Chapter by Chapter for providing me with this free e-copy in exchange for my honest review, and as part of the blog tour.
I think Ms. Murphy did a great job getting me hooked on this YA mystery/thriller. I can’t speak too much about the story line because I don’t want to give anything away. Penelope and her friends seem to have it all- money, good looks and popularity. That is until they start showing up dead. Penelope’s click are the typical “mean girls”. Penelope has tried to distance herself from them so while I really don’t feel anything for the girls who died, I do feel for Pen. I like Pen and Cass together. I found myself wishing we got to see more of their relationship develop. I liked how the author threw in some chapters from the killers POV. PDGs was fast paced and kept me guessing right up to the very end.
This story was a perfect way to start my new year and get out of a book slump! It was captivating and it draws you in because of so many factors. There's drama, death, trying to guess the killer, relationships, etc. The story felt like a cross between Mean Girls, Veronica Mars, and Gossip Girl, with a Monica Twist! PDG literally had me guessing for a majority of the book. I LOVED how when the killer's thoughts were written that you don't know their gender. Just when you think you have it all figured out, there is something that happens to key you in that you are very wrong and to keep guessing. Penelope is a well developed character in this story. She is a Queen Bee in the school but her inner dialogue reveals that she is much more than just the mean girl everyone thinks she is. Case is a very well developed character and I LOVED that there were multiple aspects to his history to help develop that character. I can't say more without spoiling parts of the story but he's definitely not what you expect. I can't recommend this book enough. It was a new genre/style (YA suspense) for me to read but I would like to read more of the same, especially by Monica!
Pretty Dead Girls was very different from anything I’d read in a long time. When I was a little younger (ok, a lot younger) I read murder mysteries with young people (teenagers) in them. This was a little like that and I liked it! Pretty Dead Girls is about a group of popular upper class men. There’s a special group of girls called the Larks. Penelope is their current president and the book is told mainly from her POV (we get a few chapters told from the murderers POV). The Lark girls start getting murdered one right after another. Penelope developes a friendship with an outsider named Cass. All she knows about Cass is that his mom murdered his dad and she’s in prison. So, she’s skeptical of him initially, but he eventually gets her to trust him. Together they decide to try to find out who is killing the Lark seniors. I really enjoyed this book from the beginning. I honestly was surprised at who the murderer was. I usually have a good guess on who done it’s, but not this time! I enjoyed the relationship that formed between Penelope and Cass. It was probably the only ‘real’ relationship/friendship she had outside of her family. I definitely will recommend this book to everyone who enjoys a good suspense book.
“She was also a friend – and sometimes an enemy, if I’m being completely honest. And now… she’s dead.” Pretty Dead Girls by Monica Murphy was an outstanding emotionally charged read fueled by the need to discover who is killing all of these girls, the girls that run this school. It was agonizing to try to discover who the killer was, especially because we did read some of the killers point of view. Honestly the killers point of view was the most intriguing for me to read. “It’s much easier to put this on a complete stranger who wandered into town and killed without thought. Cape Bonita is a small wealthy town along the northern coast of California coast. We don’t do murder.” Pretty Dead Girls follows along with Penelope, the President of the Larks an elite group of juniors and seniors who volunteer and are mostly cheerleaders, and the outcast, Cass as they try to track down who the true murder is before it’s too late for them. They each have a connection to all of the girls who have been killed. “I’m practically a dead girl walking.” Pretty Dead Girls is like a more intense version of Mean Girls, where the mean girls are end up dead and no one knows why. These girls are held to a higher standard than the others in the school and I had so much fun traveling along with Pen and Cass as we try to track down the killer. Pretty Dead Girls is also high on the drama and you won’t know who you can trust and who you can’t and you will be screaming ‘don’t go upstairs alone!’ or any where by yourself. Monica Murphy’s writing was exceptional and I devoured this story at a fervent intensity and I couldn’t put it down!
In reviews, I read Pretty Dead Girls was described as being like the TV shows Pretty Little Liars and Scream Queens. It’s labeled as a Young Adult thriller. Personally I feel it should’ve been labeled a little differently. It is a Young Adult Thriller, NOT to be confused with Horror, but just as much suspenseful, mystery and romantic, in fact the romance plays a big part. Reminding me much of some of those Slasher movies like I Know What You Did Last Summer or Scream. In fact, I would say more like those movies than Pretty Little Liars. But, I would agree that it is comparable to Scream Queens. It definitely has that group of mean girls. It definitely was the kind of book I had trouble putting down. Many of my horror friends will likely find it a joke, as they do many books that I find to be adequately scary, a thrill or suspenseful. Lol...yep, make fun of me now. Lol Anyway, I loved this book, I found myself glued to the pages trying to figure out the mystery of who it is (I love mysteries) and of course I love romance, and I really enjoyed that part of it. The characters were very well written. I hated the mean girls. Loved Penelope, the main protagonist. I suspected so many people. I was on and off about certain characters, one minute I trusted them, the next minute I didn’t. (Trying not to give away too much) But it was just fun! I love books that make me think, reason, analyze and try to guess before the book ends. I haven’t been reading that many mysteries this year, and this book made me remember how much I love a good Suspense/Mystery/Romance....I’m not asking for too much, am I? Lol I recommend this highly for someone who likes Young Adult, Thrillers, Suspense, Mystery and Romance. Oh and may like the show Scream Queens or thie slasher movies, Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer. If that’s your thing, you will probably really enjoy this book!! I know I did!! ~Thanks to the author for providing a copy of this book via Social Butterfly PR & NetGalley. The opinions expressed are my own.
Penelope Malone and her friends are among the most beautiful and popular girls at Cape Bonita high school. Penelope is also the president of the Larks, a student-led charity organization. When someone starts killing the most popular girls in school, all members of the Larks, Penelope can't help but think the killer might be someone close to her. Cass Vincenti is a strange, quiet boy from Penelope's physics class with a dark history. When he approaches her about the murders she agrees to discuss what she knows. Penelope quickly finds herself drawn to this mysterious boy she barely knows. As they search for clues his past begins to link him with the dead girls, Penelope thinks he might just be the killer... I really enjoyed this novel with all of the high school drama and Mean Girls/Jawbreaker vibes. It was an easy fun read with a murderer who seeks out the bitchiest meanest girls and teaches them a lesson. This novel does have some violence and some sexual situations so it may not be suitable for the younger end of the YA spectrum but I didn't feel that it was overly graphic in nature. This was a very entertaining mystery/thriller that I think is going to be a top read for 2018.
4.5 Stars! Get lost is this amazing, YA suspense from Monica Murphy! In the vein of Pretty Little Liars and Scream Queens, Murphy weaves a twisted tale of murder among the pretty, popular girls of Cape Bonita Prep. This book will have you guessing right to the very end. Everyone is a suspect at one point, which only served to add suspense and tension. There's even a sweet romance that will make you swoon! You will love this great new, YA read!
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. OH. MY. GEE. This book has it all. The twists and turns don't stop and right when you think you figured it out, bam-you're wrong! I love a good mystery and this just does not disappoint. It's right up there with Pretty Little Liars and We Were Liars (just in the twist & turns department!) I may have read this in 2017, but trust me, this book will be on a bunch of 2018 best books/best seller lists. I love Monica's writing style and she was made for the YA mystery genre. I recommend this 5 star book to anyone who needs to get lost down a rabbit hole to figure out just what is going on in Cape Bonita!
Love this book, it was fast paced and kept me on the edge of my seat. This book is a mix between Clueless, Mean Girls, and Scream Queens, with a dash of Pretty Little Liars. These characters are everyday types of teens, and that is what makes it do great. There is always a queen been, there is always the outcast, the jocks, the geeks, so this was an amazing mix with suspense and romance thrown in. Told in Penelope's POV.
~~Thanks so much to Entangled Teen for sending me over an early copy!!~~ This wasn’t my cup of mystery tea despite my shared love of Scream Queens and thinking the name is super intriguing. I went into this desperate for a good mystery read, and this one just fell so flat. It had a lot of things that just really irked me, and truth be told, I skimmed a good part of this, skipped around, and when I did come to another part, I felt like I literally missed nothing because I had called everything and knew what was coming. It wasn't all terrible, though, and it a quick and easy book to read. One of the biggest issues I had was with the main character and her priorities. The girl had some issues. When she finds out one of her old best friends and fellow club members has died, she's super focused on the new shady guy, who really isn't all that new but somehow she has just realized now is entirely attractive and ~mysterious~ So, of course, MANDY IS SO DOWN FOR THIS BECAUSE SHADY MYSTERIOUS MEN IN MYSTERY NOVELS ARE HER FAVORITE. But this one just let me down so much and the main character did, too. Shall we count the ways? 1) So, here we are, in the assembly room for when they announce the person that has died. And everyone is in shock and awe and the main character is sad for literally like a second and having approriate thoughts about it AND MANDY WAS SO EXCITED BECAUSE ACTUAL GRIEF AND CONFLICTING FEELINGS ARE SHOWN and then it all goes out the window. ~Mysterious man~ is off to the side and our MC connects eyes across the room and they stare and stare and then the best friend of our MC is like, omg, girl do you think he likes you?? How epic!! He ~~totalllly~~ likes you. BUT DOES NO ONE FOCUS ON HOW THE PRINCIPAL IS DRONING ON ABOUT GRIEF COUNSELORS IN THE BACKGROUND BECAUSE A GIRL IS DEAD AND IT WAS SUPPOSEDLY A FRENEMY OF THE MC AND GOOD FRIEND OF THE FRIEND TALKING ABOUT MYSTERIOUS MAN? 2) I kind of picked out a better killer? Literally, the main character focuses on the most completely obvious choice and then a predictable person comes out to be the real killer and I was like eh, I liked this other person as the real killer and thought it quite clever. But alas, no, and then the ending was just so easily fixed up nicely. Wayyyyy too nicely. 3) Okay, later on, there is a makeout session that had me concerned and also mystified BECAUSE PRIORITIES, PRIORITIES, PRIORITIES. No spoilers, but I was concerned. I will say that it really is a super easy read and Murphy does have a nice writing style. It is quite a bit of telling instead of showing which did irk me a bit, but if you're looking for a mystery that is easy to read, this is it. And I did like some of the turns it took. I really don't have too much more to say about it sadly. Two crowns and a Cinderella rating!
I haven’t read a YA thriller in so long and Pretty Dead Girls was so great. I do have to say that the beginning seemed a little slow-paced, but once the action started, it was a crazy wild ride. So if this happens with you, just keep pushing. You won’t be disappointed. This book read like an addictive tv series and that is exactly how I pictured it all going on in my head. From the girls being frenemies, competing for dominance in the high school, and fighting over boys, there was so much drama happening without all the killings going on. Add the serial killer aspect and holy crap - so good. Cass and Penelope’s chemistry throughout the book was intriguing. Two unlikely characters that came together and worked really well - gasoline-on-a-fire hot. The back and forth between them, the uncertainty in Penelope whether she could trust Cass was palatable. With a target in her back, figuring out who she could trust, that added another element to the thrill. Loved it all. I received an advanced copy of this book and VOLUNTARILY decided to review it
I was really excited to get my hands on this book. I am not a big fan of YA books, but this one really caught my eye. That said, it was a bit slow to start off for me. However, with how good the blurb was for this book I was determined to stick it out, and I am glad that I did! This book was about a popular crowd of girls called the "Larks". Someone is killing the girls off, one by one. This book was thrilling, and once I got past the beginning it really sucked me in. The writing was excellent and I loved that I didn't figure out who it was. The fact that she threw in the killer's POV was brilliant for me. I Highly recommend this book. This was a fast read once I got past the first couple of chapters. Well Written, Characters were well developed and the dialogue flowed very well. I haven't read a book by Monica Murphy, but I am sure that I will check her out again.
Monica Murphy's Pretty Dead Girls reads just like a popular TV show you might see while flipping through channels on a night in. It features a set of girls, ones who are the most popular in the school, and someone who is killing them one by one. These are the girls who rule the school with their good deeds for the community, secrets about their fellow students, and high brow "queen bee" mentality. Yet when one of them dies, things start to break apart at the seams. This book started off slow for me. It took me a bit to connect with Penelope and get into the grove of the book's setting and storyline. Perhaps I have been reading too many adult fiction books and needed to adjust my mind frame for YA. Once I did that, I was hooked. One thing is for certain in this book, high school is brutal and you see so much of the back stabbing and ugliness behind the perfect smile and well coiffed hair. Who do you trust and who is a true friend? The lines are constantly blurred by bullies and rumors that float within the covers of this book. The natural thing about stories such as these are that you start to guess right off the bat as to who is the murderer. So many red herrings lead you one way only to shock you with where they lead next. I enjoyed the constant guessing! I did appreciate that the violence was not too brutally in your face. It is horrible how the girls die but never too gory in the details while you read. The random chapters throughout the book in the murderer's POV makes it more creepy. I can tell you that books like this make me glad I went to high school in a more simple time. Murphy does a good job of weaving all the chaos together and presenting a mystery that makes you wonder who the murderer is. Murder, high school drama, and a little bit of budding romance gives Pretty Dead Girls a well rounded and suspense filled story you will not want to miss.
I think we all have met these girls: pretty, mean and condescending. And often they can't remember doing something wrong, they feel entitled and think rules don't apply to them. Being a Lark means being one of ten people considered special in school. Being a senior and a Lark means being queen of the school, ruling and spreading fear. This has been Penelope's life for the past year. But when the senior Larks getting murdered, he not only has to fear for her life, but the killer might be closer then she thinks. I literally flew through the book and it was an amazing read. I highly recommend everyone to give it a try. I chose to read this book and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled: Teen!
My first finished book of 2018 & I FLOVED it!!! I’m a sucker for a good horror movie or murder mystery and it also goes for books. I was SUPER excited for this one and sooo glad that I got an ARC. I would have probably finished this book sooner if I hadn’t of started it right at my birthday weekend & New Year’s, but it all worked out because I had something to talk about during dinner lol. I loved how it all started right off the bat in first person from the killers POV & than the next chapter continues in first person but from Penelope’s POV. We get the majority of the story from Penelope but here and there we suddenly get the killers POV. I loved that! It kept you guessing. I was probably about 70% into the book when I became 100% positive of who the killer was. I just loved the story line, the characters, & even the killers motive. This was a well written book & I definitely recommend it. Blogging for Restless Book Obsession
A Thrilling Read! An amazing storyline, with twists and turns as well as a roller coaster of intrigue and high school drama, that sucks you into the secretive, spiteful and dangerous world of Cape Bonita Prep School. Penelope Malone has been looking forward to her senior year, and finally being president of The Larks, her schools, small, prestigious group, of the smartest, most athletic and most respected girls. But, when her fellow Senior Larks, start getting murdered one by one, is Penelope next? Or is she the killer? Or is it the quiet, yet handsome Cass Vincenti who has suddenly become interested in her? Does he really like her? Or is it a rouse to get close enough to kill his next victim? Monica Murphy brings it all! High school drama filled with romance, first love and spiteful mean girls that don’t care about anyone else but themselves! As well as danger and intrigue as the police and students try to catch a serial killer. I couldn’t put this down! It had my heart pounding with fear as well as swooning from young love. Loved it! I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I love all of Monica’s books so I couldn’t pass up reading an early copy!! This isn’t her typical book that she normally writes but it was just as good! It’s basically Mean Girls with a murder mystery twist. I couldn’t put it down! I could wait to finally find out who the killer was and what their motives were behind the killings! I changed my mind several times but in the end I was right on who I thought the killer was even though I had no idea what their motive was other than jealousy. I ended up liking the main character, Penelope, more and more as the story went on. After going through such an ordeal I felt it changed her for the good. She became less shallow and realized there was so much more than being the queen of high school. Now Courtney on the other hand is very easy to hate!! She’s totally crazy!! I liked Cass too even though I had reservations about him at first. I also like getting a glimpse every few chapters into the mind of the killer. And Monica doesn’t leave out the romance! There’s a little touch of that too!! So I definitely recommend checking this one out!! I wasn’t disappointed! Great job Monica!! I received an early copy via NetGalley and voluntarily left my honest review.
I thoroughly enjoyed Pretty Dead Girls by Monica Murphy! The dedication builds suspenseful excitement and I love the quote that opens the story: “Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream?”-Edgar Allan Poe. I fell into the story immediately because the intensity begins in the first chapter with an angry attack, which leads to murder. I thought I may have figured out who the murderer is but as the story progresses, things change and so does my perspective. The points of view are interesting because it’s mostly Penelope with others' randomly thrown in. This makes the action and anxiety more erratic showing us how the community must feel knowing there’s a murderer in their midst. Also, through the killer’s point of view, we get a glimpse of incentive and motive. I read this book straight through with fervor and the story doesn’t disappoint! 5 stars for this young adult murder mystery! *I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary consideration.
Pretty Dead Girls is a YA murder mystery with a twist. I don’t read many YA’s but I do love a good mystery and teen angst so I just had to get my hands on it. It felt that it was a cross between Mean Girls and Pretty Little Liars. And as a fan of both...I was hooked!! Why don’t I read more YA!? I really need to since I enjoy the shows. Ok back to these pretty dead girls... Larks. The most popular Juniors and Seniors in the classes. They have the beauty. The grades. The popularity. The connections. There are only 10 of them in all. They help the community along with adding to their resumes. And their president is Penelope Malone. She is the center of it. That is what the detectives suspect when not only one but two Lark member turn up dead. Her friends. Her nemesis. That is how high school works. It’s all about appearances. Penelope doesn’t know what is happening in her small exclusive community. She suddenly couldn’t trust anyone not even her best friend. She knew her peers were rumor obsessed but now it’s a whole new level. She starts watching her friends closely. Especially after someone tells her to not trust anyone. That they are all suspects. I can’t get into the rest of the plot much after that. I will say that I enjoyed the mystery of it all. The connections that develop. The darkness within the community. It makes it more real. The people more real. I liked watching Penelope come into her own. Stronger. Braver. Warmer. Overall...I was addicted from beginning to end. I didn’t think it was predictable. The writing is magnificent. The story is both gruesome and beautiful in its own way. Quotes: “You’re right. Murder has a way of making people behave strangely.” I send her a look. “You watch too many episodes of CSI.” Courtney offers up Brogan like he’s a rich, decadent dessert and Dani’s on a strict no-sugar diet. “Sometimes I wonder if that guy had a lobotomy.”