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Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Faria Stolarz

November 4, 2010

Publisher: Hyperion Book CH

Publication Date: November 10, 2009

Format: Trade Paperback

Status: First in the Touch Series. There are two books in the series so far: Deadly Little Secrets and Deadly Little Lies. Book three will be out this December. It’s called Deadly Little Games. Book four, Deadly Little Voices, will be out November 2011. There is also a fifth book planned, though the author’s website states that it doesn’t yet have a title. It’s not certain if the fifth book will be the last.

Source: Purchased by self

Genre: Teen Paranormal

Other Info: Stolarz is also the author of Blue is for Nightmares and its sequels, White is for Magic, Silver is for Secrets and Red is for Remembrance. The fifth book in the series, Black is for Beginnings, is a graphic novel.

Description: (From Amazon):

Some secrets shouldn’t be kept…

Until three months ago, everything in sixteen-year-old Camelia’s life had been fairly ordinary: decent grades, an okay relationship with her parents, and a pretty cool part-time job at the art studio downtown.  But when a mysterious boy named Ben starts junior year at her high school, Camelia’s life becomes anything but ordinary.

Rumored to be somehow responsible for his ex-girlfriend’s accidental death, Ben is immediately ostracized by everyone on campus. Except for Camelia. She’s reluctant to believe he’s trouble, even when her friends try to convince her otherwise.  Instead, she’s inexplicably drawn to Ben…and to his touch.  But soon, Camelia is receiving eerie phone calls and strange packages with threatening notes. Ben insists she is in danger, and that he can help—but can he be trusted? She knows he’s hiding something… but he’s not the only one with a secret.

From the best-selling author of Blue is for Nightmares comes a new series that’s sure to be a thrilling and chilling teen favorite.

I really don’t know how to start this review. I’m not inspired, which in and of itself is telling. Deadly Little Secret was actually a pretty good novel. It has that first person p.o.v. I’ve been raving about. It has plenty of romantic tension. So, why aren’t my thoughts flowing like usual? Is it writer’s block? Usually I come off a book high with opinions, but I’m just blank.

Deadly Little Lies takes place…somewhere. There’s no specific location stated. It’s some small town near the ocean. Our narrator and heroine is Camelia, a sixteen-year-old girl who has a hippie mom, a regular dad, and a talent for pottery and sculpture. She also has two good friends: Kammie and Wes. At the beginning of the novel, Camelia is saved from being hit by a car by a mysterious boy. The boy shoves her out of the way, and during the rescue, touches her tummy. It’s an electric touch, of course, and even three months later, Camelia can’t forget about it. So when the boy shows up at her school suddenly, she is drawn to him. It’s just darn bad luck that Ben only transferred to her school because he was recently accused of killing his girlfriend. Hm. It sounds really silly when I type it up.

Anyway, at first Ben denies being the one who saved her the parking lot three months ago. Then he studiously ignores her. Then it’s his turn to have bad luck: they get assigned to be chemistry partners. Okay, I’ve thought of something: enough with using lab partners as a device for a guy and a girl to get some one-on-one time. Teenagers do interact in other settings. They could meet at the soup kitchen where they do their community service hours. Or in an SAT class. Yeesh.

Sorry, back to the story. Ben ignores Camelia. She is confused and hurt. Then, suddenly, Ben changes his attitude. And it all has to do with the fact that something happens every time they touch. Of course, the fact that Deadly Little Lies is A Touch Novel might also be a heavy hint. Then Ben reveals his secret, including the fact that Camelia is in danger.

Okay, I’ve thought of something else. It’s a negative point and something that bothered me throughout the novel. I actually liked Camelia as a narrator and since the story is told from her perspective, I feel the need to account for her (very) natural bias. As the novel progressed, I began to feel that Camelia was, well, the object of affection for every guy in the book. Except perhaps her friend Wes. There’s Matt, the ex who wants French tutoring, John Kenneally, the hot jock who asks for Camelia’s number, Spencer, her boss at the pottery shop, who is willing to lend an ear if she wants to “talk”, and of course, Ben, who atfirstavoidsherbutthencantleaveheralone. Really, I need to coin a term for this type of hero, he occurs so often in Teen Fiction. An acronym, maybe AFAHBTCLHA. Ooh, I know! Void: a boy, in a Teen novel, who at first avoids the heroine, then can’t leave her alone. Coined!

But back to my point. All that love for Camelia is too much. If you’ve read the novel or have at least gotten part of the way through it, you know that the Camelia-love is more red herring than anything else. The subplot of this novel (because the mystery of Ben is really the A plot) is, who is Camelia’s stalker? With so many guys jonesing after her, the reader’s suspicions are all over the place. I found the red herrings and all the “is it that guy? or that guy?” more distracting than deliciously suspenseful. They’re placed with a pretty heavy hand. And, also, am I seriously supposed to believe that Camelia is so hot that four different guys have a crush on her? I guess it’s possible. It’s just not very interesting.

Then there were other little things: with a best friend named Kimmie, am I really supposed to believe that no one‘s ever called Camelia “Cammie” before? It never even comes up. Then there’s Camelia’s conveniently distracted parents. It was supposed to be understandable that they failed to notice their daughter had a stalker or was spending time with a guy who possibly killed his last girlfriend. Also, Kimmie doesn’t allow the fact that her best friend is being stalked and, oh, yeah, her mom’s a nervous wreck because her sister just tried to commit suicide, from demanding how Camelia hasn’t offered to be Wes’ fake girlfriend in front of his dad. Since she’s so hot and all. Sometimes friendships are uneven. Sometimes one friend needs the other to just be there for her, even if she forgets to reciprocate for a little while. Not forever. But Kimmie could have been a little more understanding that, since a stalker broke into Camelia’s house, wrote “Bitch” on her mirror and sliced up the pink pjs he’d creepily left during his last visit, she might forget to ask her how her designing was going.

What did I like about this novel? Well, I liked that though there was a paranormal element to the story, the mystery was “normal.” Too often, once one paranormal element is introduced into a book, everything revolves around the paranormal. It was nice to see a story where all of a sudden, the world shifts entirely on its head. It makes the story a little more realistic. I mean, let’s say someone was really psychometric. It would be a well-kept secret. The paranormal is pretty universally thought to be bunk. Therefore, if you found out that it wasn’t bunk, it makes sense that the rest of the world was still relatively normal. It’s the only way that such a secret could be so well concealed.

I don’t think I’ll be reading the next novel in this series. I didn’t hate the book, but it didn’t please me overmuch, either. I prefer a meatier novel. I think Deadly Little Secret would work for those who really enjoyed Kristen Miller’s The Eternal Ones or even Ally Condie’s Matched.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. November 9, 2010 8:26 am

    Thanks for the thoughtful review. I’ve been meaning to read this, but I just haven’t been moved to pick it up yet. After reading this, I think I’ll save it for a while longer.

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