Poor Little Dead Girls by Lizzie Friend

Poor Little Dead GirlsHardcover, 288 pages
Published December 18th 2013

Sadie Marlowe never knew much about her mother. When she was young, her mother suffered from an illness and the only thing Sadie remembers is that her mother was really sad before she killed herself.

When she receives a letter of scholarship to Keating Hall, the school her mother use to go to, Sadie isn’t sure what to expect. She’s not rich like everyone, but this is the place to be if you want to succeed in life. The connections one can get from here are like no other and if she can get scouted for her lacrosse playing, then she’ll have a better chance at getting a full scholarship to play at a top tier university.

So Sadie leaves her home in Portland and heads to Keating. At first, she’s overwhelmed at everything and notices just how different she is compared to everyone else. She doesn’t wear the right kind of clothes, her tomboyish ways doesn’t really mesh with the parties the school throw, the team practice is a lot tougher than what she is use to, and wearing jean skirts to a dance doesn’t seem like it will work here.

Things all change when Sadie is introduced to the Sullas. A secret society, of sorts, that decides to bring Sadie into their little group. Normally, Sadie wouldn’t mesh well with this sort of group, but she since her mother use to be a Sulla, Sadie reluctantly joins them and hopes to find some sort of connection to her mom through them.

Through the Sullas, Sadie experiences what the 1% feel on a daily basis. The lavish parties, the way you can seem to get away with anything, and she even meets the president. Sadie knows that all of this is too good to be true and when she finds out what they are really doing behind the scenes, she starts to wonder if her mother’s suicide wasn’t really a suicide. Maybe, just maybe someone was trying to hurt her and the same people may be coming for Sadie next.

All this sounds great and it kind is, but at the same time I think the plot lost its focus and instead of being an intense thriller with a dash of conspiracy, it became mishmash of too many things and fell flat. I think there was a lot of potential for this to be great, but the execution wasn’t quite there. The mystery surrounding the secret circle and their motivations doesn’t really pick up any steam until you’re more than halfway done the book.

Well, no. That’s not quite true. I think a bit of the mystery started a little bit after the halfway mark in the book, but things didn’t start pick up steam until near the end. The secret society ended up being quite shady, but in a way that I liked. What I didn’t like was how the ending and the big reveal at who the antagonist was. To me, it felt a little anti-climatic and so I didn’t really feel anything when the big showdown happened.

Even though the plot fell flat, the characters were fully fleshed out. Sure they were annoying at times, especially Sadie, but Sadie and her friends felt like real people that you might see. I quite liked her rapport with her fellow teammates Jessica and Brett and felt like their friendships were genuine. Her roommates Trix and Gwen are cool as well. The two are twins from England who are royalty of some kind, except they are more famous for getting into scandalous shenanigans that put Prince’s Harry to shame.

There’s also a boy, this is YA so of course there is a boy, named Jeremy who is also new and into Sadie. The two hit it off and do seem cute, even if it’s a little predictable. The only complaint I have about the characters was that Jessica, Trix, and Gwen show up in the beginning and at the end. For the rest of the novel, Sadie ignores them, Jessica, not so much, but definitely with Gwen and Trix. With Brett, it’s an entirely different story. The moment Sadie joins the Sullas she finds out Brett is also with them and all of a sudden Brett has a personality change. This change, along with another incident that happens at a party, are what made me really start to question Sadie sense of friendship and loyalty, then again; I can’t really complain much, because it was in character. Still, that didn’t stop it from annoying me.

With regards to the mystery aspect of the novel, I can honestly say I’m surprised by how things turned out. I’m usually pretty good at guessing where these kinds of novels will go and I’m even better at guessing who the villain is, but that didn’t happen here. The villain seemed to have come out of left field and didn’t really make sense. I can’t go into this without spoiling the novel, but I didn’t really like how anti-climatic the whole thing was and how this sort of antagonist wouldn’t really end the book in a way that was satisfactory. Them doing what they did didn’t really move the plot forward or end it.

You know what, I think I found out the problem I had with this book. I’ve been thinking about it all day, but now I got it. This book is a standalone novel, but it never felt like there was any closure for anything. The secret circle. No real closure or consequences. The problem Brett seems to be having, no closure. The other incident that happened at the party, let’s just say it never happened.

I could go on, but then I’d start to venture into spoiler territory. I think you get the point though. Even the incident with her mother doesn’t really have any real closure despite it being somewhat resolved. Things happen, but then it stops due to Sadie not pursuing the matter or conveniently forgetting about it. She’s very blasé about everything that happens and seems to love moving on, when she really shouldn’t.

Overall: I think Poor Little Dead Girls had a lot of potential to be a great boarding school thriller. It has interesting characters, a cute guy, a shady secret circle, and a conspiracy, but despite all this the ending fell flat and sadly this was when it should have really shined. The real disappointment is that a lot of things happen, but are never really end in a satisfactory way. There was no closure to anything. If this was the first book in a series, then this sort of thing makes sense, but for a standalone novel? It really doesn’t have that excuse.

That being said, this was a quick read and I never felt the need to put this book down and step away from it. I think this is a sign of a good writer, so for a debut book I think Lizzie Friend did a good job, I just wanted something more from this.

Poor Little Dead Girls was provided by netgalley.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s