Review: Death and the Girl Next Door by Darynda Jones

Title: Death and the Girl Next Door
Series: Darklight, #1
Author: Darynda Jones
Pages: 278
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Rating: 5/5 Owls

Goodreads Summary

Darynda Jones, author of The New York Times bestselling series that began with First Grave on the Right, brings us Death and the Girl Next Door, a thrilling Young Adult novel garnering high praise and early buzz from major authors

Ten years ago, Lorelei's parents disappeared without a trace.  Raised by her grandparents and leaning on the support of her best friends, Lorelei is finally beginning to accept the fact that her parents are never coming home.  For Lorelei, life goes on.

High school is not quite as painful as she thinks it will be, and things are as normal as they can be.  Until the day the school's designated loner, Cameron Lusk, begins to stalk her, turning up where she least expects it,  standing outside her house in the dark, night after night.  Things get even more complicated when a new guy—terrifying, tough, sexy Jared Kovach—comes to school.  Cameron and Jared instantly despise each other and Lorelei seems to be the reason for their animosity.  What does Jared know about her parents?  Why does Cameron tell Jared he can't have Lorelei?  And what will any of them do when Death comes knocking for real?  Thrilling, sassy, sexy, and inventive, Darynda Jones's first foray into the world of teens will leave readers eager for the next installment.

"Unique, witty, and touching—I LOVED THIS BOOK!" —P.C. Cast, New York Times bestselling author of The House of Night Series


Darynda Jones, you rock my world.

At the beginning of her writing career, she brought us the stunning First Grave on the Right, which was filled to the brim with laughs and clever wit. After that were the next two books in the Charley Davidson series, which were filled with the laughter and wit, but in even greater amounts. Those books made my spleen hurt from laughter.
Then, on October 2, 2012, Jones did something extraordinary.
She ventured into YA.

The YA genre as a whole has grown a lot over the last few years, yet Jones still manages to bring something fresh, unique and downright hilarious to the table.

Death and the Girl Next Door is, at least in my opinion, Darynda's best book yet.

From the get go, I loved Lorelei. She was funny, bright, and serious when needed, especially during the upheaval of every aspect of her life when the new kid, Jared, starts going totally creeper-status on her. Not to mention the defensive and secret-hiding Cameron, who warns Lorelei of Jared's evil side...

Jones's characterization is amazing. She has a unique way of making every character awesome. Even Tabitha, the evil queen-bee of Lorelei's school, I was able to sympathize with, which is a cool thing to be able to say.

Jones's writing is also quite pleasant in places. Throughout, it's quite good, certainly not lacking, but she has a few gems dispersed in Death, particularly during the Lorelei-Jared lovey scenes. And a certain phrase that is repeated throughout the novel that cracks me up.

The beginning of Death was a bit plotless but still entertaining. The plotlessness wasn't noticeable for me after a while, because I became thoroughly invested in the characters and the situations they were in and totally forgot about the beginning. Death left me with simultaneous feelings of anxiety and satisfaction when I closed it. The ending was practically perfect: there were certain things left unsaid that were to be answered in the next two installments of the series, but also a couple of things that were resolved and left you in a happy-sigh kind of mood.

(Also, Darynda, you get a bonus star for leaving out the shoddily-constructed love triangle of doom that pops up in so many YA books du jour.)

Five Owls


Already read Death and the Girl Next Door? The next book in the series, Death, Doom and Detention, is coming out in March 2013!

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