Title: Pretty Dead Queens
Author: Alexa Donne
Publication: October 4, 2022
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)
After the death of her mom (screw cancer), seventeen-year-old Cecelia Ellis goes to live with her estranged grandmother, a celebrated author whose Victorian mansion is as creepy as the murder mysteries she writes. On the surface, life is utterly ordinary in the California coastal town . . . until the homecoming queen is murdered. And she’s not Seaview’s first pretty dead queen.
With a copycat killer on the loose, Cecelia throws herself into the investigation, determined to crack the case like the heroines in her grandmother’s books. But the more Cecelia digs into the town’s secrets, the more she worries that her own mystery might not have a storybook ending.
**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.**
There’s just something about a teenager in a small town stepping in to solve a crime. I have found I’m very attracted to books like that after others like A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, so Pretty Dead Queens by Alexa Donne was right up my alley and I was excited.
Cecelia was a very interesting lead character with a backstory that made her emotionally intriguing and to kind of spawn her story on. I loved the introduction to this brand new group of friends, including many townspeople. It built a suspense that comes with a lot of suspects all at once and being unable to decipher who is guilty. Each time I thought I had an idea, something little happened or a clue came to light and I would second guess myself. I am happy that I was correct in my guess, but Donne definitely kept me guessing.
I really enjoyed the relationships that developed between Maura and Cecelia and Suzanna and Cecelia. They were the parental figures in her life and the dynamics were interesting compared to a regular parent/child relationship. Donne definitely made characters that were deep, but also a few that really left a lot of questions, like the friend group. I feel like so many dirty secrets were partially revealed and never really explored or seemed like a bit of a distraction instead. I wish those things had been explored more.
Otherwise this book was fantastic. It’s a great book for anyone who loves mystery/thrillers and should be added to your To Reads list before end of 2022. You won’t be disappointed.