"LA Confidential for the YA audience. This alluring noir YA mystery with a Golden Age Hollywood backdrop will keep you guessing until the last page.
"Don't believe anything they say."
Those were the last words that Annie spoke to Alice before turning her back on their family and vanishing without a trace. Alice spent four years waiting and wondering when the impossibly glamorous sister she idolized would return to her--and what their Hollywood-insider parents had done to drive her away.
When Annie does turn up, the blond, broken stranger lying in a coma has no answers for her. But Alice isn't a kid anymore, and this time she won't let anything stand between her and the truth, no matter how ugly. The search for those who beat Annie and left her for dead leads Alice into a treacherous world of tough-talking private eyes, psychopathic movie stars, and troubled starlets--and onto the trail of a young runaway who is the sole witness to an unspeakable crime. What this girl knows could shut down a criminal syndicate and put Annie's attacker behind bars--if Alice can find her first. And she isn't the only one looking.
Evoking classic film noir, debut novelist Mary McCoy brings the dangerous glamour of Hollywood's Golden Age to life, where the most decadent parties can be the deadliest, and no drive into the sunset can erase the crimes of past."
Carolyn's thoughts on the book:
There are so many things that I love about this book (let me count the ways...). The writing is brilliant, the plot sharp, and setting perfect. Even in the first chapter the writing is superb; Alice's mentality towards Hollywood and California resonates with me so much (partially because I am a more-than-slightly cynical resident of Southern California myself and partially because this book is so perfect). Alice explains that
"I kind of lost my taste for movies about young love and horses and silly misunderstandings that ended with confetti and kisses. My favorite movies had titles like Notorious and Nightmare Alley, and I started reading detective novels by Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, too. I like them because they don't lose their heads over how great California is. They know it's not all sunshine and oranges and movie stars. In their books, the people who live in the nicest houses have the dirtiest secrets, and those laughing blond California girls get used up and crushed under someone's heel like cigarette butts. I know it's ugly, but at least it's not a lie."
Let me tell you, it only gets better from there.
In order to solve the mystery of the last four years of her sister's life, Alice dives headfirst into the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles, a hazy world filled with crime and corruption. There are no rose colored glasses; murder and secrecy abound in the lushly filthy city. A vast and complex cast of characters adds another level of intrigue to the story, between the sordid backstories and secret agendas and seemingly ever-shifting loyalties. The numerous thematic ideas serve to further deepen the story, with commentary on various different relationships and on the twisted culture that the story is set within standing out as the most remarkable messages.
DEAD TO ME is a superb read, perfect for fans of noir, mystery, and historical fiction alike. I can't wait to read Ms. McCoy's future works, and those of you who will be attending Pasadena Loves YA in a couple of weeks will have a chance to meet this fantastic author in person then.
Carolyn is a teen blogger who shares her favorite YA reads and favorite book related finds with readers on Fridays.