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Estelle: Truly, Madly, Deadly by Hannah Jayne

Truly Madly Deadly by Hannah JayneTruly, Madly, Deadly by Hannah Jayne ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: July 2, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 262
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: Death, stalking, secrets
Format read: eBook from Publisher via NetGalley (Thanks!)

Summary: When Sawyer’s popular jock boyfriend dies in a car accident because of his drunk driving, she thinks the secrets of their relationship will be buried with him. But a mysterious note in her locker (“You’re welcome” attached to a newspaper clipping of her boyfriend’s accident) has her wondering what really happened that night… especially when other horrible things start happening right before her eyes.

When I picked up Truly, Madly, Deadly, I expected something along the lines of Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf — a book about a girl who survives a car accident that kills her boyfriend (who wasn’t really the nicest guy). I was completely glued to that book until the very end.

But Truly, Madly, Deadly only grazes what Shaw managed to do in Breaking Beautiful and I really missed that happening here. While main character Sawyer does wrestle with the truths of her relationship with Kevin, the novel focuses on the domino effect of bad events that occur after his car accident. All of these terrible things are somehow connected to Sawyer, are supplemented with a note or flowers, and are downright scary. Instead of going to the authorities, she fears all of these occurrences might be her fault and keeps it to herself.

I really felt for Sawyer throughout the book. Her boyfriend suddenly dies, she feels like she can’t trust anyone, her dad is preoccupied with work and his new baby with his new wife, and her mom lives on the opposite side of the country. The only two people who seem at all on her side are Chloe, her best friend from forever, and Cooper, the new guy in her life who is super sweet. But even so, she doesn’t divulge what is happening to anyone until everything spirals out of control and too many lives are at stake.

Personally, I felt very suspicious of every character I met in this book. (This is probably in direct relation to my reading of the amazingly horrifying Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas.) And while the ending semi-took me by surprise, I would have loved to have the book go on a tad longer instead of just dropping off and ending on a semi-joke. There was too much blood shed for a tone change like that. Plus, I’m not sure if Sawyer’s character made the kind of growth that I needed her to make.

A little bit more character development and plot tweaking could have really strengthened Truly, Madly, Deadly. Instead, I felt like I had just finished an addicting but not entirely fulfilling Lifetime movie of the week.

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February 18, 2014 - 9:01 am

See Jane Run by Hannah Jayne (YA Review) - […] the plus side, See Jane Run worked better for me than Jayne’s debut, Truly Madly Deadly. Why? This story line felt more relatable, and I must applaud an ending that comes out of left […]

August 11, 2013 - 8:03 am

Alexa Y. - Well, this doesn’t sound nearly as appealing as Dangerous Girls! I mean, I’m mildly curious about who did the deed. But I can’t seem to summon more that, honestly.

July 30, 2013 - 7:09 pm

Asheley Tart (@BookwormAsheley) - This is the second review that I’ve read that has said pretty much the same thing. I’m not entirely sure that I’ll read this one because books like this make me all cringy and twitchy, but what it seems like your reaction is kind of what others are feeling too. I love the cover.

July 27, 2013 - 9:38 pm

Sara (of The Page Sage) - I had been considering adding this one to my TBR pile, but the sound of that ending turns me off to this story. Although I might read Breaking Beautiful now because that sounds really good! 🙂

July 27, 2013 - 10:15 am

Bookworm1858 - I wish this was a more enthusiastic review as I actually bought this book instead of borrowing it from the library because I liked the sound of the concept so much. I will definitely still read it because I own it but I will lower my expectations.

July 26, 2013 - 5:59 pm

picturemereading - Too bad it wasn’t awesome! I love the description of the story!

July 26, 2013 - 2:37 pm

Jen @ Pop! Goes The Reader - I’ve read fairly mixed reviews about this book, although I would be lying if I said I wasn’t immediately intrigued by the book’s synopsis. I love the dark, twisted undercurrent of the story (The idea that perhaps the accident wasn’t that at all) and the fact that Sawyer is haunted by cryptic messages in the weeks following her boyfriend’s accident. Chilling! It’s a shame that this novel couldn’t quite seem to figure out what sort of story it wanted to be (i.e. Switching tone suddenly at the end of the novel) as had it remained a darker, grittier tale throughout I would be much more interested in reading it. As it is, I’m now left a little confused about its intention. Perhaps I’ll take a look at Breaking Beautiful instead…

July 26, 2013 - 12:07 pm

Annie - I actually didn’t connect much with Sawyer and I’m not sure if that’s because of the third-person narrative or simply because she was so underdeveloped. I didn’t know who she was and that made it challenging for me to really get into the book.

I thought the premise was really interesting though but at the end, when they revealed the killer (I knew it!), I was still left with a lot of questions like how did they do it? I think I needed more on the mystery front.

And I totally agree with you on the ending! That was super annoying for me as a reader. It just seemed so abrupt. ‘There was too much blood shed for a tone change like that.’ Ditto!

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