Poor Little Dead Girls by Lizzie Friend
Release Date: December 18th, 2013
Publisher: Merit Press
Summary: Perfect people aren’t just born. They’re made.
The first time she is blindfolded and kidnapped, star-athlete and posh boarding school newbie Sadie is terrified. She wakes up in a dark room surrounded by hushed whispers, hooded strangers, and a mysterious voice whispering not-so-sweet nothings in her ear.
But once the robes come off, she realizes it’s just an elaborate prank designed to induct her into the group that’s been pulling the strings at Keating Hall for generations. The circle has it all–incredible connections; fabulous parties; and, of course, an in with the brother society’s gorgeous pledges.
The instant popularity is enough to make Sadie forget about the unexplained marks on her body, the creepy ceremonial rituals, and the incident that befell one of her teammates the year before. So the next time Sadie is kidnapped, she isn’t scared, but she should be. The worst of Keating Hall is yet to come.
I tried to love this book. I went into it with high hopes, expecting something creepy and mysterious and entertaining and instead found something that was none of those things. Poor Little Dead Girls is more Gossip Girl meets The Skulls, full of cliches and some frankly offensive assumptions about my hometown and a very disappointing plot.
The writing just didn’t work for me. There wasn’t enough character development to make me care about all of these over-privileged, shallow kids and our TSTL narrator. The synopsis promises the creepy and mysterious, and while there were plenty of scenes where some disturbing stuff was happening, the writing failed to build the atmosphere enough for me to actually feel creeped out or curious. Also, and this was just something that really bugged me, but if you’re going to make your main character mention her home state with some regularity, please do some research on that state. I grew up in Portland, Oregon and I cringed with every mention, because the descriptions were so inaccurate and filled with stereotypes. It really felt as if the author was getting all of her knowledge of Oregon from something like Portlandia and frankly, I found most of it offensive.
All of the characters were poorly developed and, with the exception of the MC’s roommates, Gwen and Tris and her best friend, Jessica, were wholly unlikable. They were self-absorbed, shallow and did not have a single redeemable quality. I have a lot to say about all of them, but it was Sadie who bothered me the most, simply because she’s supposed to be our heroine and the character we root for, and yet her actions were some of the most offensive. She really was just TSTL. She’s abducted by a bunch of people in hoods, who drug her and assault her and ask her some pretty invasive and offensive questions, and yet she only halfheartedly worries about it and then immediately agrees to join the secret society as soon as they invite her? THIS MADE NO SENSE TO ME. I didn’t actually hate her though, until she walked in on a sexual assault and didn’t say anything to anyone until she later had reason to believe that the same thing had happened to her. LIKE REALLY? SOMEBODY GETS RAPED AND YOU’RE LIKE LA-DI-DA NOT MY PROBLEM…OH WAIT I MAY HAVE BEEN RAPED THAT NIGHT TOO, LET ME GET EVERYONE I TRUST TO RISK THEIR LIVES TO HELP ME INVESTIGATE THIS CREEPY SECRET SOCIETY I JOINED. So yea, there were character problems.
The plot was also just incredibly weak. It seems to be based on the mystery of Sadie’s mothers history at Keating Hall, as well as the disappearance of another girl the year before, but there is very little investigation into it. It’s mostly just a mess of Sadie waxing poetic about how different she feels because she’s not rich, and then going to parties and getting wasted and wondering why she has weird marks on her body. And the big reveal of the secret society’s master plan was just so predictable and laughable. But what really bothered me was the resolution to the mystery of Sadie’s mothers involvement and the missing girl. As a woman I was just incredibly offended. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who plans to read it but it was just bad. Bad, bad, bad and again, a total cliche.
Will I buy this book? No. Would I recommend this book? Not likely. Not unless the person is really into books of the Gossip Girl caliber.
I received my copy of Poor Little Dead Girls as an eARC free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.