When 16-year-old Scarlett Wakefield transfers from St. Tabby's to Wakefield Hall Collegiate, she is relieved that no one knows her dark, haunting secret. A few months ago, Scarlett was invited to an elite party with a guest list full of the hottest names in British society, including Dan McAndrew. Before the party, Scarlett had only imagined what it would be liked to have her first kiss with Dan, but on the penthouse terrace, Dan leaned in close and she no longer had to wonder. Their kiss was beautiful and perfect and magical, and then...Dan McAndrew took his last breath as she held him in her arms. No one knows how or why Dan died, and everyone at St. Tabby's believes Scarlett had something to do with it. But now that she's safely hidden away at Wakefield Hall, Scarlett would rather forget that it ever happened. Only she can't. Especially when she receives an anonymous note that will set her on the path to clearing her name and finding out what really happened to the first and last boy she kissed.
I don't know exactly where to start with this book. So when in doubt, make a list.
- Scarlett was WAY too snotty for my taste. For real? This girl is so determined to fit in with the "cool" group--nothing cool about them, just a bunch of fussy brats in high heels--that she drops her two best friends, who adore her just the way she is, in a heartbeat. Stupid, stupid, stupid times a million. As I read, I just couldn't believe it. She knew FULL WELL that she was betraying her two best friends and yet, what was she doing? She was going along with it anyway. From that point on, I lost all sympathy. From that point on, I figured that she deserved everything that came her way.
- I have no patience for bratty characters. Almost always--I swear--girls like Scarlett just get it easy. They think their life is so terrible--oh my god, I weigh 101, I'm so fat!--and when there is "character development" is seems stilted and fake. Also, this girl takes way more crap than she should--the epitome of my pet peeves. Maybe British teenage girls are softer than American girls, but if some snotty chick like Plum--Lord knows I couldn't take a girl seriously if she had a name like Plum--if a girl like that took a swing at me, I'd flatten her bony self. I. Would. Drop. Her. Maybe American teenagers, or at least teens around my area, are just violent but I wouldn't let some girl push me around. Forget just pushing her. She'd go down and down hard.
- Scarlett was constantly contradicting herself. One minute it's: This is about getting to the bottom of his death. The next: This really had nothing to do with his death at all. Make up your flipping mind! Also, she was getting possessive of a guy she didn't know the first thing about but she was totally in love with--talk about shallow--and she had no right to be.
- Good points: It was a book full of humor, even if I tolerated Scarlett as far as I could throw her. I did enjoy the humor but it did deepen my dislike for Scarlett. However, I did enjoy the ending within itself--taking away all the things I hated about Scarlett. Her last move had real class. Gotta give her props for boldness.
- I loved the insight into British culture. Reading about all the phrases--thrown in so casually that you KNOW the author is British--was fascinating. I knew what almost all the phrases and words meant from reading the Harry Potter books but still, I have this inbred fascination with foreign cultures and accents.
- THANK GOD THE AMERICAN HAD REAL CLASS! Taylor was so freaking awesome. She was tough and smart--contrasting magnificently with Scarlett. Taylor is definitely my favorite character.
- I really appreciated the mystery. When I read the summary, I figured it to be some type of maudlin supernatural romance. So I was surprised that it was just plain misunderstanding fueling the whole thing. But it worked. Lauren Henderson has a very eclectic writing style, which also kept me reading.
- Somehow, I will continue. I have the sequel--Kisses and Lies--in my possession at present and this book doesn't irk me enough to where I won't continue on. So the review for the sequel will be coming soon.
- If I hadn't liked the ending so much, this book would have gotten a C+ at best, that's how much I disliked Scarlett's character. Still. The humor and the conclusion got to me, so I bumped it up.
- I didn't like the cover at first, but it really started to grow on me. Studying it from a graphic designer's POV, I appreciated their techniques, though they should have done the author's name a little differently--just differently placement. I love the fonts and colors.
- pages - hardcover, 272
- published - January 2008
- publisher - Delacorte Press for Young Readers
- genre - realistic fiction/mystery
- rating - 4/5
- Summer Reading 2010 - #18