Monday, September 22, 2014

Famous Last Words by Katie Alender

Famous Last Words by Katie Alender
Release Date - September 30, 2014
Publisher Website - Scholastic
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  320 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received in exchange for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Hollywood history, mystery, murder, mayhem, and delicious romance collide in this unputdownable thriller from master storyteller Katie Alender.

Willa is freaking out. It seems like she's seeing things. Like a dead body in her swimming pool. Frantic messages on her walls. A reflection that is not her own. It's almost as if someone -- or something -- is trying to send her a message.

Meanwhile, a killer is stalking Los Angeles -- a killer who reenacts famous movie murder scenes. Could Willa's strange visions have to do with these unsolved murders? Or is she going crazy? And who can she confide in? There's Marnie, her new friend who may not be totally trustworthy. And there's Reed, who's ridiculously handsome and seems to get Willa. There's also Wyatt, who's super smart but unhealthily obsessed with the Hollywood Killer.

All Willa knows is, she has to confront the possible-ghost in her house, or she just might lose her mind . . . or her life.

Acclaimed author Katie Alender puts an unforgettable twist on this spine-chilling tale of murder, mystery, mayhem -- and the movies.
A novel that mixes my love of mysteries with my obsession with Hollywood? Yes, please. Famous Last Words seemed to be everything that I would love in a novel. While it was mostly enjoyable, some elements did not work quite as well, for me at least, and it ended up just being a rather average read.

The supernatural element mentioned in the synopsis almost takes over the entire plot. The Hollywood inspired murders are woven in to this supernatural element, but are secondary in the focus. I found that it did not quite mesh well with the setting and felt disjointed. The plot all ties together at the end, but it still wasn't enough for me to forget my disconnection at the beginning. Personally, I would have enjoyed this more without the supernatural element to the story.

Willa was different than I expected her to be. She's being haunted by these ghosts, and yet she's handling it remarkably well. She was taking control, and dealing with it. Her attitude was one of action, rather than sitting back and letting things unfold. She didn't feel sorry for herself, and instead focused on actually fixing the situation. While she wasn't as developed as I would have liked, there was more than enough to make her interesting. In particular, her father's death and it's impact on her while subtly done, resonated rather well.

The romance felt rushed, but I think that is because it was such a background focus. The time spent together was mostly plot driven, and related back to the mystery at the focus of the story. There were some promising elements as they began to share deeper aspects of themselves, and I would have greatly enjoyed it if the 'love' word had not been used. It could have been a cute, initial starting out with the potential for more. Willa has a lot going on, with being haunted and all, so it would have worked to have a slower paced flirtation.

The last few chapters are paced well, and are filled with the tension that wasn't quite there in the rest of the novel. It's a dizzying, chilling ending that was what I was looking for when I picked up this novel. The ending reveal, while one that you'll mostly see coming, is logical, and executed rather well.

A novel that is a mix of realistic and supernatural chills. The focus on the supernatural was unexpected, and did not quite work for me, but the result is an otherwise fairly enjoyable read. A lighter (despite it's subject matter) fluffy read that many will breeze through.

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