Dead Jealous by Sharon Jones
♦publisher: Orchard Books
♦release date: July 4th, 2013
♦paperback, 320 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦series: The Poppy Sinclair thrillers, book 1
♦source: from publisher for honest review
People think of Mother Nature as a gentle lady. They forget that she's also Death...Sixteen-year-old Poppy Sinclair believes in quantum particles, not tarot cards, in Dawkins, not druids. Last summer, in a boating accident in the Lake District, Poppy had a brush with death. But the girl she finds face down in Scariswater hasn't been so lucky. As she fights to discover the truth behind what she believes is murder, Poppy is forced to concede that people and things are not always what they seem and, slipping ever deeper into a web of lies, jealousy and heart-stopping danger, she comes to realise - too late - that the one thing that can save her has been right there, all the time.
Review: Dead Jealous kicks off a great new mystery series, and introduces us to Poppy Sinclair, a veritable Nancy Drew for the modern age. It's a perfect blend of crime thriller, YA contemporary romance, with just an inkling of something ghostly going on to keep readers on their toes.
This fun story boasts all kind of uniqueness, starting with a setting that I've never come across before. The entire story takes place amidst all the curiousity and mysticism of a pagan festival. Poppy, who was raised surrounded by paganism, is no longer into it, but she's come this year to attend her mother's handfasting to her new stepdad. On her first night, she escapes the crowd and meets Beth---a somewhat enigmatic girl who's come to the festival in search of her missing girlfriend. Though they just have a short but meaningful conversation, they immediately connect. The next morning, Poppy discovers Beth dead in the lake and is compelled to find out how she ended up there.
Poppy is a great conflicted, flawed protagonist that you just can't help rooting for. She is facing down a few fears of her own, which include her own recent brush with nearly drowning and the fact that she is completely in love with her best friend since childhood, Michael. I know I've said this a million times, but I love a good romance with tons of history behind it, so all the building tension and mixed signals that happen between Michael and Poppy were just perfect. It even gave me that lovely little ache in my own heart as I was reading. The story actually alternates third-person POV between Poppy and Michael, and I admit that did get a little confusing at times, but also gave a wider perspective that worked for the story.
When it comes to solving the mystery, Poppy is persistent to a fault (as any sleuth worth her salt will absolutely be!) and not afraid to get her hands dirty or go head to head with the creepiest of suspects. There were only a few silly-thriller-cliche moments where the heroine foolishly wanders right into the claws of the villain, but I easily enjoyed the story enough to overlook those. The whole situation calls into question her own beliefs and her trust of even those closest to her. It digs her deeper and deeper into danger, and leads up to a truly heart-pounding twist ending!
I definitely look forward to many more mystery-solving adventures with Poppy Sinclair!