Today, I'm going to tell you about a book that 99-100% of you have not heard of yet. Guaranteed. Isn't that fun?
Here's the blurb:
After a nasty break-up with her boyfriend, high school student Ann Lippens is invited to go to the town's new night club, Whispers. At the club, she finds herself in the arms of the mysterious and handsome Cody Rhodes. When she rejects Cody's advances, the musician turns his attention to Ann's best friend, Kim. Kim couldn't be happier.
Within days, Kim is changing her appearance and behavior to please her new boyfriend. Ann investigates the singer only to discover that Cody is the very image of a long-dead rock star named Bobby Winters. Winters and his band had a dark and troubled history until their fiery demise. Bobby's string of girlfriends all died early, suspicious deaths.
Discovering the secret timetable for Kim's murder, Ann realizes she's the only one who can stop it. But it's not Kim that Cody truly wants....
While this novel is self-published, you won't find typos and other annoying editorial hiccups in this book. The authors have written novels before, and had this book edited several times by a small press. The writing was easy to get into and I read almost 100 pages in my first sitting.
The main character, Ann, is likelable and has a lot in common with many teens. She's not a genious, she's not the most popular girl in school, but she's not an outcast, she comes from a relatively normal, middle class family (minus the deceased mom), and she has one really close best friend. Without being preachy, teens and pre-teens can easily learn from Ann's example of rejecting the sexual advances of her boyfriend even if it means losing him. And they will learn from Kim that you should never change who you are for a boy. If they don't like you for you, they're not worth it. Again, this is just part of the story, it didn't feel preachy at all to me.
This novel is written for a younger audience than I would normally read for (12-14), so some of the clues to the mystery about Bobby Winters I found to be a bit obvious. Putting that aside, I think this is a good middle ground book for girls looking to "read up" into the romance/mystery genre and who have moved past the traditional middle grade novel. While there was some romance (and clearly, Ann's ex wanted "more"), all we see are some rather chaste kisses. And yes -- some people die (I'm not telling you who), but there's nothing particuarly graphic about it.
Overall, this wasn't the type of book I am swooning over (i.e., there's not much romance so not much cross-over appeal), but if you're looking for a mystery that your tween/younger teen can read without her pulse pounding through the ceiling in a way that makes fathers reach for their shot guns, this is a good option.
If you'd like to read Something Wicked, the book is now available in e-format on Smashwords or Amazon for only $2.99. You can also learn more about Renee and Hal, a/k/a Renee Harrell, on their website.