Monday, October 14, 2013
Review: Premeditated by Josin L. McQuein
Review: Premeditated by Josin L. McQuein
Release date: October 8th, 2013
Source: copy from the publisher
Rating: SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER awesome thriller with SPOILER SPOILER kickass heroine SPOILER SPOILER lots of feels and especially SPOILER SPOILER.
A week ago, Dinah’s cousin Claire cut her wrists.
Five days ago, Dinah found Claire’s diary and discovered why.
Three days ago, Dinah stopped crying and came up with a plan.
Two days ago, she ditched her piercings and bleached the black dye from her hair.
Yesterday, knee socks and uniform plaid became a predator’s camouflage.
Today, she’ll find the boy who broke Claire.
By tomorrow, he’ll wish he were dead.
The cover: Yessss. So much mystery, and lurking, and watching. She's totally biding her time before she strikes.
The story: I've been waiting for this book a long, long, long time. I first heard about it on the website Query Shark, where aspiring writers post their queries for critique by agent Janet Reid (Fun Gillian Momet: Ms. Reid once published a fake query I wrote for giggles. Go forth if you dare.) Anyway, sometime in, I think, 2011, McQuein posted her query for premeditated--and it was completely identical to the above synopsis. Seriously, it was such a freaking good query that clearly it got her a book deal and even made it onto the jacket flap, which never happens, I'm sure. But come on. How much do you want to read that story? SO MUCH.
I will say that the synopsis is a touch misleading. Dinah does start out massively Veronica-Mars-hardcore, steely-eyed and cold-hearted and thirsting for revenge. But obviously, she softens, and while normally I like my badass heroines to stay badass, I also enjoyed watching Dinah question everything about herself and her mission. It's so easy to get lost in a revenge plan, especially one as diabolical as the one Dinah sets up, so I was glad to see her falter in her surety and have some real conflicted moments and doubt. But when Dinah is badass... SHE IS BADASS.
I love this girl. She's sharp, she's angry, and she's fiercely protective of Claire, her little cousin, who's currently comatose after slashing her own wrists. In a haze of grief, Dinah starts to read Claire's journal, trying to find out what happened to her happy and bubbly cousin--and she discovers that a boy named Brooks Walden is to blame. So she transfers to the elite Lowry School, where Brooks attends and Claire was supposed to go, with the so aim to destroy Brooks Walden, no matter what it takes. Dinah, essentially, plays a part. She bleaches the black dye from her hair, takes out her piercings, and pretends to be any old Lowry girl so she can get close to Brooks and find out what it takes to break him.
Obviously, things get complicaaaaated. Is Brooks the jackass as much of a jackass as she thought? How much is she lying when she pretends to be this Lowry girl with a crush on Brooks? Is there more to all of these Lowry kids than she thought? And just how far is she willing to go? It's not easy destroying someone else's life, even if they've already done the same.
UGH, this book is so hard to write about. Anything else, and we're getting into major spoiler territory. I will say i totally saw the ending twist coming, as it's pretty well telegraphed, but that didn't make it any less satisfying. THis is a feels-heavy book, to be sure, and it's not nearly as action-packed as I expected. McQuein's prose is clear and sharp, and while I loved Dinah's relationships with her two best friends, they are EXCEPTIONALLY quippy. I mean, you know me. I love a good quip. I talk very quippily, often to the point where people never know if I'm serious or not. And their joking is hilarious, and I always enjoy reading about smart and sarcastic teens. But their quirkiness might have gone one notch too far.
Dinah is a wonderful character, though. She's got layers and very strong feelings and she's a strange and relatable mix of confident and confused. I literally can't discuss ANY of the other characters, though, except to say I did NOT see the twist with Chandi coming, but it made me cheer, and that I love the way McQuein handles a certain risky topic. She's firmly on the side of the victims and portrays how unfairly stacked the deck almost always is. Dinah has a hideously self-centered mother and a father who's finally learning to stand his ground against her, as is Dinah. It's a treat to watch all these story lines and character arcs unfold.
GET YOUR HANDS ON THIS BOOK, FOOLS, SO WE CAN TALK ABOUT IT. I'M HOLDING BACK SO MUCH. I got so many feels from this book, awe and grief and humor and anger. It hit on all the points a good thriller should. (Seriously, I cackled aloud at some of the dialogue. I would totally be friends with Dinah). And I would totally be in love with SPOILER. McQuein has found herself on my list of automatic-TBR-authors.