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  • Writer's pictureAnnika Pillai

a review of pretty dead queens


I don’t know if this has ever happened to anyone else, but when I start reading too many books from the same author, I start to get deja vu. Now, this was only the second book I read by Alexa Donne, and I did enjoy The Ivies (relatively), but this felt eerily similar, in that the issues I had with that book, were the exact same issues I had with this book.


Pretty Dead Queens follows Cecilia Ellis, who recently moved in with her famous grandmother (who writes murder mysteries), after the death of her mother. At first, life at Seaview is completely normal––until the homecoming queen is murdered. And as a result, Cecilia very quickly finds herself embroiled in a serious mystery.


This review might have spoilers ahead for The Ivies and Pretty Dead Queens, so be aware! I think the main issue with this book, is that I called it, pretty early on. When I read The Ivies, I was very surprised that the love interest for our main character, Olivia, actually turned out to be the bad guy, after all. It was one of the few twists I actually enjoyed in that book. But I think you can only pull off that kind of twist once, and as a result, I knew, very early on that one of the love interests was going to be the killer in this book––and when I skipped to the end, guess what? I was right.


I love amateur detective books with a romantic subplot (think Karen M. McManus) but this one just didn’t do it for me. Not only did I easily predict the ending, Cecilia was just not that great of a heroine in my opinion. I didn’t think that she was all that well-developed, and it was difficult for me to understand a lot of her motivations and desires. She felt very flat to me, and I couldn't form a connection with her. As a result, it was hard for me to actually get through this book without skimming certain parts and growing increasingly frustrated with her.


I’m not going to say that I’m never going to read another Alexa Donne book, because I really am a true sucker for a good YA thriller, but I unless things change in her next book, it most likely will be my last book from her.


Overall, I wouldn’t really recommend this one.


Pretty Dead Queens ➳ 2.5/5 stars


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