Book Review: Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday

Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday (Deadly Cool #1)
Publisher: Harper Teen
Format: ARC (courtesy of MMSI Book Tours)
Genre: Contemporary Mystery, Young Adult
Publication Date: Oct. 11, 2011
Hartley Grace Featherstone is having a very bad day. First she finds out that her boyfriend is cheating on her with the president of the Herbert Hoover High School Chastity Club. Then he's pegged as the #1 suspect in a murder. And if that weren't enough, now he's depending on Hartley to clear his name. Seriously? Not cool.

But as much as Hartley wouldn't mind seeing him squirm, she knows he's innocent, and she's the only one who can help him. Along with her best friend, Sam, and the school's resident Bad Boy, Chase, Hartley starts investigating on her own. But as the dead bodies begin to pile up, the mystery deepens, the suspects multiply, and Hartley begins to fear that she may be the killer's next victim.

Deadly Cool had a great start, opening with a catchy first paragraph:
There are three things you never want to find in your boyfriend's locker: a sweaty jockstrap, a D minus on last week's history test, and an empty condom wrapper.
Lucky me, I'd hit the trifecta.
-Hartley, Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday (Pg. 1)
In case you're wondering, Hartley is a virgin. This discovery sets off a chain of events that lead Hartley to the find the body of a classmate in her boyfriend's room, and then on to searching for the real murderer once she decides that her now ex-boyfriend is innocent.

As I got deeper into the story I found it hard to connect with Hartley, and that had a lot to do with the fact that--had I been in her situation--I would have acted completely differently. Hartley is way too gullible, and it gets her into some dangerous situations. She has moments of enlightenment when she puts puzzle pieces together like a boss, and gets closer to solving the mystery...and then has moments of pure idiocy that had me rolling my eyes and shaking my head. Is calling her selectively clueless, too presumptuous? No? Okay.

One thing that really bugged me is that while questioning the students at her high school, Hartley would think rude things about them that quickly got old: that they would cry, but it wasn't a mascara-smearing cry (and therefore wasn't real, so that person didn't really care about their dead classmate), or that someone would make a sobbing noise, but their tears wouldn't even make it to the corner of their eyes (and therefore weren't real). We hear these things so many times, and about all the people Hartley questions, that I began to question why Hartley herself wasn't crying in a mascara-smearing way--did that mean she didn't care either? Did that mean she was being fake, too?

On the positive side, the story is faced-paced. Though it lacks a lot of the mystery it could have had, it is a very light read that doesn't take itself too seriously. Hartley does deserve credit for taking initiative in finding the truth behind something that everyone else thinks is an open-and-close case. She's got guts, that's for sure. And she even goes out on a limb for her ex-boyfriend, even though he cheated on her. Kudos! The humor is great, and totally had me laughing. It's an easy mystery to solve (pretty much everything happens exactly how you think it will), but I was still entertained enough to breeze through the book.

I've been going back and forth on the rating for this one, so I decided to settle in the middle.

Read this if:
...you want a quick read, or a quick break from the paranormal.

Content Warning
*This section may contain some spoilers about content!*
Highlight between the brackets to reveal the text.
{Talk of sex, and murder.}

Me, My Shelf and I Book Tours

Other Books in the Series:
Book 2: Social Suicide (April 2012)

Purchase Deadly Cool:
Gemma Halliday:
Website  /   Facebook


  1. I'm curious about this one, but still unsure whether I'll get around to reading it or not. It sounds like a really neat idea, and your review of it kinda seemed to me like it was more of an old-school traditional mystery detective book. Which is neat, because there doesn't seem to be many of those in YA. Especially with how "selectively clueless" she could be.

    Brenna from Esther's Ever After

  2. This book is interesting but I'm still thinking if I'm going to read this. Based on your review, it is highly likely I would since I want something fast + hilarious to read.

    Smitten over Books

  3. I'm sorry you didn't like this one. Seems like people either loved this one or really didn't care for it. Personally it doesn't sound like something I would love so I'm pretty sure I'll just skip this one.

    Thanks for the great review :)

  4. Not my kind of book! But great review (:

  5. I like reading stories where the characters do opposite of what I would do. It makes me angry at them (LOL) - kinda like screaming at a TV screen telling the girl who is running from the villain to get up and stop falling like an idiot! ;)

    Great cover to this book, and I enjoy a fast read, so I'll probably read this one. Thank you for the honest review. :)

  6. Brenna: You said it perfectly. It's more like an old-school Nancy Drew book, which was intriguing, but the MC was definitely not Nancy Drew.

    Sarah: It's definitely a good one if you want a fast read. I'd love to see what you think about it if you read it. I'll keep an eye out for a review.

    Alexa: That's what I've seen so far, too. Seems to be one of those love it or hate it books.

    Ajoop: Thanks! And thanks for stopping by. :)

    C.E. Hart: I like characters who do things I wouldn't, too, but sometimes I just can't handle it. Lol. I'll be watching for your review! :)


Thanks for commenting! I read each and every one, and reply as soon as I can :)

Please note: The Reading Fever is an award-free zone. I am very flattered, but comments are all the thanks I need.


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