Review: Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday

Deadly Cool
Author: Gemma Halliday
Publisher: HarperTeen: an imprint of HarperCollins
Age Group: Teen
Source: Borrowed from library
Amazon     Barnes and Noble
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Summary from GoodReads:

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.

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.

My Thoughts

When a teen girl came into the library a few weeks ago insisting that I read Deadly Cool, I wasn’t sure this book was for me.  I mean, when I first saw the cover I thought this book was some kind of Sci-Fi or dystopian.  The cover had this creepy pale face on the cover, with empty blue eyes framed with harsh liquid black liner.  But I was wrong.  It turns out this book is a mystery, which is a genre I enjoy!  I am so glad I gave this book a try.  It was so much fun.

Now, I did mention that this was a mystery, and I will be honest, I pretty much guessed who the bad guy was early on.  But those kind of things never bother me.  What I really liked about this book was the MC, Hartley.  She was such a great protagonist.  She is tough, and smart, and isn’t afraid to speak her mind.  And her mixed feelings regarding her boyfriend (ex-boyfriend) after he cheated on her were completely realistic.  It’s hard to let someone go, even when you know you need to.  Even when that person is a jerk.

Sometimes, I did think Hartley made stupid decisions – like at the end when she lied to Chase – I mean, I could totally see where that was going.  But for the most part, I loved reading about Hartley, and her determination to prove her lying, cheating ex-boyfriend was not a murder.

And, I have to say, I found Chase close to swoon-worthy.  Not all the way swoon-worthy; after all, he wore chains on his pants (it’s hard to take a guy seriously when he wears jewelry on his pants), but I definitely liked him.  And I am still a bit intrigued by his character.  I want to know more about his poetry, and photographs.  Plus, I loved reading about Hartley’s feelings towards Chase’s driving skills.

Hartley’s best friend, Sam, is totally awesome!  She was so supportive of Hartley, even if she did tell everything to her boyfriend.  You just new Sam had Hartley’s back, always.  Friends like that are a treasure.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book.  It was a quick, fun read.  I can’t wait to read the sequel, Social Suicide.

About Quinn

I'm a twenty-something children's librarian at a public library in Central New York. I've long left my teen years behind me, but I love to read YA and children's books. I have two adorable dogs. Ginger is a mix between a poodle and havanese, and Daphne is Bichon Frise. Other things I love: Favorite Movie: Singing in the Rain Favorite Book: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Favorite TV Show: Monk
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12 Responses to Review: Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday

  1. I’ve had this on my shelf for the longest time and I don’t know why I keep putting it off. Great review though! I may have to bump it up on the list!

    This comment “it’s hard to take a guy seriously when he wears jewelry on his pants” had me rolling with laughter! I did have a guy friend or two in high school with jewelry on their pants, it was very strange…hehe.

    • Quinn says:

      I had some guy friends in high school who also sported chains and stuff on their pants! 🙂 I say go for it, but it isn’t something I find too attractive. But high school is a great time to try different styles, I guess, and I have long since put my high school days behind me. Maybe I would feel differently if I were 16 years old.

      Glad you liked the review though. I really enjoyed Deadly Cool, so I do hope you give it a try. It is a very fast read.

  2. Brittany says:

    Interesting! I would have never guessed this was a mystery! I thought it was a dystopian or something as well.
    Great review! Makes me want to pick it up. Just curious: You said a lot of great things about it but your rating at the top only says 3/5 stars – Just wondering why! 🙂

    • Quinn says:

      I know, I that cover is totally deceiving.

      I actually give a lot of books that I really liked 3/5 stars. I like to keep the 4 and 5 stars for those books that just blew me away. I will often will enjoy a book, but I can’t really put it in the same family as ones that I still think about now, even years later. Books like Pushing the Limits, Texas Gothic, Rebecca – those kinds of books. But 3 stars means I really did like it. Maybe I am too picky?

      • Quinn says:

        Just a few more things on my rating system.

        Although I really liked Deadly Cool, I don’t see it as a book I will want to ever re-read. And I probably won’t be thinking about it in a few months. Those books that keep me thinking about them even after its been months since I read them, those are the ones I want to give 4 and 5 stars too. Does that make sense?

        But sometimes I am wrong, and end up thinking and wanting to re-read a book I initially gave 3 stars too (Obsidian, Spellbound). Then I need to go back and change their ratings. I just had to do that, because I realized that I liked them more than I thought.

        Okay, I am done now. Sorry for all the wordiness in my answer. Thanks for asking. It is a good question 🙂

      • Brittany says:

        Nah, not at all! I think it’s good to be picky! Sometimes I feel like I give too many books 5 stars when I shouldn’t.. I’ve been trying not to as much and really be more accurate with my ratings.
        Not everyone thinks of rating scales the same (which I just came to realize a little while ago when someone was explaning the different between how Amazon and Goodreads treat their scales differently) so I just decided to put my “rating terms” in my sidebar. I never really thought it would be different from mine, but so many are!
        Glad I asked 🙂

      • Quinn says:

        I should probably put my rating system in the side bar, too! I have it in a tab at the top, but it isn’t very visible there. Great idea! That’s funny that you say you think you’ve given out too many 5 stars, because I often think I don’t give out enough. I’m generally not too critical of a person, so I don’t know why I don’t give out more higher star ratings. There are just some books that I feel like shouldn’t be in the same rating as another book that I liked more. My rating system is just very personal (similar to my reviews, actually).

  3. Heather says:

    You know, I have to agree, based on the cover I never would have guessed this was just mystery!

    I’m enjoying this response discussion on rating systems too… I’ve also been struggling with what exactly I want my rating system to mean, and I think your plan of leaving the top two highest ratings for books you continue to think about, or would reread, is an excellent idea, and I’ll consider things in that manner from now on when I’m rating.

    • Quinn says:

      It can be hard, thinking about a rating system, because everyone is different. You want one that works for you personally, but also one where other people will know what you mean by 3 stars, 4 stars, etc. Everyone’s is different. I know some people don’t give a star rating, but I really like seeing them in other peoples reviews, so I have an idea of what to expect.

      Okay, I am glad that I am not the only one who didn’t think this cover screamed mystery. 🙂

  4. Liesel Hill says:

    Sounds interesting! Thanks for the review! 😀

  5. I really liked this one too when I did it. I thought Hartley was fresh as a narrator. Very “real girl” – you know, minus the capacity for crime solving and such, lol. Plus I loved the Chase relationship. Very excited to see that build…

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