Saturday, July 04, 2009

Kiss Me, Kill Me by Lauren Henderson

Genre: YA Mystery
Series: Scarlett Wakefield #1
Published: January 2008
Pages: 260

Synopsis: When 16-year-old Scarlett Wakefield transfers from St. Tabby’s to Wakefield Hall Collegiate, she is relieved that no one knows her dark, haunting secret. A few months ago, Scarlett was invited to an elite party with a guest list full of the hottest names in British society, including Dan McAndrew. Before the party, Scarlett had only imagined what it would be like to have her first kiss with Dan, but on the penthouse terrace, Dan leaned in close and she no longer had to wonder. Their kiss was beautiful and perfect and magical, and then... Dan McAndrew took his last breath as she held him in her arms. No one knows how or why Dan died, and everyone at St. Tabby’s believes Scarlett had something to do with it. But now that she’s safely hidden away at Wakefield Hall, Scarlett would rather forget that it ever happened. Only she can’t. Especially when she receives an anonymous note that will set her on the path to clearing her name and finding out what really happened to the first and last boy she kissed. - Lauren Henderson Website 

My Thoughts:
Kiss Me, Kill Me is the first book in Lauren Henderson's Scarlett Wakefield series although I didn't realise this when I borrowed it from the library. (I picked it up based solely on the cover lol.)
It's an interesting mix, kind of Mean Girls meets Nancy Drew with emphasis on the power of cliques and the desire to belong or fit in & concern over body image.

While the story at first seemed a little implausible, Ms Henderson's inspiration for Kiss Me, Kill Me came from an article in the Canadian press about a boy who dropped dead after kissing his girlfriend.

I enjoyed the snooty British private school setting and the characters, even though I didn't really connect with any of them. Scarlett Wakefield and her best friends Luce & Alison are not part of the popular in-crowd at St Tabitha's, they stick to competitive gymnastics rather than competing for a position in Plum Saybourne's posse. Well that is until Plum, head princess and mega biiitch, invites Scarlett to a party at Nadia Farouk's penthouse apartment.

The lure of acceptance and the thought of spending time with heart throb Dan McAndrew proves too much for Scarlett, leading to this very interesting excerpt:

I don't believe any of this is happening. It can't be me who's bending to the bench to pick up my bag; who's managing to avoid making eye contact with Luce and Alison, because I know the fury and betrayal I'll see if I catch their eyes. It can't be me who's turning to Nadia, throwing a casual "See you tomorrow" over my shoulder at the girls, ignoring their deafening silence. It can't be me crossing the road, walking side by side with Nadia Farouk, Plum's number-one sidekick, heading for the fountain.
But it is me betraying my friends, selling them out, leaving them behind the second something more glossy and shiny beckons. Ninety-nine percent of me is fizzing with excitement when I allow myself to think that the golden doors are really opening to me, that I can at last be part of the world I've always wanted to join.
But the last one percent is saying: Someone who would do this deserves everything she gets.
No prizes for guessing which part of me was right. 

This is a good, fast read and the flash-back style narration by Scarlett is unusual and quite well done in my opinion. I'm looking forward to reading more about misfit Taylor and hunky gardener Jase Barnes, Scarlett's new allies at Wakefield Hall & of course I'm hoping that some of the major loose ends are tied up in the next book.

While Kiss Me, Kill Me didn't blow me away, it was certainly enjoyable enough to pick up Kiss and Tell which was released January 2009 and Kiss in the Dark coming out January 2010.

 Lauren Henderson is the author of several "tart noir" mystery novels for adults, as well as the witty non-fiction handbook 'Jane Austen's Guide to Dating'. She has just finished a bonkbuster (that’s the UK term for a big, sex-and-shopping, naughty beach read of a book) called Divas written under the pen name Rebecca Chance.


  1. Sounds interesting. Like you, I probably would have been a bit skeptical about the setup.

  2. This one sounds interesting. I can't decide if it's for me though!

  3. Love the review, but appreciate even more learning what a bonkbuster is!

  4. Stacybuckeye ~ LOL that one gave me a good giggle too.

    Holly ~ the YA mystery was a first for me.

  5. good review. Different type of YA book. I'll be addin this to my tbr :)


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