Title: Kiss Me Kill Me
Author: Lauren Henderson
Pub. Date: 1/8/08
Main Themes: Murder, Mystery, Love, Boarding School
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.
I’ve been picking up the Scarlett Wakefield books since KISS ME KILL ME was released at the very beginning of 2008, but it took me until now to actually take one home and read it. The novel has a plot line similar to Kate Brian’s PRIVATE, but they are far from the same book, in both positive and negative ways. I actually like Scarlett and I’m not all that fond of Reed, the lead character of Brian’s books. Scarlett has flaws, which are apparent right from the start of the novel, but she is also a rather good amateur sleuth and her background in gymnastics enables her to do some pretty intense moves. Reed is primarily concerned with being liked and popular and often lacks the smarts that I admire in a protagonist. Plus, Scarlett is much better at solving mysteries – always a plus in a mystery novel. I will admit, however, that the PRIVATE books pulled me in to the story right from the beginning and KMKM was much slower and lacking in action. I’m confident that the next book will make up for that though.
As I mentioned, the first volume of Scarlett’s story was a bit slow, at least in the beginning. By the end the story had picked up momentum and catapulted me toward the next book – leaving me grateful that I waited to read KMKM because I don’t particularly like the waiting part of series. Most of KMKM is just laying out the groundwork for the next book, KISSES AND LIES, so Henderson should be able to jump right into the story.
The mystery aspect of the novel was well written, but readers only really get a taste of a conclusion. The bulk of the book was introductions to characters and theories. The ending left me wholly unsatisfied since nothing was really solved – so readers who read KMKM back in 2008 and had to wait for the next book must have gone crazy.
Most of the book was from Scarlett’s POV, but there were anonymous journal entries interspersed that really added to the novel. At the beginning that really intrigued me, though I think that Scarlett solved that little mystery a little too easily.
Overall, KMKM was a good novel and I have high hopes for the rest of the Scarlett Wakefield novels. They are quick and easy reads with just a dash of romance!
I love the cover art for KMKM. It is simple and definitely caught my eye in the bookstore. I’m glad that Delacorte kept the same general concept for the next two books as well.