She’s So Dead to Us by Kieran Scott
I really need to stop underestimating contemporary novels.
She’s So Dead to Us follow formerly rich and popular, now broke and hated Ally Ryan and her humiliation, victimization, loss, and love upon her return to Orchard Hill. Here she meets the super-sexy, super-flirty, super-off limits Jake Graydon (our other POV) who took her place among the ‘Cresties’, the rich kids of Orchard Hill and also Ally’s former best friends.
This is not the quick, light read the title would have you believe. The story actually deals with a lot more than simple romance and betrayal. Ally’s father talked a bunch of Crestie families into some bad investments resulting in the loss of millions, trust funds, houses, spouses, and more. Her dad immediately disappears and she and her mom move away for two years, severing all contact with their former close friends. When Ally returns, her former best friends Shannen, Faith, and Chloe shun her because of her dad’s actions, her complete lack of contact with any of them for two years, and a betrayal of her own that I will not spoil. The fact that Jake likes Ally just makes everything worse for her because it sets her ex-friends (one in particular) into a very cruel revenge frenzy. What’s cool is that even the Crestie adults are acting like children and publicly humiliating Ally’s mom at social events. It’s a conflict spreading through generations, classes, and families and it’s all directed at Ally for something she had nothing to do with. It makes her relationship with Jake particularly interesting because the two are completely tied up in all the Crestie shenanigans.
Ooh, the DRAMA!
Ally herself is a very likeable character. When the Cresties are introduced they are presented as superficial and predictable. Ally, despite once having been a Crestie herself is headstrong, stubborn, and surprising; very little she does aligns with the seemingly typical Crestie way. Yet her portrayal does not suggest these were traits gained in her time away from Orchard Hill but rather that it was since her departure that the Cresties developed more fully into who they are now. She is also sarcastic and quick-witted which, when coupled with Jake’s character especially, makes for a very entertaining dialogue. . Something about Ally is just so real, so natural, so effortless that she manages to pull you through all her misadventures and keep your eyes on the page even when the story itself isn’t.
I’m a complete sucker for stories where the love interest is a kind of a jerk but I’ll admit, there were times when Jake was seriously pissing me off. His interest in Ally is clear from the start but sometimes the way he’d go about it drove me insane. The thing is, he’s not even that much of a massive jerk he’s just so used to having girls throw themselves at his feet that he doesn’t know how to act when Ally won’t and manages to do literally everything wrong. But when he starts figuring things out and grows a set…I adore the guy. It’s hard to simply label him as a jerk or an ass or a player because all his douchebaggery coexists with his super sweetness. Jake has layers like onions–and pulling back all those layers is half the fun!
Also, their relationship makes me all smiley and giddy. Hehe. ❤
I absolutely loved Scott’s writing style because it wasn’t spectacular (yes, I am aware of how weird that sounds). She doesn’t use all kinds of overly flowery language but allows the story itself to take precedence over the words. A number of contemporary novels I’ve read (ie. Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares and ANYTHING by John Green) present the teenage characters as remarkably intelligent–or borderline pretentious–by using big words and pretty phrases, thereby bringing the language to centre stage. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. Scott’s writing however was remarkable in an entirely different way: it’s incredibly real. It is sophisticated, light, and humorous but most importantly it feels just like a smoother version of the way a teenager speaks. Reading it, it was like I was in my own mind except everything was a little clearer, a little easier to make sense of. And oh, I loved it.
All in all, I really, really like this books. In fact , it’s possible I came dangerously close to almost loving it. Even without that label, there is a lot about it that I love: the complexity of the plot, the likeable and real characters, the writing’s subtle brilliance. I am thoroughly impressed–it would appear the He’s So/She’s So trilogy is off to a very promising start!
Click here for the book synopsis on Goodreads!