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Review: Wish You Were Dead by Todd Strasser

Wish You Were Dead by Todd Strasser

Str-S-d:I’ll begin with Lucy. She is definitely first on the list. You can’t believe how it feels to be in the cafeteria and turn around and there she is staring at me like I’m some disgusting bug or vermin. Does she really think I WANT to be this way? I hate you, Lucy. I really hate you. You are my #1 pick. I wish you were dead.

The day after anonymous blogger Str-S-d wishes the popular girl would die, Lucy vanishes. The students of Soundview High are scared and worried. Especially frightened and wracked with guilt is Madison Archer, Lucy’s friend and the last person to see her the night she disappeared.As days pass with no sign of the missing girl, even the attention of Tyler, an attractive new student, is not enough to distract Madison from her growing sense of foreboding.

When two more popular students disappear after their names are mentioned on Str-S-d’s blog, the residents of Soundview panic. Meanwhile, Madison receives anonymous notes warning that she could be next. Desperate to solve the mystery before anyone else disappears, Madison turns to Tyler, but can she trust him when it becomes clear that he knows more than he’s sharing?

The clock is ticking.

Madison must uncover the truth behind the mysterious disappearances . . . before her name appears in Str-S-d’s blog.

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Source: borrowed/School library
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Next: Blood on My Hands

Creeeepy. Like seriously, mind-numbingly creepy. Disturbing. I loved it! I'm a not a huge fan of the mystery/thriller genre - though I can't exactly remember my reasoning as to why, especially after reading this book - but I relished the thrill this kidnapping/murder mystery brought me. There are tons of red herrings, brilliant in construction. Just when I thought I'd figured out who the killer was, I'd been proven wrong, and I realized that everyone is a suspect. Except Madison herself.

The chapters typically opened up with blog posts by the mysterious Str-S-d, then the chilling kidnappings would follow. Afterward the chapters would start with the kidnapper(s) speaking to the victims. I have to say that I was alarmed and thoroughly creeped out by the spine-chilling one-sided conversation with the kidnapper(s). It was obvious that whoever/whomever was doing this was psychotic. A class-A sicko. The fact that the author could write as if he were this person so well impressed the hell out of me. And with two more companion-ish novels to go in this trilogy, I'm more than a little excited to see what other kinds of psychos Strasser is going to sprinkle in in the future.

I thought Madison was a sweetheart. She's the friends-with-everyone, shy-with-boys type. Friendly and athletic. Combined with a bit of naiveté. Good-natured. Totally relatable, endearing, making me all the more sympathetic to her situation. Childhood friends going missing left and right, and somehow, she seems to be connected. And in her eyes, somewhat at fault. Going further, someone is leaving her cryptic warning notes, her best friend is keeping secrets from her, and her delectable boy-crush is frustratingly perplexing. Abstruse. Even more strange: she has a cyber-stalker, some weirdo kid who goes to her school, watches her, and sends her intrusive, yet seemingly harmless messages. Like a stalker. With all these weirdos or mystery persons in her life, it becomes harder for Madison and the reader to pinpoint the kidnapper(s) and eventual killer(s).

Though I suspected them, I liked both Madison's best friend and crush, Courtney and Tyler. Courtney is a very alluring character. She's out there; she wears the oddest yet most attractive outfits and hairstyles, and has a cynical, borderline mean personality. I couldn't help but enjoy her! She's. . . outrageous. And Tyler has the whole aloof, brooding thing going for him. It was hard to get to know him, but I could easily see what kind of person he is. And thankfully, Madison didn't fall head over heels in love with this dude in 2.5, like most heroines. It was rather sweet to see how she crushed on him, agonizing over things like makeup and outfits and things to say, yet she was smart enough to take into account that this guy could be the killer for all his strangeness. I liked that the thing they have going initially built slowly, and didn't rush toward the end. Instead, there's a promise of a relationship, a promise for much more between them.

It was sad to know and see the suffering - as per the aforementioned glimpses into the kidnapper(s) thoughts - of the victims. While popular kids were targeted, they all had their problems. They weren't evil, were still people. It goes to show how no one ever really deserves to die. I hurt for the families, too. Parents desperate to hear from their children, appearing on commercials and news channels, looking stricken and heartbroken, attempting to find their kids. Willing to pay insane sums as ransom,  not knowing that they were dealing with a psychotic as opposed to someone greedy. It was all undeniably painful. And the person who's behind all of this turns out to be an unexpected but a logical choice. A shock nonetheless.

Mainly, I loved being on edge. That irrational sensation of wanting to look over my shoulder because the crazy kidnapper(s) I was reading about could be right behind me. The plot was carefully thought out; the supense was torture. And the ending while bittersweet, was realistic and touching. Concluded beautifully, yet subtly for the almost couple. I'm terribly eager to get to the next book, BLOOD ON MY HANDS, as a result! And I will say that I expect to pick up similar books, as WISH YOU WERE DEAD has opened up so many possibilities. . .

You say she won't wake up...? That's too bad. You want us to do something about it? What would you suggest? Oh... aren't you being silly? Now, don't get angry. See what we have in our hand? You know what happens when we use it. Oh, dear, what a nasty thing to say!

Oooh, it hurts when we do that, doesn't it? So we think you'll have to apologize for what you just said. Not ready? You will be.

Yes, look at you with tears in your eyes. We wonder how many people have seen [you] cry. Yes, we thought you'd apologize after that. Why are we doing this? Because you deserve it, that's why.

What did you do to deserve it? We think you know what you did. We all can't be born handsome and strong and talented like you. Didn't you ever, for even a minute, stop to think about how fortunate you are?

Or, should we say, were? (124)

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ComaCalm said...

I love the sound of this - added it to my ever-growing wishlist!

ComaCalm's Corner

A. Knight said...

Glad to help add to the pile ;) It really is very good.

Small Review said...

I love a good mystery that keeps me guessing. I'll have to look into this one. Thanks!

A. Knight said...

Small Review - You're welcome! It's so good, creepy, intense, and definitely mysterious.

Princess Ash said...

its cool

Princess Ash said...

and kind of creepy