Title: Truly, Madly, Deadly
Author: Hannah Jayne
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: 7.2.2013
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Source: eARC from publisher
Summary (from Goodreads):
Sawyer Dodd has it all. She's a star track athlete, choir soloist, and A-student. And her boyfriend is the handsome all-star Kevin Anderson. But behind the medals, prom pictures, and perfect smiles, Sawyer finds herself trapped in a controlling, abusive relationship with Kevin. When he dies in a drunk-driving accident, Sawyer is secretly relieved. She's free. Until she opens her locker and finds a mysterious letter signed by "an admirer" and printed with two simple words: "You're welcome."
In Truly, Madly, Deadly Hannah Jayne attempts to tell the story of a girl trying to unravel the mystery of who killed her abusive boyfriend.
Yes. I said attempts.
There were several things about this that just didn’t work for me. The first was that I never really got a feel for the dynamics of Sawyer’s relationship with Kevin. Maybe I would have cared more about his murder if I understood what went wrong in their relationship. And I felt like Sawyer was never really clear on how she felt about him—did she love it? Did she fear him? Was she relieved he was gone? Happy he was gone? Totally indifferent one way or another? Maybe there was just too much emphasis placed on this from the synopsis, but I felt this really needed to be explained more.
There were several other murders/attacks that led me to the obvious conclusion that Sawyer had a stalker, not someone just trying to help her. But these attacks and murders just felt … forced. There was little fluidity. At one point early on, Sawyer is sexually harassed by a teacher at her school. This just came out of left field and I felt like there was no resolution to this at all. It was never brought up again after it happened. I know this was done to villainize the teacher (I hate being vague, but I’m trying to keep this spoiler-free), but that could have been done if the teacher was just needlessly harsh with grading. It felt like the sexual harassment was dismissed and it shouldn’t be. If you’re going to bring up a subject as volatile and complex as a male teacher blatantly abusing his power over a female student for sexual gain, you need to address it and follow through.
Truly, Madly, Deadly is a relatively short read, which was good as I often found my attention waning. My initial like of Sawyer grew to apathy by the end and while the unmasking of the killer was mildly surprising, I ended this just wanting more. There is a very real possibility a lot of people will enjoy this thriller and that’s fantastic. This just didn’t work for me.