Josin L. McQuein
4 out of 5 stars
October 8th, 2013
Age Group: YA
Source: ARC provided by the publisher
How far would you go to seek revenge? After Dinah’s cousin Claire tries to kill herself, Dinah is determined to find the boy responsible by going undercover at Claire’s school. Even if she has to dye her hair and pretend to be someone she’s not, it’s a small price to pay for getting to the bottom of her cousin’s torment. Problem is, no one is telling the truth, and Dinah has to decide whether to trust what her feelings tell her–or to trust what the evidence suggests.
Premeditated is pretty famous for a killer query letter that Josin McQuein sent several years back to her now-agent. In the space of a handful of short, staccato sentences, the author set up an awesome premise as well as a distinct style and rhythm that serves the story well. Those sentences were so good, in fact, that they made the back of the ARC cover, which you can see here.
What I like about this revenge thriller fantasy is that it’s structured more like a traditional mystery rather than like an empty slasher thriller; after the initial rush of getting Dinah enrolled at Claire’s school, things unfold pretty slowly and systematically. Dinah’s quest is deadly serious in its intent and mindful of the seriousness of Claire’s condition, but it doesn’t sport a grim demeanor; it’s related in a logical, humorous tone, with enjoyable dialogue and memorable characters.
While I liked the narrative voice, there were times when I felt Dinah’s internal asides occasionally took me out of the moment and interrupted the flow of the scene, however, and I have to admit that I also guessed the twist to the story pretty early on. Still, well-written, well-plotted YA thrillers are hard to find, and Premeditated is an layered, intriguing mystery that examines how little we truly understand the people around us–even those whose stories we think we know by heart.
An advance copy was provided by the publisher for this review. Warning: brief, violent scenes with potential triggers, but they are done in a non-gratuitous way.
P.S. The author mentioned on Twitter that she may post Premeditated‘s alternate ending on her website sometime. So stay tuned for that if you’re curious about where this story might’ve gone instead...
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