She's So Dead to Us by Kieran Scott
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Released: September 2nd 2010 (first published May 25th)
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
When having money is all that matters, what happens when you lose it all?
Perfect, picturesque Orchard Hill. It was the last thing Ally Ryan saw in the rear-view mirror as her mother drove them out of town and away from the shame of the scandal her father caused when his hedge fund went south and practically bankrupted all their friends -- friends that liked having trust funds and new cars, and that didn't like constant reminders that they had been swindled. So it was adios, Orchard Hill. Thanks for nothing.
Now, two years later, Ally's mother has landed a job back at the site of their downfall. So instead of Ally's new low-key, happy life, it'll be back into the snake pit with the likes of Shannen Moore and Hammond Ross.
But then there's Jake Graydon. Handsome, wealthy, bored Jake Graydon. He moved to town after Ally left and knows nothing of her scandal, but does know that he likes her. And she likes him. So off into the sunset they can go, right? Too bad Jake's friends have a problem with his new crush since it would make Ally happy. And if anyone deserves to be unhappy, it's Ally Ryan.
Ally was hoping to have left all the drama in the past, but some things just can't be forgotten. Isn't there more to life than money? (from Goodreads)
She's So Dead to Us starts with Ally Ryan moving back to Orchard Hill. She should be happy - she gets to see all her old friends again, gets to go back to her old school and do all the things she did before she left. But she's not happy. Because Ally Ryan is public enemy number one in Orchard Hill. It's all because her dad lost all their money and the money of her friends too in a bad investment, and now none of Ally's friends will speak to her. Ally thought leaving Orchard Hill was hard - turns out coming back is even worse.
I really loved She's So Dead to Us. Throughout the whole novel, I was thinking, "Finally!" Finally a heroine with some guts. Finally some realistic teenagers who act in a realistic way. Finally a romance that is actually believable. Finally!
She's So Dead to Us is narrated by two characters, Ally and Jake. I absolutely positively loved this. The contrast between points of view was so different it made me laugh. Really. Ally was a feisty character, but also just your typical teenage girl trying to get along with life. I thought she was really strong and she didn't let the horrible things people had done get to her. She voiced her opinions and wasn't afraid to stand up and defend herself, and I thought she showed real courage at times. I thought she acted very much like a teenager would today; she could be shallow, yes, but so can everyone at times. She recognised when she was being silly or stupid and I liked how she knew she wasn't perfect, and also how she compared herself to the old Ally, the one who lived in Orchard Hill before. She started to realise that the old Ally maybe wasn't the nicest of people, and I think this helped her become a better person. She could be a little naive at times (break into school for a party? Really, you bought that, Ally?) but I guess if I were her I’d want to believe in my old friends too; plus, she did learn her lesson after that.
Jake, on the other hand, was a typical guy. I don't know how Kieran Scott nailed it so well, and I'm not a teenage boy so I can't exactly vouch for the realism, but Jake's was probably one of the most believable male POVs I've ever come across. I actually liked the swearing because it just made everything seem all the more realistic, and the way he thought about Ally was just so funny. There were points where I could not keep a smile off my face. I loved Ally and Jake’s interaction with each other, and I felt like the more they got to know each other, the more they liked each other – no love at first sight, no “I’d die for you”s, nothing overdramatic; just a real relationship. It was so refreshing to read about a romance that didn’t rely on some underlying danger to push the two characters together.
There were so many other things I loved about She’s So Dead to Us; the Twilight insult...I mean reference, the consequences of Shannen’s evil pranks, the way Ally both loved her mother yet was annoyed at her for being weak and wanting to “reclaim” her old life...so many things. I really liked Annie, Ally’s new best friend; she was funny, quirky and always there for Ally, and I liked David too though I felt so bad for him and I do wish Ally hadn’t treated him the way she did. I really enjoyed the plot as well. I thought the book was well-paced, hilarious at times (the grey pages with the random conversations on them had me laughing so much, possibly the best part of the book), generally quite funny and full of lots of drama. Towards the end, you could tell something big was going to happen, and I had this knot in my stomach from anticipation, wondering what was going to happen next. By the time I worked it out, my palms were sweating and I was just waiting for the reaction and aftermath – oh the drama! Lovely, lovely drama. And the last page – wow. Kinda wasn’t expecting that. Really need to read the sequel; it’s already on my wishlist!
Overall, She’s So Dead to Us was a witty and engaging novel and I would recommend it to anyone who likes a bit of drama and who maybe wants a change from all the paranormal.