Famous Last Words by Katie Alender Review

Image Source: Goodreads

Image Source: Goodreads

“Willa is freaking out. It seems like she’s seeing things. Like a dead body in her swimming pool. Frantic messages on her walls. A reflection that is not her own. It’s almost as if someone — or something — is trying to send her a message.

Meanwhile, a killer is stalking Los Angeles — a killer who reenacts famous movie murder scenes. Could Willa’s strange visions have to do with these unsolved murders? Or is she going crazy? And who can she confide in? There’s Marnie, her new friend who may not be totally trustworthy. And there’s Reed, who’s ridiculously handsome and seems to get Willa. There’s also Wyatt, who’s super smart but unhealthily obsessed with the Hollywood Killer.

All Willa knows is, she has to confront the possible-ghost in her house, or she just might lose her mind . . . or her life.

Acclaimed author Katie Alender puts an unforgettable twist on this spine-chilling tale of murder, mystery, mayhem — and the movies.” (Synopsis taken from Goodreads)

Famous Last Words by Katie Alender

Release Date: 30th September, 2014

Pages: 320

Publisher: Point

Format: Hardback

Source: Gift

A couple of years ago I read Katie Alender’s Bad Girls Don’t Die trilogy which I found to be average and disappointing. I was hesitant about reading Famous Last Words, also by Alender, because of this. I shouldn’t have worried because Famous Last Words was a great read.

There is a noticeable improvement in Alender’s writing in Famous Last Words compared to the Bad Girls Don’t Die trilogy. The writing was well paced, making for a quick read. I was captivated by the writing and the plot. I did not want to put the book down and whenever I was not reading the book I found myself thinking about it. I just needed to know what was going to happen next.  Famous Last Words was, however, slightly predictable. I was able to guess the identity of the killer pretty much straight away but I still had fun reading all the twists and turns as they unfolded. It was also nice to read a YA novel that was not bogged down by romance. I’m someone who has become tired of insta-love, love triangles and romance in YA. Romance does play a small role in this book but it certainly did not put me off. Instead, Alender lets the Hollywood serial killer plot take centre stage, which I appreciated and enjoyed. I’m a big fan of the horror genre, so I am used to a lot of scare tactics used in books and movies. It takes a lot to scare me but Famous Last Words had a definite creepy vibe to it that got to me at the end of the novel and I put that down to Alender’s carefully crafted writing.

I found the characters in the Bad Girls Don’t Die book to be one-dimensional and sometimes immature. But, just like with the writing, the character development has also improved greatly. Willa, the main character, was so much fun to read about. She is relatable, intelligent and likeable. As people who are familiar with the horror genre, and especially slasher films, know, if you do not have a strong protagonist then you often end up rooting for the villain. One of my main problems with the Bad Girls Don’t Die books was the development of Alexis, the main character, and with Famous Last Words being slasher-esque, I thought that I might end up with another main character I couldn’t root for. I was wrong. I was able to support Willa 100% and I always wanted to see her succeed. Willa, along with the other characters in the story, have depth to them and are interesting to read about.

Overall, Famous Last Words was such a pleasure to read and I would definitely recommend this book to others. I would also love to read another book starring Willa simply because she has been one of the best main characters I’ve read about in a while. I am now eagerly awaiting Alender’s next book, The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall.

“Maybe it’s human nature to be drawn to the things that have hurt us the most.” (Page 197)

4/5 stars

 – Liz

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