Wednesday, April 10, 2013

PAS DE DEATH by Amanda Brice: 4 stars

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Amanda Brice's latest Dani Spevak mystery was released recently, and it is adorable!

That might seem like a strange way to describe a murder mystery, but you'll understand it in a minute. PAS DE DEATH is part of a series, but it works as a standalone because all previous relevant events are referenced in a way that keeps the reader in the loop. It is YA (young adult) and done in the first person humorous/light style a la Ally Carter (Gallagher Girls). In fact, there's even a funny part in the book when Dani says it's not like she's a Gallagher Girl. Yay for bookish pop culture references! Pop culture references abound in this book, from "binders full of women" to actresses I've never heard of and wondered if they were made up. The love interest (an 18-year-old ex-boyfriend for our 15-year-old protagonist) is basically Robert Pattinson but more charming. He's even an actor playing a certain broody vampire in the Midnight movies based on books by... Bethany Beyer. Yeah.

So that's the kind of cuteness you're buying when you buy PAS DE DEATH. Since I am a huge Ally Carter fan, I also appreciated the light, humorous tone of Amanda Brice. I'd definitely read the others in her series, and not just because there's a ballerina inside me dying to get out (although yes, that is part of it). Girls who liked I'D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU BUT THEN I'D HAVE TO KILL YOU, will also enjoy PAS DE DEATH.

A little explanation of the title from the blurb:

pas de deux: (NOUN: pl. pas de deux)
1. A dance for two, especially a dance in ballet consisting of an entrée and adagio, a variation for each dancer, and a coda.
2. A close relationship between two people or things, as during an activity.

pas de death (NOUN: yeah ... totally made up)
1. A dance of death.
2. When Dani Spevak stumbles over a dead body and gets into another crazy situation.
Aspiring ballerina Dani Spevak is back home for the summer, recovering from an injury. What was supposed to be a simple day trip into New York City to visit her friends at the Manhattan Ballet Conservatory turns deadly when Dani discovers that the world of professional ballet can be cutthroat — literally.
I really love the title. And the blurb. Clearly, this is a clever author.
Now to the stars... I would put this somewhere between three and four stars (probably round up to 4), which is why this isn't featured on Afterglow. While I enjoyed it and would read more from the author, I felt it got a little too thin at parts, especially the ending, which happened way too fast. I'd have liked a little more showing vs. telling in that part, especially the parting scene between the boy and girl.

I loved the characters, particularly the eccentric grandmother. Dani was fun to spend time with, and I think she acted the way you expect a fifteen-year-old to act, even though she is angry with herself for being TSTL (too stupid to live) at times, wandering into situations she could have avoided with a little forethought. I think that's just life at that age. You sort of know better, but you have to test the limits anyway. You have to fight for your independence even if it puts you in danger. So the characters felt real, Robert Pattinson look-a-like notwithstanding. :)
The mystery was pretty good. I had it figured out way before Dani, but that could be because I'm twice her age. *shrugs* I think teenagers who like light, humorous books would eat this one up. I mean, come on! It's got ballerinas!

Bottom line: It's a great introduction to the mystery genre for younger readers (Read: clean, not overly gory or sexual).

My next NetGalley read is ROTTEN by Michael Northrop, re-releasing in April 2013 from Scholastic.


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  1. thanks for the book suggestion! i'll include this one in my reading list!

    1. Yay! I hope you enjoy it! And you're welcome. :)


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