Deadly Cool (Deadly Cool #1)

Deadly CoolBy Gemma Halliday

Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: Oct 11, 2011
Genre: Young Adult Mystery
Source: Me, My Shelf & I Book Tour

Hartley Grace Featherstone is having a very bad day. First she finds out that her boyfriend is cheating on her with the president of the Herbert Hoover High School Chastity Club. Then he’s pegged as the #1 suspect in a murder. And if that weren’t enough, now he’s depending on Hartley to clear his name. Seriously? Not cool.But as much as Hartley wouldn’t mind seeing him squirm, she knows he’s innocent, and she’s the only one who can help him. Along with her best friend, Sam, and the school’s resident Bad Boy, Chase, Hartley starts investigating on her own. But as the dead bodies begin to pile up, the mystery deepens, the suspects multiply, and Hartley begins to fear that she may be the killer’s next victim.

Goodreads Summary

Hartley’s life was going so well. She had excellent grades, a loyal best friend and a sweet and very good looking boyfriend to cuddle with on a Friday night. She thinks everything is just perfect until she arrives at school to hear rumors about her boyfriend hooking up another girl, the self dubbed Chastity Queen and the most popular girl on the color guard team. Determined to confront him, she goes to his house after school and finds the other girl instead. Dead.

Later that night, Hartley arrives home exhausted and emotionally drained from the ordeal only to find her now ex-boyfriend waiting for her in her room. He swears he’s innocent, and since Hartley is the only person he can trust he asks her to help clear his name. Despite his status as a cheating scumbag, Hartley knows he is telling the truth and sets out to help him. Along the way, she runs into Chase, the editor of the online school newspaper. He agrees to help her in the investigation if she lets him tag along and have exclusive rights to the story. The color guard queen isn’t the only dead body they run into, and they know that time is running out and they have to find the killer before either of them are targeted next.

Deadly Cool is a modern version of Nancy Drew. When I first saw the cover I thought there might be some paranormal aspect to the book, but it turned out to be about teen sleuthes solving a murder mystery. The book was light and fun despite the serious event the characters were investigating. Hartley had great side commentary to herself, and she had me chuckling out loud quite a few times. I’m not sure I’d help a guy who cheated on me and then tried to lie about it, but Hartley was loyal despite that and I really admired that about her. The book is light on the romance, but there is a slight attraction to Chase, a guy she’s seen around school but didn’t know very well. I’m hoping we’ll see more of him in later books and the romance will grow, but if the series remains centered on Hartley solving crime, I wouldn’t be upset about it.

I’m not the kind of person that ever figures out who the killer is until the end of the book, but I was a little surprised by who it turned out to be. Even though the book was light and humorous, I didn’t feel like the mystery part was light and easy. The author made us work a little bit, and I appreciated that.

My Summary: It was fun to have a return to a Nancy Drew style of book. It was also refreshing to read a story that didn’t have any fantasy elements, and focused on the characters and the mystery. I will definitely be reading more books by the author, and I can’t wait to continue on with Hartley and her crime solving friends.

My Rating: A




  1. I never would have guessed that this was just a normal or light YA book based on the cover alone. It needs more swinging feet. 😉 It sounds like one of those books that's really good when you read it as part of a series. I adooore Nancy Drew. I wish like mad that I hadn't gotten rid of my old original ones (and yes, I'm old enough that I probably had the originals).

  2. I was thrilled to hear that Gemma Halliday is writing YA but still haven't read Deadly Cool. I am glad that you liked it. I agree that it can be refreshing to read something that has broken out of the usual and has moved towards just using elements of a good mystery.

  3. I'm so happy that you ended up liking Deadly Cool so much, because now I feel reassured. I've been lusting after the cover forever, but sometimes I tend to think with my eyes and not my head. – Asher (from Paranormal Indulgence)

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