Kiss Me Kill Me (Scarlett Wakefield Series)

Kiss Me Kill Me  - Lauren Henderson Lauren Henderson's "Kiss Me, Kill Me" is - in a word - underwhelming, if I'm allowed to be honest. There were parts that I liked about it, but I think considering it as a whole, I didn't love it though I truly wanted to. Never mind the beautiful cover (I adored the cover - beautifully done and fits the premise very well). Never mind the nice premise of a young woman caught in the crossfire of a promising murder mystery (the story is billed as a mystery, though it reads more like a teen chic-lit type of mystery). Never mind that the first boy 16-year-old Scarlett Wakefield manages to kiss suddenly suffocates and dies at her feet, leaving her at the mercy of many of her peers calling her a "killer slut" or being labeled in the media as being the minor who gave the "kiss of death" to a promising young man named Dan. The ingredients for a great story are all here, but the execution leaves much to be desired. Considering the book ends when we finally get an important piece toward Dan's mysterious death - some readers might be disappointed that the mystery doesn't fully conclude. I would argue in defense of the work that this is book one in a four book series, so it's meant to continue, but the intrigue isn't very strong when you actually sit down to read what the book's content contains. My biggest disappointment in the novel isn't with the cliffhanger ending or with the measure that not everything's resolved in this book - I would be fine by that if "Kiss Me Kill Me" didn't take forever to get to the point in places - dragging out the story. Scarlett's a British teen who's concerned with gymnastics, has a close circle of friends and is concerned with typical teen likes at the beginning of the novel - that's fine. In certain places, she does feel real and you get an idea of what she's passionate about. She's a bit scatterbrained in her thoughts, and there are bits of humor that pepper her account of her life before Dan's death. The story takes a while to get to the event noted in the premise - I just wish it hadn't been told so candidly that it was obvious it had to get to that point - the build-up felt forced/shortchanged by the telling that proceeded the event. After Dan's death, Scarlett has to move to another school to escape the press and badgering of her former schoolmates, only to be thrust front and center into controversies at her new school. This is all well and good for conflict, except when it comes to building upon Scarlett deciding to take it upon herself to find what really happened to Dan - it feels meandering - there are other things that impede upon it and the focus feels out of alignment.I'm not saying that I disliked the novel at all - but I didn't love the way it was presented and it did feel forced to me in places where I think the emotion could've been a lot stronger and had greater impact. I don't doubt there may be teen readers who might like what this has to offer and feel compelled to read the remainder of the series, but even as I'm going to see where things go with this particular work, I didn't feel compelled by it - the mystery or the heavy emotions that were purported to go with it.Overall score: 1.5/5