Monday, May 23, 2011

You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin

Title: You Killed Wesley Payne
Author: Sean Beaudoin
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: February 1, 2011
Date Read: May 11 - 14, 2011
Rating: 5/5 stars 

He's come to do a job. A job that involves a body. A body wrapped in duct tape found hanging from the goal posts at the end of the football field.

You Killed Wesley Payne is a truly original and darkly hilarious update of classic pulp-noir, in which hard-boiled seventeen year-old Dalton Rev transfers to the mean hallways of Salt River High to take on the toughest case of his life. The question isn't whether Dalton's going to get paid. He always gets paid. Or whether he's gonna get the girl. He always (sometimes) gets the girl. The real question is whether Dalton Rev can outwit crooked cops and killer cliques in time to solve the mystery of "The Body" before it solves him. 

Wow! You Killed Wesley Payne will be the book to beat this year. I'm hesitantly naming it my #1 Read for Both Genders in 2011. Excellent!

This is probably my favourite male narrator novel I've ever read, mainly because Dalton was such a relatable and realistic character. His Nancy-Drew-like mindset made you laugh while his passionate and brotherly motivation made you stop and pause. Rarely are male protagonists portrayed with such depth as most authors prefer to write them as the "jock", "cute guy", or "nerd" rather than a complex human like most female characters.

I was hesitant after a few chapters about whether or not this was an MG read because it seemed to mimic the TV show Filmore exactly. Instead Sean Beaudoin was just gearing up for the fast-paced smart chapters following the introduction. Most YA novels about teen suicide are depressing and emotional but instead You Killed Wesley Payne was full of teen romance, police corruption, student snipers, cliques, and car chases. Definitely not your typical YA read.

If you love Mean Girls, West Side Story, Grease, or anything by Jaclyn Moriarty or Agatha Christie this novel was written especially for you. The old-fashioned noir feeling juxtaposition with a modern technological setting in Sean's blatant mockery of adult mystery novels and soap operas will have you laughing for hours. I especially loved how Sean created his own universe with hilarious new slang and cliques.

Favourite Quote: "Unless you're a Russian general's daughter who hangs out in the parlor, receives eligible bachelors for tea, and is prone to vapors, fainting isn't a good look."

Recommended: 13 Reasons Why (Jay Asher), The Year of Secret Assignments (Jaclyn Moriarty), The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (E. Lockhart), 

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