Saturday, May 14, 2016

Famous Last Words by Katie Alender, 312 pages (2016-2017 Truman Readers Award Nominee)

In Famous Last Words, Willa is an angst filled teenage girl who has just moved to Hollywood with her recently remarried mom and her new famous movie producer stepfather.  As if starting a new school and making new friends weren't hard enough, Willa harbors a dark secret.  She killed her father.  Willa wants nothing more than to get in touch with her father and tell him how sorry she is for the fight they had and how she didn't mean to hurt him.  Though her spiritual attempts to contact her father never seem to work, Willa gets these crazy headaches and starts having visions of terribly frightening things.  There's a dead body in her swimming pool, messages on walls, and other things only she can see or hear.  Meanwhile, there's a serial killer loose in Hollywood who is targeting young actresses and reenacting famous death scenes and Willa starts to realize her hallucinations might be tied to the murders and that someone or something might be trying to send her a message. 

Of course, it's not all ghosts and murders in this story.  Willa makes a few new friends.  Marnie, a Hollywood kid like Willa, Reed, her stepfather's handsome young assistant, and Wyatt, a serious guy who is obsessed with the Hollywood Killer.  When Willa realizes the magnitude of the trouble she's in she needs someone to help her, but who?

I can't say much more without spoiling it.  I will say I never would have picked this up had it not been an award nominee.  Mysteries are fine, but ghost stories are not my cup of tea.  Fortunately for me this was creepy, but not too scary.  The story itself moved quickly and I stayed up too late finishing it last night and then stayed up even later watching something silly to counteract the creepiness.

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