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Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Some secrets shouldn't be kept...
Up until three months ago, everything in sixteen-year-old Camelia's life had been fairly ordinary: decent grades; an okay relationship with her parents; and a pretty cool part-time job at the art studio downtown. But when Ben, the mysterious new guy, starts junior year at her high school, Camelia's life becomes anything but ordinary. Rumored to be somehow responsible for his ex-girlfriend's accidental death, Ben is immediately ostracized by everyone on campus. Except for Camelia. She's reluctant to believe the rumors, even when her friends try to convince her otherwise. She's inexplicably drawn to Ben...and to his touch. But soon, Camelia is receiving eerie phone calls and strange packages with threatening notes. Ben insists she is in danger, and that he can help--but can he be trusted? She knows he's hiding something... but he's not the only one with a secret.

Deadly little secret is a fast paced book about Camelia, her meeting with the new boy rumored to have murdered his ex-girlfriend but who saved her from an accident, and her stalker who has been frightening her with photos of her at various locations and threats.

There are a number of male characters in Camelia's life which makes it tricky to guess which one person is the stalker. The author has used some chapters to write in the stalker's point-of-view and has cleverly written so that the reader cannot cross off anyone on the suspect list - John the soccer star, Ben the new guy who's rumored to have killed his ex-girlfriend, Matt the ex-boyfriend but now friend, Spencer the older guy who is in charge of the store where Camelia takes up pottery. The entries of the stalker gives me goosebumps and chills up my spine because they're obsessive and creepy.

Although quite a short book, the pace felt just right. There were no overly slow parts because even in the dullest moments, in the back of the mind of the reader, Camelia is in the realm of danger and the suspense keeps you hanging.

I read most of this book at night/past midnight and it was scary. There were many parts of the book which included phone calls, unlocked doors and chilling moments such as where Camelia searches for her mobile phone but there's no signal, and going to her room scared of what or who may be lurking. The author does a good job of transporting the reader there. You can't help but look around the room and check if doors are locked and the windows closed.

There is romance amidst the mystery but I felt that it wasn't really developed. The male character felt only like a puzzle who Camelia wanted to figure out. (she doesn't know much about him but feels an attraction every time her touches her...) I felt that friendship could've been a better start and maybe romance could play a bigger role in the second book?

The cover is really pretty but hasn't got to do much with the book, although the glowing hand does symbolise something, but not correctly (not to do with the main female character).
All in all, a quick and engaging read!