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Monday, March 7, 2011

Beautiful Dead: Summer by Eden Maguire

Beautiful Dead: Summer by Eden Maguire
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery, Young Adult
Length: Full Length (274 pgs)
Heat Level: sweet
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Fern

Not alive. Not dead. Somewhere in between lie the Beautiful Dead.

It’s been months since Darina has seen her undead boyfriend and her heart is breaking all over again. The wait is slowly driving her crazy.

All she wants to do is be with Phoenix, to feel his arms wrapped around her. But to earn the pleasure of that embrace, Darina must track down the crazed killer that shot Summer Madison.

Was it a random shooting? Or was the gifted singer the victim of an obsessive fan? As time runs out, Darina will risk her own life to discover the truth.

But if she solves Summer’s murder, Darina knows it only brings her one step closer to losing Phoenix forever…

Sometimes a reader comes across a book series that captivates them. As the journey progresses and they get to know the characters, it’s impossible to stop thinking about them. Thus is the case with Eden Maguire’s series, Beautiful Dead. From the first story -- Jonas -- you are aware that things can’t end with a happily ever after in the usual sense. However, the impact of each book is memorable nevertheless. In the newest installment, Beautiful Dead: Summer, you are given Summer’s story. As the protagonist, Darina, works to uncover the mystery surrounding her friend’s untimely death, you are once again swept into the mesmerizing world of the Beautiful Dead; those who have died and have one year to solve their murders before they are trapped in limbo.

Of all the Beautiful Dead, Summer is the most gentle, kind, and has remained somewhat mysterious in the previous novels. A popular singer and songwriter, Summer left her friends, family, and fans devastated by her loss. Shot and killed in the local shopping mall, her death was unexpected and tragic. As Darina explores the events that led to Summer’s demise and unravels secret upon secret, you are unsure of who is to blame and, in true Maguire fashion, the twists and turns never stop coming. There were moments when I held my breath, grasped the book in hand, and felt my jaw drop when I discovered the true reasons for Summer’s murder. The motivations of the killer, as well as his or her identity, is one that you least expect. Despite believing I knew where things were going, I found myself being led down different paths until the truth was finally revealed.

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of this series. Each book gets better and better. The writing is fantastic, to the point, and keeps your attention from beginning to end. I feel that Ms. Maguire brings more to the table with each book, so of course I was gratified, yet sad, when I finished Beautiful Dead: Summer. The only character that remains is Phoenix. It’s not necessarily going to be a happy end, but I’m certain it will be a fulfilling one. Things have been building up to the final chapter in the heartbreaking love story between Darina and Phoenix. With three of the four deaths of her friends solved, Darina’s beloved boyfriend is now last on the list. I eagerly await Phoenix’s book, even if my heart is aching at what is to come.

I would recommend Beautiful Dead: Summer to anyone who enjoys unconventional young adult romances. The material is dark and complex, with characters that you come to love even as you are forced to let them go. My only regret is that once I’ve finished, I’ll have to pick up the first book and start all over again. Just as Darina refuses to relinquish her love for her Beautiful Dead boyfriend, I know I won’t be prepared to say goodbye to this series.