Well, I have to hand it to debut author Atty Eve. She certainly knows how to create a story full of unpredictable, yet believable twists. Much like Kelly Braffet gave the YA/NA a bit of a kick up the bum with her brilliant novel Save Yourself, with My Beautiful Suicide Atty Eve creates a novel that is challenging, unpredictable and, at times, utterly frightening.
The novel opens on familiar ground, though those with a sound knowledge of English Literature will enjoy the many references to Les Miserables including the names of some of the characters. The heroine is Cozette or Cozy Hugo, a high school junior. Things in Cozy's life are pretty damn ordinary when the novel opens. Her brother, Victor (I'm sure you'll get the reference,) has died under tragic circumstances. Her parents have divorced and Dad has remarried a gold-digger has a new kid and has pretty much forgotten Cozy's existence. Mum doesn't have a lot of time or money--she's working odd hours at the local hospital--and Cozy's life is being further complicated by Hilda (yep) the school mean girl and bully. Although she possesses great strength and the ability to fight, Cozy feels utterly defeated by Hilda until one night when she comes to Hilda's rescue during a savage attack. There's a gang on the loose in the local area, preying on young woman. And, suddenly, the suicidal Cozy has an idea that is as ridiculous as it is clever.
Why not kill herself by baiting the gang into attacking her? She'll go down, but she will make sure that they die with her ...
And then, the plot really takes off. Not only does Cozy keep surviving the attacks that she tries to organise, but she finds herself in a strange Bonnie and Clyde style alliance with Chris, a boy from school who has a troubled family life of his own. Reader beware though, Cozy and Chris' relationship is a far cry from the romances that we've seen in YA/NA fiction in recent years. Or to put it another way, Chris is no stand in for Edward Cullen. He's a whole and complex character who comes with problems of his own and his alliance with Cozy is certainly, well, unusual.
It's difficult to say more about the novel without giving much of the plot away, but I will tell you that this is the first in a series and it ends on one hell of a cliffhanger. I'm very much looking forward to the sequel.