dlsDeadly Little Secret by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Release Date: December 23, 2008
Publisher: Hyperion
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Until three months ago, everything about 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 an art studio downtown. But when Ben, the mysterious new guy, starts junior year at her high school, Camelia’s life becomes far from 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 he’s trouble, even when her friends try to convince her otherwise. Instead 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.

This book in general is kind of lacking. I enjoyed it, I won’t lie. I figured out the mystery about a quarter of the way through, but the romance is nice enough. Let me warn you though: the first half of this book is Twilight Redux. Girl almost mowed down by car? Check. Girl saved from car by mysterious boy? Check. Girl forced to be lab partner with boy? Check. Boy acts like girl smells/annoys him/smells like freesia? Check. So basically, Twilight. I think Camelia is more awesome than Bella, but is that really an accomplishment? Bella Swan is a reflection of what Stephenie Meyer wishes was her life, plus she’s just this boring, blank paper doll with no personality. (Sorry, I didn’t realize how much I hated Bella until right now.) With Camelia, we at least see her doing the things she says she likes, like throwing clay. So at least we get some showing instead of all telling.

Camelia has an annoying, boy-crazed best friend named Kimmie, who I have to appreciate for at least being a real friend to Camelia. She becomes distant when she meets Ben, but she doesn’t drop them completely. And, let’s just cut to the chase. This book is exactly like Twilight, down to the love story, just everything. And, confession time, I liked Twilight. I mean, yeah, eventually I figured out how much was wrong with the romance and Bella’s character, but that just made me move to fan fic (which was infinitely more satisfying than, say, Breaking Dawn). Anyway, I liked Camelia, because she stuck up for herself even while she drifted away from her friends. She is, however, slightly Too Dumb To Live. When someone starts stalking her, leaving her gifts in her open window, writing BITCH across her mirror, does she tell her parents? Of course not! Silly parents, what could they do? Camelia ostensibly does this to protect Ben, but seriously, ladies, protect yourselves first. This was her big fail moment in the book.

The end of this book will give you some deja vu as well, but I won’t spoil you. Draw your own conclusions, but I liked the romance in this book, and the threat was more real that the stupid Volturi and creepier than a hybrid monster baby. It’s a quick read; I think I finished it in twelve hours. Don’t expect anything life changing to occur while reading this, but it’s cute and it’s supernatural and Camelia isn’t a doormat, so it’s enjoyable all the same. Check it out, I know I’ll be reading the second one!