Publication date : February 13th, 2018
Publisher : Tor Teen
Genre : Young Adult | Thriller
Page Count: 288
Synopsis : A CIA prodigy’s cover is blown when he accidentally becomes an internet sensation in #Prettyboy Must Die, inspired by the #Alexfromtarget story.
When Peter Smith’s classmate snaps a picture of him during a late night run at the track, Peter thinks he might be in trouble. When she posts that photo–along with the caption, “See the Pretty Boy Run,”–Peter knows he’s in trouble. But when hostiles drop through the ceiling of his 6th period Chem Class, Peter’s pretty sure his trouble just became a national emergency.
Because he’s not really Peter Smith. He’s Jake Morrow, former foster-kid turned CIA operative. After a massive screw-up on his first mission, he’s on a pity assignment, a dozen hit lists and now, social media, apparently. As #Prettyboy, of all freaking things.
His cover’s blown, his school’s under siege, and if he screws up now, #Prettyboy will become #Deadboy faster than you can say, ‘fifteen minutes of fame.’ Trapped in a high school with rabid killers and rabid fans, he’ll need all his training and then some to save his job, his school and, oh yeah, his life. (From Goodreads)
CW: violence, death threats, blackmail, gunshots
*I received an arc of this book from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*
(Spoilers are hidden)
When I requested this one I hadn’t heard much about it, I saw it floating around but then I stumbled upon it on Netgalley and the premise really intrigued me so I decided to go for it. I love all spy everything, it’s just something that’s always fascinated me, especially when it has a side of comic relief, it’s the perfect mix which this is so eventhough I kept my expectations low, I still hoped I’d love it. But I sadly did not. It has enjoyable elements, but overall, #Prettyboy must die let me down and I will tell you why.
The writing is simple and fun although it got a little rough around the edges at times. Let me explain. The narration is Jake’s thoughts as he gets them, unfiltered, which served a purposes in some parts, especially when he’s trying to figure out clues but for the rest of the novel, it was giving unnecessary information I didn’t really care for. Furthermore, this being an espionnage novel, there are a set of emotions I think should be conveyed through the writing, like fear, anger and urgency and that sadly wasn’t the case here, I think the fun overtook the rest and I couldn’t take any of it seriously. There was also phreaking instead of freaking multiple times and…what’s up with that? I just? Did not compute? In addition to ableist language like cr*zy, ps*cho, and sociopathic.
Don’t get me wrong, the story is still enjoyable, if you can get over the ridiculousness of most of it and read it for the light, silly read it is. I unfortunately could not do that because it threw me off from the start. Jake’s first cover was as a tunisian boy named Pierre…I mean, tunisian, yes. But Pierre, REALLY? Pierre isn’t a tunisian name, it’s a french name so that cover is blown because it’s innacurate but it somehow lasted weeks. And this is a pattern I’ve noticed through most the novel,.
Most conclusions Jake draws are based on assumptions instead of facts (which I suspect an operative wouldn’t do) and hints that fall in his lap way too easily which made the whole plot flimzy and easily take apart. The biggest example is the thing that started all of this. It’s a tweet. And he’s a hacker. He could’ve taken it down in the blink of an eye and even if that’s acknowledged, we’re never given a reason and I think that a trained operative would definitely take care of that first. So the whole foundation the story was built on was kind of wobbly.
That’s not saying that the plot is predictable through and through. It has some predictable elements sure, but it still managed to surprise me multiple times which kept me on my toes and made me enjoy it a bit despite disliking a lot of elements, some situations and twists were really pleasant and the humour was cute and placed in moments that needed it.
Jake is an effortlessly likeable character, his voice is enjoyable and personality perky. He’s a black teen CIA operative, smart, funny and very impulsive at times which puts him in less than desirable situations. I love the friendship he striked with Bunker, it felt really genuine and was heartwarming especially because he wasn’t supposed to care about anyone. Bunker is quite a funny character but I thought he was very two dimensional. Along with all the other side characters to be honest. Even Katie, with whom there was some kind of romance I didn’t really care for. <Spoiler>For the whole time, they’re fighting evil people and next to nothing happens between them besides a few exchanged words but by the end they’re both like “well now there’s something between us, isn’t there” and I felt like there was no build up to it </End of Spoiler>
All in all, if you can read this mindlessly for the light, not-to-overthink, read it is, go for it but if not, maybe don’t. I still enjoyed bits and pieces of the story like I said, but I wish there was more substances and credibility to it.
That’s it until next time.
Did you read #PrettyBoy Must Die? If so, what did you think?
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.