Dead Rules by RS Russell

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Dead Rules by RS Russell

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Category: Teens
Rating: 2/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: A central pairing with virtually no redeeming - or interesting - qualities and a plot which could best be described as stagnant for the first half of the book is a bad combination here. Not recommended.
Buy? No Borrow? No
Pages: 352 Date: March 2012
Publisher: Quercus
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781780870625

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Jana Webster knows that she will be with her boyfriend Michael Haynes for eternity. She even introduces herself as being part of Webster and Haynes. She knows that nothing can come between them – not even her death! So when she finds herself in Dead School, it's surely only a matter of time before Michael joins her… even if she needs to give him a helping hand.

It's an intriguing plot for a book and is being hyped as a mixture of teen classic Heathers and Romeo and Juliet. I'm assuming the people participating in this hype have either not seen Heathers or Romeo and Juliet, or not read this book. While I appreciated from the blurb that we were getting a main character who wasn't likely to have much of a moral compass, I wasn't prepared for someone as vapid, annoying, and generally boring as Jana. From her catchphrase of Fart, fudge and popcorn to her chronic overdependence on Michael, I'd have spent much of the novel wanting her dead if it wasn't for the fact she already was. Having said that, she's perhaps a tiny bit more likeable than Michael himself, who may be the most obnoxious character in recent teen fiction.

In fairness, there's a couple of decent characters here – Jana's new friend Arva, desperate to help Jana do the right thing, is sweet, while bad boy love interest Mars Dreamcote – a Slider who has his own motives for helping Jana – was well-portrayed until the end of the novel when I wanted to scream at him for being so stupid.

Overall, though, the pairing of Jana and Michael combine to be irritating enough to make me regret reading this. Add to this a bizarre setting which takes far too long to be fully explained – the kids are split into Risers, Sliders, Virgins and Greys, who all seem to have different limits on what they can do - some crazy death scenes which are presumably meant to be hilarious but just come across as stupid, and a plot which takes what seems like forever to get going, and it's certainly not one I'd recommend. And there's another one just like it.

For a significantly more entertaining story about a dead girl who you're far more likely to warm to, try Ghost of a Chance by Rhiannon Lassiter.

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