A review by geofroggatt
Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Faria Stolarz


Laurie Faria Stolarz helped get me into reading with her Blue is for Nightmares book series, and a friend of mine had recommended her Touch book series back in elementary school. Set in the fictional town of Freetown, the story revolves around sixteen-year-old Camelia Hammond, an ordinary girl beginning her junior year of high school. When Ben Carter, the new boy in town, saves Camelia from being hit by a car, Camelia is terrified to learn Ben is rumored to have a murderous past. As Camelia attempts to get closer to Ben and learn more about him, she receives a series of ominous gifts, threatening phone-calls, and terrifying text-messages from a mysterious stalker. Along with her close friends, Kimmie and Wes, Camelia must determine if Ben is the one terrorizing her, or if it is someone else. Upon starting this book, I immediately recognized some typical young adult paranormal romance tropes from the early 2000s. The mysterious boy with a dark past, the paranormal high school romance, the insta-love trope. This book is definitely a product of its time. The scene where Ben saves Camelia was almost exactly like a scene from Twilight. The stalker plot definitely elevated this basic paranormal romance into something more compelling. Laurie Faria Stolarz has done stalker storylines in her previous books, but I didn’t feel like it was pasted on here. I liked reading from the stalker’s perspective, but it was more creepily juvenile than it was scary. This book had an interesting premise, but an incredibly basic execution. This book feels like it was written for a younger audience than typical young adult books, and that’s okay, but I don’t think that it translates well to older readers or readers looking for more out of their young adult books. I didn’t guess the identity of the stalker correctly, but I still feel like the mystery of the stalker was written poorly. The motive wasn’t strong enough beyond “crazy obsession” and I felt like the character was just a caricature of a crazed stalker. This definitely wasn’t a favorite for me but I do understand that this book would most likely be more appealing to younger readers getting into reading. Despite not being a fan, I’ll most likely continue reading the rest of the series as I love the paranormal aspect to this book.