Review of 'Wish You Were Dead'
Wish You Were Dead
By Todd Strasser, 2009, Carolrhoda Lab
Rating: 👻👻👻 (3 out of 4 boos)
“No one at Soundview High takes the death threat seriously.... until Lucy, the threatened student, disappears. Madison Archer is particularly shaken by the disappearance, because she drove Lucy home the night she disappeared and was the last to see her. Wracked with guilt, Madison makes it her mission to find out what really happened to Lucy.”
What’s the main character like?
Although there are multiple points of view in this book, popular high-school senior Madison is the character with the most page time. A bit of a diamond in the rough, she is kind to students that other people in her circle of friends are mean to. Her saintliness, which is very genuine, makes her likable, while her normal teenage sentiments (like having a crush) make her easy to relate to.
How scary is it?
While I wasn't frightened right away by this book, its disturbing nature crept up on me. Strasser’s style of writing is so smooth that the reading level seems like very young YA, so I assumed what was happening was going to be treated in a “young,” easier to digest way. But the more I read, the more I started thinking about how real the circumstances happening around Madison felt, and that scared me.
Who might like this book?
I got a bit of a Fear Street and Christopher Pike vibe. The realistic school setting and multiple points of view made the Pretty Little Liars series cross my mind. I also found myself making connections to There’s Someone Inside Your House, but Wish You Were Dead has less slasher gore.
What did I like best?
Strasser sets up the mystery so well that you are constantly engaged with trying to figure out what Madison is trying to figure out. I solved the mystery before Madison did, but the ending was still satisfying because I appreciated Strasser’s use of foreshadowing.
What was not so great?
There were a handful of references to pop culture (e.g., Juno) that at this point might be outdated for some readers. But honestly, how can you write a book set in a fairly traditional high school without a couple of pop culture references?