Book Tour: Pretty Dead Queens by Alexa Donne


Pretty Dead Queens

by Alexa Donne

eARC, 266 pages

Expected publication: October 4th 2022 by Crown

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Seaview High’s homecoming queen is dead . . . and she’s not the first. From the critically acclaimed author of The Ivies comes a nonstop thriller about a decades-old mystery, a copycat killing, and the teen who won’t stop until she discovers the truth.

After the death of her mom (screw cancer), seventeen-year-old Cecelia Ellis goes to live with her estranged grandmother, a celebrated author whose Victorian mansion is as creepy as the murder mysteries she writes. On the surface, life is utterly ordinary in the California coastal town . . . until the homecoming queen is murdered. And she’s not Seaview’s first pretty dead queen.

With a copycat killer on the loose, Cecelia throws herself into the investigation, determined to crack the case like the heroines in her grandmother’s books. But the more Cecelia digs into the town’s secrets, the more she worries that her own mystery might not have a storybook ending.

Buy on: Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Book Depository // Indigo // IndieBound

I received an eARC of this book through Netgalley as part of TBR and Beyond Tours, in exchange for an honest review.

TW: Cancer, death of parent(s), drowning, hanging, murder, blood

Cecelia was reeling from the death of her mother from cancer and had to move back with her estranged grandmother until she turned 18. The problem is, her grandmother isn’t just your ordinary old lady but the illustrious Maura Weston, a famed crime-thriller writer and pride of the small town of Seaview. Not knowing much about her grandmother, Cecelia busied herself with getting her life back together in Seaview High but when the homecoming queen (and Cecelia’s friend) got murdered in a crime that eerily similar to her grandmother’s debut book and a real-crime happening 50 years ago, Cecelia couldn’t do nothing and decides to investigate on her own.

I didn’t expect this book to be so much fun to read! From the moment Cecelia stepped foot into Seaview, we got the sense of eeriness with the whole old vs new mansions they have, the crumbling cliffs, and of course, the tight knit group of friends even in the parents circle. Plus there’s a historically famous murder there 👀 You know how the trope goes: the more close-knit the community is, the more they have to hide. Of course Cecelia is not aware of this, focusing instead on integrating herself to the social life at Seaview High. I would admit that while I enjoyed getting to know the clique, we spent a bit too long here. I guess it makes sense in establishing the friends dynamics and got us chasing our tails in some parts of the story, but the whole time I was waiting for something to happened.

The murder and the mystery were done really well; not only Cecelia is trying to solve the current murder, we’re also doubting the conclusion of the original murder that happened 50 years ago. It was really fun investigating with Cecelia; she’s a really brave, inquisitive, and all around great characters to follow. She didn’t make assumptions or illogical conclusions based on hunch and instead, spent more time listening and gathering information. Which I really like, especially considering that she’s aware that she’s new to the community and need to learn more on each individuals. Unfortunately the other characters are not as well developed and there’s some “will they won’t they” almost love triangle vibe with certain characters that felt out of place in the plot.

Overall, Pretty Dead Queens is a solid YA mystery thriller with great characters and fun twist and turns! I wish it was a bit longer on the investigation and digging into the town secrets, but in general, I really recommend this one if you’re looking for some Nancy Drew x Agatha Christie to read!

About the Author

Alexa Donne is the author of sci-fi romance retellings Brightly Burning and The Stars We Steal, as well as the young adult thrillers The Ivies and the forthcoming Pretty Dead Queens, both published by Crown/Random House. A graduate of Boston University, she works in TV marketing and has done pro bono college admissions mentoring since 2014. A true INFJ, in her “free” time she mentors with WriteGirl, runs the Author Mentor Match program, and manages one of the most popular writing advice channels on YouTube. She lives in Los Angeles and you can find her in most places @alexadonne.

Website // Twitter // Instagram // Goodreads // Youtube // TikTok


3 thoughts on “Book Tour: Pretty Dead Queens by Alexa Donne

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