Saturday, July 20, 2013

Book Review: Truly, Madly, Deadly by Hannah Jayne

Title: Truly, Madly, Deadly
Author: Hannah Jayne
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publishing Date: July 2nd 2013
Length: 272 pages
Keywords: YA, fiction, thriller, murder, stalking, romance
Source: Netgalley

Sawyer Dodd has it all. She's a star track athlete, choir soloist, and A-student. And her boyfriend is the handsome all-star Kevin Anderson. But behind the medals, prom pictures, and perfect smiles, Sawyer finds herself trapped in a controlling, abusive relationship with Kevin. When he dies in a drunk-driving accident, Sawyer is secretly relieved. She's free. Until she opens her locker and finds a mysterious letter signed by "an admirer" and printed with two simple words: "You're welcome."

Summary by Goodreads  

"You're welcome". Simple words of complaisant nature. But what if they were to be connected to a car accident that killed a student? Sawyer Dodd was the girlfriend of said student and she is the one who receives a note with exactly those words on it. That's what got me promptly hooked on the story of TRULY, MADLY, DEADLY. Seemingly friendly intentions and gestures lead to misjudgements and even murder. It's pretty creepy and instant-goosebumps inducing that the lines between right, wrong, imagination and reality can blur and be manipulated to such fatal extents.
After the first, the killer keeps sending notes, and every time Sawyer found a new one chills ran down my spine. Some even  made me laugh, they were just so plain impudent.

TRULY, MADLY, DEADLY is set in a small town. Don't you think they are the best for a good killing spree to be set? 
Stories like Sawyer's always make me feel like space in town is narrowing down with every scary incident. Even Sawyer's own home doesn't feel safe anymore. It's the never-knowing, always wondering what or who's lurking in the shadows that drives up your adrenaline and demands a certain level of fright and alertness.
Unlike other killers this one only means to be helpful and do good. The person is fixed on eliminating people who could mean harm to Sawyer. This killer scared me very much, because he's killing out of love which is one of the strongest pulls to commit a crime. He is obsessive and uncontrollable in his stalker behavior and it's no wonder that you suspect everyone who's seen around Sawyer at some point in the story.

After Kevin's accident everyone expects Sawyer to mourn the death of her perfect relationship and her popular and caring boyfriend. She's doing her best to pretend, to look hurt on the outside. Secretly she's relieved she's found a way out of their relationship. What started as something innocent and good had long turned into something unhealthy for Sawyer who more often posed as Kevin's punching bag. Knowing that background info Sawyer's story certainly gains a new stage of graveness. But for my taste there wasn't enough emphasis on Kevin's abusive behavior and I would have wanted to know more about Sawyer's past. 

All the elements for a well-written thriller YA are there (and that's what mainly counts), it are just the sometimes missing depth of detail and lacking focus on romantic aspects that could have been improved. Even when I pick up a YA book knowing it's a thriller I can't resist to expect a great love story hidden between all the action, so I would have been perfectly content with a few more detailed scenes about Sawyer's new romance.

1) of an always-being-watched feeling à la Pretty Little Liars
2) of a pretty disturbing admirer and his humorous notes
3) of a great adrenaline rush
4) of a hero with perfect timing
5) its fast paced writing enables you to fly through the story

4/5 **** TRULY, MADLY, DEADLY - Admirer turned stalker turned killer. An intense and menacingly good YA thriller debut!

When I saw TRULY, MADLY, DEADLY on Netgalley I somehow assumed it was Hannah Jayne's debut novel until I discovered that she had written another series which is urban fantasy. Her writing shows that she isn't new to the business. And even though I always preferred thrillers with mystery or fantastical elements strewn into the story, TRULY, MADLY, DEADLY is in no way inferior to them.
There will be two more YA trhillers set in Sawyer's neighborhood and I'll make sure to put both on top of my wishlist.

* Can't get enough? Then you should put SEE JANE RUN (coming out Jan 2014) on your wishlist!

* Click here to read an excerpt of TRULY MADLY DEADLY.

* For further information about Hannah Jayne and her books visit

* Thanks to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire for the chance to review TRULY MADLY DEADLY!


  1. I always enjoy small town/dark secrets kind of stories. I somehow missed this one on Netgalley, so must pick up a copy soon.

  2. I really liked this one even though I had some problems with is.. Esspeically since she didn't tell anyone and not even her best friend (.... well, yes I understood later.. ) but this made me a little mad. Also the reaction from the police... saying it's all a prank ... Still!! it was a great book after all:))

  3. Great review! I love murder mysteries like this. <3