Title: She's So Dead to Us (Book 1)
Author: Kieran Scott
When having money is all that matters, what happens when you lose it all?Ally Ryan is back. That's what everyone is talking about. Why? Because she's coming back after two years. She's coming back after her dad bankrupted half of the town. Now everybody hates her. Secrets, lies, and diminished friendships haunt her every move. Insults become a normal thing for the once-popular, once-loved Ally Ryan. Will she get through it all? Will she even snag one of the most swoon-worthy guys? Or will she fall?
Perfect, picturesque Orchard Hill. It was the last thing Ally Ryan saw in the rear-view mirror as her mother drove them out of town and away from the shame of the scandal her father caused when his hedge fund went south and practically bankrupted all their friends -- friends that liked having trust funds and new cars, and that didn't like constant reminders that they had been swindled. So it was adios, Orchard Hill. Thanks for nothing.
Now, two years later, Ally's mother has landed a job back at the site of their downfall. So instead of Ally's new low-key, happy life, it'll be back into the snake pit with the likes of Shannen Moore and Hammond Ross.
But then there's Jake Graydon. Handsome, wealthy, bored Jake Graydon. He moved to town after Ally left and knows nothing of her scandal, but does know that he likes her. And she likes him. So off into the sunset they can go, right? Too bad Jake's friends have a problem with his new crush since it would make Ally happy. And if anyone deserves to be unhappy, it's Ally Ryan.
Ally was hoping to have left all the drama in the past, but some things just can't be forgotten. Isn't there more to life than money?
She's So Dead to Us is a pleasurable read with an intricately and elaborately woven web of lies, lust, and secrets. Friendship and family relationships are made more complicated with an enhanced high-society background with the über wealthy. The rich families' bad attitudes are evident based on how they treat Ally and her mom. Of course, their feelings can be empathized with, but even so, they still stoop very low and treat Ally's family harshly though her and her mom don't have anything to do with the scandal. Grudges are strong, but new bonds are formed.
Ally's powerful stance and character is very promising as she deals with insults, pranks, and judgments. She is an extremely strong protagonist, who, in the midst of everything, will make the best out of what she has. A big theme in this novel is acceptance; here, Ally accepts her financial status and comes to terms with what her father has done. Jake, on the other hand, eventually starts accepting her as well. Characters in She's So Dead to Us, such as Jake, are shallow at first, but progress into somewhat more understanding and more empathizing characters. His deeper perception of Ally is what brings them together, but his shallowness also comes in the way at times, making him look pig-headed and immature.
The characters surrounding Ally are not neglected and well-developed. Each has a unique personality and outlook on Ally's situation. Most of the characters' attitudes towards Ally is thoroughly established through their immense bullying and insulting; all of which are well-put and realistically portrayed by Scott. The divide between wealthy and the middle class is truly visible in She's So Dead to Us due to the treatment and the behavior of each group. Kieran Scott delivers this through undiluted discrimination between the two classes.
There is a large contrast here between shallowness and depth. Ally's narration is mature and full of depth while she lives in a typical, shallow background filled with the very rich. Stereotypes here are profoundly scrutinized at a more perceptive level, but the stereotypes themselves are shallow. Ally's relationship with her mom is one that is genuine and real amongst the façade of 'adept' relationships put up by her other friends.
She's So Dead to Us is surprisingly an in-depth book in the midst of shallow books similar to its premise. Scott's novel will stand out and will pull readers in with its riveting world of high-society life, secrets, drama, and a blooming romance. Readers will encounter scandals, deceit, and will truly find out how imperfect and complicated rich people's lives can be.
The Bottom Line: Fresh, fun, gritty, and utterly real.
My reaction/enjoyment: 10/10
Total Score: 92/100 (A)