Author: Sean Beaudoin
Published: Little Brown, Books for Younger Readers, 2011
First Line: "Dalton Rev thundered into the parking lot of Salt River High, a squat brick building at the top of a grassless hill that looked more like the last stop of the hopeless than a spring board to the college of your choice."
Summary: You Killed Wesley Payne is a truly original and darkly hilarious update of classic pulp-noir, in which hard-boiled seventeen year-old Dalton Rev transfers to the mean hallways of Salt River High to take on the toughest case of his life. The question isn't whether Dalton's going to get paid. He always gets paid. Or whether he's gonna get the girl. He always (sometimes) gets the girl. The real question is whether Dalton Rev can outwit crooked cops and killer cliques in time to solve the mystery of "The Body" before it solves him. (Taken from Goodreads)
Review: You Killed Wesley Payne is different, to say the least. It’s different in that you don’t know what to expect or where the story was going to take you. I have to say that You Killed Wesley Payne is written in a unique style that is not going to be to everyone’s tastes.
I liked You Killed Wesley Payne at the start because it had this unique voice and I was hoping to get more into the story of Dalton and who he was as well as finding out who killed Wesley Payne. There were parts where the author would deliberately leave out information and then turn around and just casually add it in later to give the reader a surprise. I liked this at the start but by the end I was just like, oh another revelation, whenever one showed up.
The mystery element was there and it was really interesting but usually when I’m reading a mystery I like there to be some little clues to spot as I’m reading but this one didn’t have that. Instead, it just went through the motions and then all of a sudden you were hit with the conclusion.
I did not like the school that Dalton went to, Salt River High. It was just odd. The behaviour of the students was atrocious, for example they just beat people up in class and that seemed to be fine. Nobody tried to stop it or anything. Then there were all the cliques and how they ran. It just didn’t seem like a plausible way to have a school but it had to be that way for the book to work.
I really liked the style of Sean Beaudoin’s writing and I thought that You Killed Wesley Payne had a lot of potential to be a really great novel. The descriptive writing was just different and incredibly refreshing from other books.
Unfortunately, about halfway through I started to get bored because I felt the book was going in circles and I just wanted to get to the end to find out who killed Wesley Payne. The ending was unexpected and a surprise. I’m of two minds about it really, on the one hand I definitely did not expect it, on the other I wonder what the point of the book was meant to be.
I thought that You Killed Wesley Payne was ok. There were parts I liked and parts that I didn’t. I just felt like there was something missing in You Killed Wesley Payne to make it a more lovable read. You Killed Wesley Payne just wasn’t the book for me but if you like noir mysteries with a little bit of something different thrown in, then definitely give You Killed Wesley Payne a try.
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