I love And Then There Were None. And Knives Out. And Clue. Basically, anything with a large group of people that could all possibly be murderers. So when I heard that there was a book coming out that featured the same idea but with a twist on influencer culture, I was beyond excited!
A huge thank you to the lovely people at Penguin for an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Plum Winter has always come in second to her sister, the unbelievably cool, famous influencer Peach Winter. And when Peach is invited to an all-expenses paid trip to a luxurious art and music festival for influencers on a private island in the Caribbean, Plum decides it’s finally her time to shine. So she intercepts the invite–and asks her two best friends Sofia and Marlowe to come along to the fest with her. It’ll be a spring break they’ll never forget.
But when Plum and her friends get to the island, it’s not anything like it seemed in the invite. The island is run-down, creepy, and there doesn’t even seem to be a festival–it’s just seven other quasi-celebrities and influencers, and none of the glitz and glamour she expected. Then people start to die…
Plum and her friends soon realize that someone has lured each of them to the “festival” to kill them. Someone has a vendetta against every person on the island–and no one is supposed to leave the island alive. So, together, Plum, Antonia, and Marlowe will do whatever it takes to unravel the mystery of the killer, and fight to save themselves and as many influencers as they can, before it’s too late.
We live in an age saturated by entertainment, served up on dozens of silver platters, ready for us to consume until we can take no more. You’re So Dead handles the delicate topic of the dangers, the appeal, the gilded allure of influencer culture with ease. We have an eccentric, diverse cast of characters that have each achieved fame for various reasons: beauty, comedy, video games, true crime podcasts…you name it. Everyone that is, except for our main character Plum and her two friends Sofia and Marlowe. Plum’s older sister Peach Winter* is a big Instagram influencer, so Plum, feeling a little left out, steals her fancy invitation to a luxurious island music festival.
let’s talk about the mystery, shall we?
Someone is murdered. Yup. Mind blown. But really, I enjoyed my time with this mystery! It took me a while to guess who the killer was, and then it was only because I’m a bit of a true crime addict. Agatha Christie’s novels have an extraordinarily distinct format, and You’re So Dead followed it well. It truly does encapsulate the And Then There Were None* vibe so well. With that being said, it wasn’t always an…elegant vibe. Yes, I did in fact put those two words together.
*when renaming this book who the latte thought it would be a good idea to start it with a freaking conjunction. yes, i would like to lodge a complaint.
One of the aspects I most appreciated about the characters is that while they occasionally made dumb decisions (see gif above), most of their decisions were pretty clever and made a lot of sense. That was what made this story hit so hard: even when Plum and her friends did what everyone agreed was the most sensible, the killer still found ways to circumvent them. Sometimes, you don’t realize how important to a story good characters are until they stop splitting up and stomping off into dark woods on their own.
With that being said, Plum was kind of a boring character. Her friends were relatively boring as well. But it works, simply because it leaves the reader wondering one of the most important questions when it comes to a good thriller read: what lies beneath the surface? I also really appreciated the commentary on the Internet, Instagram, and how detrimental the world of influencer culture can actually be. It can be so easy to fall into the area of morally grey actions when it comes to the double-edged knife of internet fame. Parsons may have taken it a bit to the extreme with the whole “murder island” idea but that doesn’t stop the whole scenario from having a ring of truth to it. In fact, it made me sit back and dwell on just exactly how I’m using my platform when it comes to affecting other people.
Although You’re So Dead touched on some extremely relevant themes, it wasn’t always serious. I was addicted, like any good mystery, and determined to find out what would happen next. It really does remind me of those mysteries you read at the beach: hard to put down, easy to forget. Which was actually perfect for me, since I didn’t want a heavy-hitting thriller I had to devote a ton of time and energy to when it was finals time!
That’s about where I want to leave my review because it’s almost always better to go in blind! Overall, I’d give this one a 3.5/5 stars, which sounds bad but really isn’t when it comes to this genre for me personally. If you want something deep, and psychologically tantalizing, maybe reconsider reading this one as a mood read. On the other hand, if you’re looking for your next beach read, this is it! Let’s discuss below!