3 star, YA

Review: You’re So Dead by Ash Parsons

A hilarious Agatha Christie-inspired YA thriller-comedy about three best friends who sneak into an influencers-only festival event (gone wrong), only to discover a killer is in their midst–and they have to uncover the truth and solve the mystery before it’s too late. Perfect for fans of One of Us Is Lying and Truly Devious .

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 Antonia 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 glamor 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.



Let’s set the night on fire!

When you didn’t think there was such a book that existed like this, You’re So Dead produced a satirical, suspenseful story that seems like it could really be a thing in this day and age of social media obsession.

Plum Winter, our dear protagonist, has always felt like second-tier, especially with a famous influencer older sister who left her behind for fame and status. When a invitation letter for her sister comes for a prestigious, influencer-only festival on a paradise island, Plum is all for taking her sister’s place (along with a few of her closest friends).

A parody of the infamous Fyre Festival, little do Plum and her friends know, they’re stepping not into a wild 3-day music festival but…a sinister plan that will lead to casualties.

I loved the premise of this. It was strange yet very believable. Why wouldn’t some deranged person/persons go to the ultimate length to deceive some potential targets to come to this isolated island for fun, masking their evil motives? I most definitely enjoyed seeing how the group of semi-influencers that ended up on the island slowly understand that this was never about music and rubbing elbows with more influential people. It was a lure to bring them to their deaths.

For no one is meant to survive Pyre Festival. (Yes, Pyre Festival is the name…)

The suspenseful aspect definitely built up well. You knew someone was going to die. Sometimes you knew it was going to occur within a certain time window (thank you, chapter titles). Yet I didn’t know who, when or how it was going down and that left me on my toes! It’s part of my favourite element in thrillers. The wait. The drop of the shoe. Turning around and seeing a friendly face that…isn’t actually your friend.

That’s right, folks. Because at Pyre Festival, there are a number of victims who want to escape the island.

But there is a killer among them.

*dun dun dun dun*

Okay, that was me trying to insert scary music. Now, the things I didn’t enjoy as much was the lack of enthusiasm I had for Plum and her 2 best friends who were dragged into this misadventure with her. They were nice girls who were never meant to be a part of this murderous mayhem. Plum, in particular, always felt so guilty for putting them all in this place. But she was so focused and obsessed on being seen, on being special, that is as the whole reason why she stole the invite from her sister in the first place. I understand, believe me, but there was just so much guilt in that girl.

Oh, and she happened to be in love with her best friend. Who may die on this island with her. The romance bits felt a little out of place (you know, amidst all the trying-not-to-die parts), but it was a nice bit of LGBTQ representation there so I can’t fault it.

To be honest, a lot of the people stuck on the island were not very enjoyable. I suppose that’s what made it entertaining. Who would want to target all these people in particular? Was it just one of them that set a killer off, or did they all have an enemy in common? So yes, they were an interesting bunch but not always great people to be around. I only liked poor, naive streamer Jude. But mostly because he reminded me of a lost puppy dog trying not to get kicked.

All this to say is, if you’re looking for some satirical, island-trapped murder plot, then look no further. You’re So Dead is the book for you!

Overall Recommendation:

You’re So Dead is a great combination of comical satire, suspense and thriller as we follow a group of semi-influencers trapped on an island under the premise of an epic music festival that would elevate their popularity. With a killer among them hunting one target at a time, no one knows who or when another one of them might fall victim to whoever meticulously planned such an elaborate farce. While this means the characters may not be the most likeable (they’ve all done something that makes them a little mean), they’re realistic and you can’t help but hope the ones you like don’t turn out to be the devil in disguise. A quick and suspenseful read, it’s definitely an interesting book to pick up if you don’t know what you’re feeling at the moment for your next read.

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