Publisher: Bandit Publishing (August 20, 2012)
Format: Kindle edition
Plot: Sixteen year old Keatyn lives a charmed life in Hollywood. She’s the daughter of America’s sweetheart, the beautiful actress Abby Johnston and she is young, gorgeous, and rich in her own right. From the outside, Keatyn seemingly has it all. Only problem is the script that she wants her life to follow isn’t living up to the actuality: the intricacies of high school baffle her, the boy she wants to fall in love with her only sees her as a friend, a close male friend decides to spring his love on her, and her own boyfriend won’t touch her no matter how beautiful she is or how much she throws herself at him. To top it off, a stalker begins harassing her mom and eventually sets his sights on her, leaving increasingly aggressive letters in places that only a family member or close friend could get to.
After a failed kidnapping attempt on her 17th birthday, Keatyn and her family decide the only way she can have any semblance of a normal life is to assume a new identity and relocate to a private boarding school halfway across the country. Faced with a whole new group of teens and without the notoriety of her mom to fall back on, Keatyn must learn to navigate high school and relationships on her own. But leaving behind all the people she knew is harder than it looks and Keatyn struggles with fitting in, moving on, and finally picking the perfect boy for her.
Review: Holy hot boys, Batman!!! This book is what I like to think of as the mecca of gorgeous men. Keatyn’s journey from Hollywood debutante to boarding school student is fraught with a lot of trials but the biggest of those (in my eyes at least) is the boys. Girlfriend has so many vying for her attention she doesn’t know what to do. There’s Sander, Brooklyn, and Cush in her old life and Riley, Dallas, and the God of all Hotties, Aiden in her new one. Plus a sexy stalker who’s too gorgeous for his own good and all the other high school cuties circling in her orbit. I really wish I had had Keatyn as a friend at my high school so I could get some of her cast offs–they are all dreamy and crush worthy…except for maybe Brooklyn who annoyed me a LOT with his constant jerky attitude toward rich people even though he was one. But still as a whole, every single one of the men she encounters is swoon worthy and as Keatyn struggled to find herself and in turn, find the one that fit her best, I was right there with her every step of the way trying to help her choose.
Let’s be honest: a relationship is so personal that it’s hard to pinpoint where it went wrong or at what point the couple stopped clicking, but with Keatyn you actually get an opportunity to see her relationships evolve over time. This gives a lot of insight into the hows and whys of her decisions and what’s neat is that you can watch her mature and grow through her relationships with each boy. Sander’s lack of physical attraction helps her see that she truly is beautiful regardless of what a man says; Brooklyn’s inability to show his feelings even though he can say it forces her to realize that actions really do speak louder than words; Cush’s constant and steadfast love makes her question her own ideals and see that friends really do make the best lovers. It’s so much fun to see her grow as a character; her story is so true to real life in that we see all the vacillating she does between who is a true friend, what she wants out of her high school experience, and who she ultimately decides to love.
That’s not to say that hers is not a difficult or painful journey or one that doesn’t have any high stakes emotions involved–it certainly has a lot of that! The stalker is someone we kind of guess at early on but when we’re finally confronted with him, it’s definitely a shock. And the fact that Keatyn then has to uproot her entire life in order to avoid him and maintain a big distance between everyone she cares about, well, your heart just goes out to her. She is ultimately only a 16 turned 17 year old girl and the sort of adult issues she faces would be tough even for an adult. I applaud the way Jillian Dodd deals so sensitively with the stalking and also with other mature topics like sex and drug use. We see kids around Keatyn falling apart because of the rich and blase nature of their lifestyles but Keatyn is resolute and holds true to what she believes. While she may be a bit boy crazy, there’s none of the other addictions to compound that.
All in all, Stalk Me is a great start to what looks to be a promising series. There’s a lot of romance, fun and glamorous locations (think Paris, Malibu, and Spain), young socialites intent on climbing the social ladder no matter the cost, and a bit of intrigue to temper it all.
In the end I’m giving this a 9/10 for sheer fun and all the hot boys who smirked and posed at me left and right!
Based on the following criteria:
How much did I like the heroine: 9. Keatyn’s character was spot on! I felt like I was inside the mind of a 16 year old girl dealing with all the nuances both small and big that effect day to day life–the intrigue of high school and catty girlfriends, whether she should give up her virginity to a boy she’s not certain she loves, protecting her family from dangers imagined and real, and so much more. Watching Keatyn learn who she is and seeing her grow into a strong person was the best part of the book.
How much did I like the love interest: 10. OMG! There were 6 totally hot boys to choose from: Sander (the gay bf), Brooklyn (the surfer dude next door), Cush (her gorgeous best friend who evolves into something more), Dallas and Riley (new boys at her boarding school), and the hottie to end all hotties: Aiden (the player she doesn’t want to like but is inexplicably drawn to). I have to say that for all intents and purposes, Cush was my favorite of all the guys. He’s good looking, loves Keatyn with no reservations and would rather have her in his life as a friend even if she weren’t interested in him. He believes in her and gives her wants and needs top priority. That plus his hilarious one liners had me from the get go.
How believable is the plot: 9. Given the fact that all my knowledge of celebrities comes from gossip rags, I am going to go out on a limb here: this is totally what I imagine Hollywood teens are like! They have unlimited resources and no responsibilities (like most kids) and are most concerned about immediate things like hook ups, parties, and clothing. The subplot with the stalker and Keatyn’s Hollywood starlet mom seems 100% possible.
How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 8. I found Keatyn’s style of storytelling refreshing: it was like Jillian Dodd was channeling a 16 year old girl and her vocab, inflection, even the subject matter were spot on. The dialogue between the characters was great, perfectly pitched, and the editing was tricky but well done.
How much did I want to keep reading: 10. Who’s Keatyn going to pick among her loves? Will the stalker find her at boarding school? Will she ever be able to live a normal life? What is she going to do once high school is over and she has to face the real world? I want to know now! Wah!
Final Score: 9/10
****Disclaimer: I got this book for free from the author. I swear I didn’t bribe her in any way, or get paid for my review. And we might not be legit enough to need this disclaimer but after working at a law firm for many years it’s better safe than sorry!****