Deadly Little Secret (Touch #1)
Laurie Faria Stolarz
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Horror, Young Adult
Until three months ago, everything about sixteen-year-old Camelia's life had been fairly ordinary: decent grades; an okay relationship with her parents; and a pretty cool
part-timejob at an art studio downtown. But when Ben, the mysterious new guy, starts junior year at her high school, Camelia's life becomes far from ordinary.
Rumored to be somehow responsible for his ex-girlfriend's accidental death, Ben is immediately ostracized by everyone on campus. Except for Camelia. She's reluctant to believe he's trouble, even when her friends try to convince her otherwise. Instead she's inexplicably drawn to Ben...and to his touch. But soon, Camelia is receiving eerie phone calls and strange packages with threatening notes. Ben insists she is in danger, and that he can help – but can he be trusted? She knows he's hiding something...but he's not the only one with a secret.
Stalker story! Deadly Little Secret is a Contemporary Horror YA Book with a touch of Paranormal to shake things up a bit. It's also a bit of mystery that comes with the whodunit of a stalker story. What I really like about Deadly Little Secret is how we get to see into the stalker's mind at the same every few chapters, thus amping up the fear and the confusion about which boy in Camelia's life is the one stalking her.
I also like how Stolarz gets rid of the parents without actually getting rid of the parents. Often in books like this where the teen has to deal with some major problem on their own to really give us the "helpless" feeling, either a parental is dead or they don't trust their child. In this case all it is is that her mother is dealing with stress caused by her aunt, and it makes me wonder if maybe this aunt is going to be an important plot point in the future (since I see a lot of books in this series so it would not surprise me if this is all foreshadowing). And if it is foreshadowing I think this is an excellent way of intertwining techniques used in YA books.
Character wise, I really enjoyed the characters and thought they were well done. There was a wide variety of character types that looked like they might be a bit more than they seem at first. I felt Kimmie was a very good foil to Camelia and I liked how all the boys were different, but they all would do at least one thing that would make you suspicious about whether or not it was him stalking Camelia.
Ben plays an excellent hot/cold game, and if it wasn't for the fact there are future books where the supernatural becomes more prominent it seems, I'd say that his ability is purely an excuse to let him do that realistically, as the book could have done without his abilities and still been pretty solid as a story.
I was actually surprised it was Matt. Well part of me of course suspected as he was the ex with the attachment, but at the same time I was super suspicious of her boss, though I blame Kimmie for that since she kept going on that he liked Camelia.
This is an enjoyable story as a standalone, but it sounds like Camelia starts developing "Touch" abilities herself so at the same time this is a great book as an introduction to the major players in the series. I recommend this book to people who like YA Contemporary as it definitely has that feel to the prose.