Dead Romantic by C.J. Skuse
Paperback, 328 pages
Expected Publication: 4th February 2013 by Chicken House
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Camille wants to find the perfect boy, with an athlete's body and a poet's brain. But when she's mocked at a college party, she kows there isn't a boy alive who'll ever measure up. Enter Zoe, her brilliant but strange best friend, who takes biology homework to a whole new level. She can create Camille's dream boy, Frankenstein-stylee. But can she make him love her?
There seems to be a lot of hype around Dead Romantic and there is undoubtedly a lot of praise given to author CJ Skuse. On receiving this book for review, I knew I had to pick it up soon and give it a try. CJ Skuse is a very different, fun writer and it's easy to see why she has so many fans.
Dead Romantic is a book that will appeal to almost any young adult. Camille, our main character, wants a boyfriend and when she becomes friends with Zoe, the strange goth girl from school, Zoe promises to use science in order to create Camille's perfect boyfriend. Instantly, the the premise intrigued me - how were the girls going to make this boy? Would everything go to plan? Apart from the classic Frankenstein (which I really enjoyed), I hadn't read anything like this before, but it was definitely something I'd like to read about again!
When you're creating a Frankenstein-like person, there has to be some sort of supernatural element to the book, and there is, but thankfully it isn't completely dominating - for those who aren't that keen or bothered about fantasy, I would imagine that this would still be enjoyable. There is a really good balance throughout this book. I personally really enjoyed the creepier scenes (yes, I'm a bit morbid), they certainly grabbed my attention and made the book into a real page turner.
Whilst the book does center around the formation of the new boy, there is also a lot of focus on Camille's relationships with different characters in the book. My favourite character had to be Zoe - she was strange in the best possible way, she really interested me and despite her somewhat moody persona, she is definitely the kind of person I'd want to be friends with. I loved learning about her family and for me, this was the highlight of the book. Despite the building of her 'dream boyfriend', Camille does have another love interest in this book and it's nice to read about. I will admit that I wasn't taken by most of the boys in this book (especially Damien!) but like Camille, I did grow to like Louis in particular.
There was only one thing that slightly irritated me in this book and it was the ending - I felt that for a standalone book, it was left too widely open. After all of the suspense building up around the Frankenstein-style guy, I wanted to know more about him - what happened to him, where did he go, what was he like? I understand that in the long run, it wasn't really necessary to know these things as most of the issues in the book resolved themselves before the boy was brought to life, but I would still have liked to learn more about what became of him. Saying that, maybe that is just me being greedy and wanting to read more of Skuse's work!
The writing in Dead Romantic was certainly unique. Skuse definitely uses language to connect with a younger audience and it really works. There are countless books that are let down by their 'teen speak', but Skuse has got it right - it felt as though she was talking to me as a friend and it felt completely natural. I did really enjoy the writing style and it will certainly encourage me to pick up more books by this author.
Overall, a very enjoyable read, but a slightly unsatisfying ending. I can't wait to see what Skuse writes next as I will undoubtedly pick it up. Highly recommended for any teenagers or young adults who want to read something well balanced with a touch of of the supernatural.