Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A review of Pretty, Pretty by K. C. Oliver

The only things missing from K. C. Oliver’s young adult mystery Pretty, Pretty is a Great Dane and his shaggy human friend. Everything else is already there. An isolated haunted hotel. A spooky specter prowling its corridors. Secret passages. Meddling kids.

Five years ago, I might have put the book down when I realized the progatonists were three teenagers but I wanted to see what kind of mystery literature young adults are reading.

Quinn and Holly are bff’s working at the Hawaiian hotel for six weeks (only six?) during the summer before Quinn starts college to study psychology. Holly wants to be a writer. Jax is on vacation with his parents.

Their first day at work, weird things being to happen. Personal items vanish. Mysterious messages appear on mirrors. The teenagers see a strange cloaked figure walking around the hotel. An odd mailman tells Quinn spooky tale about the place being haunted. The handsome Jax falls for the less-pretty Quinn.

Then Jax’s parents are unexpectedly summoned back home but they leave their son to enjoy the rest of his vacation. Leaving a teenager by himself in Hawaii? Either Jax is the most well-behaved teen in the world or his parents are the dumbest.

Unencumbered by parental units or a rigorous work schedule (Quinn and Holly are the only two employees at the hotel besides the elderly and creepy brother and sister owners), the trio set out to uncover the mystery of Barrington Hotel.

In her author notes, Oliver credits Nancy Drew mysteries as one source of inspiration for her work. It’s not difficult at all to imagine Carolyn Keene or Franklin Dixon lurking in the wings while Oliver wrote her story.

I suppose for teens, young adults or those who prefer cozy mysteries, Pretty, Pretty will be a perfect read. For those of us older and more jaded, we need to look elsewhere for excitement.

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