There is a certain type of book I like to read in the summer—frothy and light, and not too serious. I want books that are like summer blockbuster movies— full of action, and adventure, and shit blowing up. If I can’t have that then I want a little mystery and a dash of romance. Essentially, I want a complete escape from reality. These are the kind of books I drag to the beach, read in furious spurts during lunch, and generally indulge myself in when it is so hot that my brain feels like it might melt.
Jade Varden’s Justice is just that kind of book.
The first in the Deck of Lies series of YA novels, Justice is about Rain Ramey, a poor scholarship kid at an elite private school whose run in with the school’s Queen Bee on her first day ends with her arrest for shoplifting and the unwitting tip-off to the police about her real identity.
Apparently, she isn’t Rain Ramey.
She is Chloe von Shelton, a rich girl with a huge bedroom(s), a BMW Roadster, and her private school enemy as a sister. Kidnapped by the people she thought were her parents, Rain/Chloe is determined to unravel the secrets of her past (and kiss a lot of hot boys along the way).
Cue Suspense music.
Justice might sound convoluted and soap opera ish and highly improbable—and it is; the willingness to suspend disbelief, and the refusal to think too hard will aid in the happy reading of this book.
As expected, (or at least I expect it from most YA) the supporting characters are a smidge one-dimensional and cliché– Justice is full of mean girls, generically nice hot boys, and the requisite mysterious and sulking hot boy. As the main protagonist, Rain/Chloe could stand to be less of a goody-goody and passive. She gets talked into shoplifting bracelets, dates guys she seems ambivalent about, and takes most of what people tell her at face value. I kept waiting for her to figure out how to harness her inner Katniss Everdeen but she never does. Perhaps she gets a little more badass in book two?
Justice is well written. The writing is crisp and clear and the novel keeps a brisk pace that serves the mystery plot well and makes for a fast read.
Frequently, clues, revelations, or important conversations are followed up by comments like, “If only I knew then what I know now,” or “Later I would find out that [insert character name] wasn’t telling me the whole truth.” It was like reading neon flashing letters that read “CLUE ALERT” or “MISINFORMATION”. I think a little more credit needs to be given to the reader to parse various clues and conversations. Trying to unravel a mystery before the main character is half the fun of reading a mystery. Justice takes away that suspense and tension unnecessarily.
Justice: Deck of Lies #1 by Jade Varden
Genre: YA Mystery/Romance
Publication Date: December 25, 2011 (other books in the series are now available)
Author’s Website: http://jadevarden.blogspot.com/