Book Review

Most Likely to Die – Book Review

Most Likely to Die, a recently released book by PJ Stanley, is a classic slasher film in book form. Inspired by the 90s style of horror films, this book opens with death and maintains it to the bloody end. Brynn Baldwin is the most popular girl in school, and the most hated. She is cruel to those around her. Yet, they continue to be her friends. That is, until an unknown killer kills those around her. She cannot convince people she is the center of it. Even when the school’s yearbooks feature her photo with her eyes crossed out and her senior superlative now reads, “Most Likely to Die.”

When I started this book, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Though I do not follow all horror films, I am a fan of the genre. There are aspects of this book that appear to be an homage to popular horror franchises. One of the fun things in reading this book, was even though you knew the person was going to die, it was a question of how the killer was going to do it, and at what point the victim knew their time was up.

The book opens with a cheerleader, Haley Hitchcock, who does not like Brynn. Brynn made her stay late to work on her performance, mainly for the sake of being mean. This unfortunately leads to her demise. This scene sets up the style and kills for the remainder of the book.

Come chapter 2, another victim is killed and at that point, I began to wonder if we were going to lose someone each chapter. But then the author gave us a small break to breathe and catch up. As the story progresses it becomes apparent that the killer isn’t randomly picking people. There is a plan to how they are chosen, and how they will be executed.

Stanley did a good job of throwing us red-herring killers. Throughout the book, my opinion of who the killer was kept changing. One in particular I was almost positive was the killer, until they died horribly. No, you don’t get to know who that was.

In the beginning, it is very easy to start rooting for the killer. Brynn is unlikeable. She is cruel for the sake of being cruel, and as her story unfolds, we learn about her past and her prior best friend that lives next door, Gabe. Who now, after years of ignoring him and being mean to his friends, she turns to him for help. Because he is still in love with her, he does. As he tells his friends, he knew her when she was kind and believes her to still be that way underneath.

When the reader does finally discover who the killer is, it was definitely a surprise. I had not thought it was possible to be that person. For a moment, it disappointed me, as I felt that was an odd choice for the horror film twist. But fortunately, I was wrong, as the twist still had not happened.

If you are a fan of horror stories and slasher films, I would highly recommend this book. You will be constantly trying to guess the killer, while at the same time cheering him on as he takes out some, not so nice people.

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