People think of Mother Nature as a gentle lady. They forget that she’s also Death…Sixteen-year-old Poppy Sinclair believes in quantum particles, not tarot cards, in Dawkins, not druids. Last summer, in a boating accident in the Lake District, Poppy had a brush with death. But the girl she finds face down in Scariswater hasn’t been so lucky. As she fights to discover the truth behind what she believes is murder, Poppy is forced to concede that people and things are not always what they seem and, slipping ever deeper into a web of lies, jealousy and heart-stopping danger, she comes to realise – too late – that the one thing that can save her has been right there, all the time.
Poppy Sinclair, although brought up in a pagan household, does not believe in it. She prefers logic and reason and thinks that science is the true dogma. She even named her dog after an atheist. But not wanting to attend the birthday party of Julia, her best friend Michael’s girlfriend, because she’s in love with her best friend and she hates Julia, she joins her mom Meg and Jonathan to their handfasting/wedding ceremony in the John Barleycorn Festival. However, when Poppy finds Beth, a girl she talked to the previous night, dead in the lake, her life gets turned upside down. Everyone rules it as an accident but Poppy is sure she was murdered. Seeking justice for Beth, she then tries to get to the bottom of Beth’s death, going all in to this mystery, which puts her in danger.
First, Sharon Jones has crafted such a creepy and atmospheric setting for Dead Jealous. That prologue? It honest to goodness gave me goosebumps. I know nothing about Wiccan beliefs but Dead Jealous did not intimidate me. In fact, I now know a lot more than before I read it. It presented their customs in a matter of fact way, without swaying you to believe in it and without disregarding it as false also. Moreover, the contrast of a non-believer in Poppy to the whole pagan festival was such a good ploy.
Dead Jealous is a quick read. Not only because it’s short but because Sharon proved to be a master of pacing. You wouldn’t be able to put this down as you will flip page after page until you’re clamoring for more of Poppy. The mystery was the heart of the story but Sharon Jones have successfully made Dead Jealous equal parts plot-driven and character-driven. While Poppy’s investigation for what she believes is murder is the one moving the story, we also see how Poppy learns and grows along the way. What I love about Poppy is her spirit and passion, to see things through and to unravel the truth. Maybe it’s the atheist or the scientist or the critical thinker in her, but she won’t stop until she knows what really happened to Beth. It doesn’t help that she’s haunted by Beth or Maya or both and she doesn’t even know what’s happening. She dreams about them and it’s as if they talk to her.
Not only was the crime mystery engaging, Sharon has made the readers as invested in Poppy’s “love life” too. She’s in love with her best friend Michael but Michael already has a girlfriend. She meets a cute, older guy in Tariq during the festival and decides to at least try to move on and have fun. She’s really attracted to Tariq but she still loves Michael. Uh-oh. Theirs wasn’t necessarily a love triangle because hey, can’t a girl just meet a cool, older stranger (just by only four years, which is kinda perfect) in a festival? I fancy love lines with an older guy and Tariq is so sweet and lovable too but I’m ultimately a sucker for bestfriends-turned-more stories. So I was really torn on who I want for Poppy at first. But in the end, #TeamMichael!
All the characters were written well and that you can’t keep but guessing who’s the murderer and then Sharon keeps on proving that you’re wrong! He’s not the murderer! I especially like how cool the adults are in here but I guess that’s a given because they’re hippies. Beth, Maya and Kane were enigmatic and really mysterious. And really creepy as well. Plus that cover, really apt and fitting and totally sets the mood for the whole novel. And that ending, perfect. More contemporary YA crime mysteries please!
Dead Jealous is a creepier and modern Nancy Drew with a more dimensional Nancy in Poppy and Ned in Michael. I highly recommend it to mystery and crime buffs like me and to everyone who has read and loved Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys while growing up. The Poppy Sinclair Thrillers are today’s Nancy Drew Mysteries!