Synopsis of #Prettyboy Must Die
When Peter Smith’s classmate snaps a picture of him during a late night run at the track, Peter thinks he might be in trouble. When she posts that photo–along with the caption, “See the Pretty Boy Run,”–Peter knows he’s in trouble. But when hostiles drop through the ceiling of his 6th period Chem Class, Peter’s pretty sure his trouble just became a national emergency.
Because he’s not really Peter Smith. He’s Jake Morrow, former foster-kid turned CIA operative. After a massive screw-up on his first mission, he’s on a pity assignment, a dozen hit lists and now, social media, apparently. As #Prettyboy, of all freaking things.
His cover’s blown, his school’s under siege, and if he screws up now, #Prettyboy will become #Deadboy faster than you can say, ‘fifteen minutes of fame.’ Trapped in a high school with rabid killers and rabid fans, he’ll need all his training and then some to save his job, his school and, oh yeah, his life.
Ableist words thrown around (crazy, psycho); School lockdown; Gun violence; Physical fighting/violence; Jokes about how much a minor character eats
#Prettyboy Must Die was the first pick I pulled out of my TBR Jar, which is a new (for me) thing that I’m doing over on Instagram. That’s probably the only reason why this title got bumped up so far on my tbr. The more I read reviews of this, the more I wanted to take it off my To Be Read list, and unfortunately, I wasn’t wrong to think that.
So, maybe I went into this story kind of skeptical about its quality, but I was aware of that! I gave it a real chance and read the whole thing despite wanting to DNF it. Truthfully, I can’t say it’s a horrible book—it’s not! It just wasn’t for me.
I felt like the plot was cheesy in the way the Middle-Grade novels usually are. That normally would be fine! I like Middle-Grade books! But this is supposed to be a Young Adult novel, and it just doesn’t work like one. All of the characters are just too suspicious in clichéd ways. For example, the main character and everyone else whom we find out is working undercover talks with big fancy words that make people question them. Wouldn’t government-trained agents know how to blend in? They’re people, too. I found a lot of the dialog between teachers and students to be unrealistic. It’s the typical, “I am your teacher and this is how someone who has not been in formal education in years thinks that teachers talk,” meaning that it’s very stiff and pretentious, because all teachers hate kids and hate their jobs, right?
It does feel like a lot of thought went into the plot, though. There are quite a few layers to it, between Peter’s mission in Ukraine to his backstory before that; the whole reason he goes to Carlise to his relationships with everything there; his history as a hacker to the social outbreak.
Still, Peter isn’t very likable and he’s actually rather problematic. He spends the first couple chapters making fun of his only kind-of-friend Bunker’s body and the fact that he’s constantly eating. Making fun of someone’s eating habits is not funny. Binge eating disorder is a thing. Not to mention he underestimates every girl he comes across. Constantly. And he gets himself in trouble which serves him right. At the end none of this changes, either? So what’s the point? There’s most character growth in the people around him. Why make him the main character if he’s the static one?
Final thought: I’m giving #Prettyboy Must Die two stars because even though I really did not like it, I think others could enjoy it. It’s a fun story, but the juvenile plot and unbelievable details aren’t something I expected from a YA novel and took me out of the story too many times. Others could definitely enjoy this if they don’t go into it expecting to take the book too seriously.