Challenge 20 ~ “A book with a first name in the title.”
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
It’s a shame to have to rate this book so low, but You Killed Wesley Payne just didn’t meet the bar. From the blurb and throughout the novel it was clear that the story had so much potential, but Beuadoin’s presentation of the plot really betrayed the opportunity. I’m almost certain that the same storyline written differently would have made for a five star read. Having not read any of his other works, I can’t say if this is just Beuadoin’s style (but I assume not from him being an author of several highly rate books!) In this instance, however, it was distracting, unengaging and failed to draw the reader in.
From early on, it became evident to me that the novel was approached from the wrong angle, although no amount of consideration could develop a better alternative. Dev’s perspective offered the typical detective’s insight into the mystery, yet at the same time was difficult to engage with and key background points were left inadequately explored. Casseopia, for example, has clearly had prior relations with Dev, but these were only briefly alluded to in short incohesive snippets. The main plotline was similarly disjointed, with so many cliques, characters and separate backstories that it was hard to keep tabs on all of them, even if you referred to the appendices several times per page.
Beuadoin’s use of language wasn’t particularly supportive in engaging the reader, either. Rather than sounding like a teenage boy, the slang and informal language was over-used, creating chapters that felt immature and were hard to become immersed in. Furthermore, in trying to be mysterious and hide elements within the storyline, Beaudoin fails to achieve a stable balance, instead being too cryptic and not revealing enough, in that the reader fails to understand or connect with even the protagonist.
I was looking forward to an action-packed and humorous high school mystery with a difference when I picked up You Killed Wesley Payne, but the literary style and poor writing instead created a novel that missed all the opportunities of the plot and was difficult to engage with. In another world, I’m sure this could be the most incredible read, but in this universe it’s just a few sandwiches short of a picnic…