Saturday, April 25, 2015

[Early Review] Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham

Title: Scarlett Undercover
Author: Jennifer Latham 
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Series: N/A

Hardcover, 320 pages
Publication: May 19, 2015 by Little Brown BFYR

Source: Won through the NOVL newsletter giveaway.


Meet Scarlett, a smart, sarcastic fifteen-year-old, ready to take on crime in her hometown. When Scarlett agrees to investigate a local boy's suicide, she figures she's in for an easy case and a quick buck. But it doesn't take long for suicide to start looking a lot like murder.

As Scarlett finds herself deep in a world of cults, curses, and the seemingly supernatural, she discovers that her own family secrets may have more to do with the situation than she thinks...and that cracking the case could lead to solving her father's murder.
Scarlett Undercover is said to appeal to fans of Veronica Mars and I couldn't agree more. Scarlett was almost an exact copy of Veronica from her personality to her sharp tongue. What also caught my attention about this book was the mention of ancient curses and jinns. I thought there was going to be a stronger supernatural aspect to the sleuthing mystery but it only served as the basis for the plot. While I was hoping for a supernatural book, overall I still enjoyed Scarlett Undercover. I love how the curse and jinns were tied back to Scarlett and the case she was working on. Scarlett been investigating her father’s murder for a couple of years but little did she know that taking a seemingly easy and harmless case from a 9-year-old will not only help her find her dad’s killer; but also turn into a dangerous game of cat and mouse involving a mysterious cult.

Scarlett is a hard as nail sixteen-year-old. I admired her headstrongness and commitment to her cases but she found herself in so many dangerous situations that I can’t imagine a regular 16-year-old being caught in the middle of. The author did a good explaining how Scarlett is able to defend herself against say a grown man and why she found herself in those sticky situations but it wasn't believable. I thought Scarlet’s character overall was okay, I didn't love her or hate her. I had a problem connecting with her because there wasn't anything relatable. As for the other characters, I didn't think they were fully developed. Even the best friend/love interest fell flat for me. In my opinion the author focused mainly on the plot and not enough time on the characters that it suffered. Because the plot was great, it was everything else that wasn't up to par.

Despite the weak character developments, I still thought Scarlett Undercover was a fun and quick read. Latham debut has a lot of promise, and if there’s more books in the series…I think she can only get better from here on out. Would I recommend this book? Absolutely.

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