I was introduced to film noir waaaaaay too young. Like…nine or ten years old. Most of it went over my head.
But I did know I loved it.
I loved all of it: Sam Spade, femme fatales, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, the deep shadows, the seedy underbelly, all of it.
(Side note: also love the deviations like The Thin Man and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, because they’re amazing)
So when given the option to read a YA film noir, I will always say “Hell. Yes.”
“Don’t believe anything they say.”
Those were the last words that Annie spoke to Alice before turning her back on their family and vanishing without a trace. Alice spent four years waiting and wondering when the impossibly glamorous sister she idolized would return to her–and what their Hollywood-insider parents had done to drive her away.
When Annie does turn up, the blond, broken stranger lying in a coma has no answers for her. But Alice isn’t a kid anymore, and this time she won’t let anything stand between her and the truth, no matter how ugly. The search for those who beat Annie and left her for dead leads Alice into a treacherous world of tough-talking private eyes, psychopathic movie stars, and troubled starlets–and onto the trail of a young runaway who is the sole witness to an unspeakable crime. What this girl knows could shut down a criminal syndicate and put Annie’s attacker behind bars–if Alice can find her first. And she isn’t the only one looking.
If Veronica Mars is modern film noir, Dead to Me is original recipe.
What Intrigued Me: What’s not to love about noir? There are no heroes. Everyone has a price. Everyone has secrets. People talk fast and never mean what they say.
Honestly, who reads all that and thinks, Nah. Doesn’t seem entertaining.
What Hooked Me: I am a pop culture addict. Not just current pop culture, but golden era Hollywood pop culture. So a book that name drops Cyd Charisse, Myrna Loy, or Humphrey Bogart is all good in my book. They’re some of my favorite actors, so for me it’s the same as referencing Idris Elba or Scarlett Johansson. I’m gonna fangirl.
What Made Me Fall In Love: Alice isn’t Veronica Mars. She’s not bitter. She doesn’t have experience. She has no seedy informants, no safe houses, no gun. She’s never done anything like this before. She’s just a girl looking for her sister.
She’s also a noir fangirl. So all her moxy, all her bravado, all her determination comes from the years she spent devouring novels and film, hoping it would help her solve the mystery of her sister’s disappearance. And it makes her a force to be reckoned with.
So, as a fellow fangirl, I applaud Alice’s gumption.