The Dead Queens Club

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 25 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

I'm not a big history buff, but I watched The Tudors series on Netflix several years ago and was hooked.  Given, it was highly dramatized, but you can't tell me there weren't clandestine meetings, backstabbings, political maneuverings, and power plays during that time.  And then, of course, there was Henry and his wives.  When I saw this book, I was instantly curious about a modern day retelling - in high school, no less.

The author is very clever in how she created her characters based on the historical figures, bringing the queens, Henry, and some of their acquaintances into modern day.  Cleves, based on Anne of Cleves, who was queen for a few short months, is Henry's best friend.  Like Henry VIII, this Henry has a wandering eye and a long string of girlfriends.  Loosely paralleling their historical relationship, Cleves and Henry date for an awkward couple of weeks, but decide they're better as friends.  Cleves is blindly loyal, awkward, and her snark had me chuckling several times.

Make no mistake - this high school is just as socially treacherous as Henry the VIII's court, with suspicious deaths and characters falling out of favor.  Scheming, plotting, and gossip abound, making up a large portion of the book, but occasionally don't do much to advance the story.  All the back and forth is difficult to follow at times, but once the book hits the 75% mark, things move along quickly.

I didn't enjoy this read as much as I'd hoped, but that's more me than the book.  I'm not a big fan of Mean Girls and erratic high school drama, but judging by other reviews, many readers thought The Dead Queens Club was fabulous.    

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
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As much as I loved the author’s witty writing and this book’s beautiful cover, I thought the main character’s POV didn’t completely capture my attention. I just felt so disconnected from the story. Needless to say, I couldn’t care less. I’m guessing that I’m not much of a history buff (in regards to this retelling) so I failed to appreciate the story as a whole. I thought maybe I should look up the “The Tudors.” And I found the history more interesting compared to this novel.

The characters in The Dead Queens Club were archetypal, sort of what you would find in almost every high school related book or movie. The humor in this book reminded me of one of my favorite YA books (Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly). But for some reason, I still find myself putting this book down.

I think I would have enjoyed this book if it were written in 3rd person and if it were to be more of a plot-driven novel. The writing overall felt like a “stream of consciousness” style, which I didn’t really care for. The problem with this is that some readers may OR may not like the voice of the main character. Additionally, I thought that Cleves tried to portray herself as “a feminist that doesn’t really take things seriously” even when the situation calls for it. I also think she was supposed to be "quirky" but I think it really didn't do anything for her character. I’m not sure if I like her? I actually don’t have any strong opinion about her character nor any of the characters in this book.

I guess it really depends on the reader’s preference or what they want to get out of this book. I mean, I did like the concept of this book but my interest can only go so far. For some reason, I have to like the characters in some way before I could actually be invested in the story. And while there is nothing wrong with Cleves, I just don’t think I will be able to finish reading this book because of how the novel was set-up. However, there were interesting and humorous titles in every chapter (which I liked).

All in all, I thought this was an okayish (decent) read but at the same time I felt that it really wasn’t for me. I think I wouldn’t recommend this book to those who are looking for “fast-paced” stories. But if you're curious about the retelling of "The Tudors" portion, I recommend giving this book a shot.
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DNF at 65 pages.
This made me feel scatterbrained while reading. The main character Anna aka Cleves is all over the place. In her inner monologue down to how she interacts with Henry. 

Even with me only reading 65 pages, this was problematic and a hot mess. Henry would rather listen to a rumor about his girlfriend and let the guys decide that she’s only “hookup material” instead of “girlfriend material”. I really don’t have time to read about a douche like this. 

It also doesn’t really tell you if there is a difference in time. They just give you whiplash with past and present and want you to keep up. I hope they change that in the final version. 

I’m so let down because I’ve been wanting to get my hands on an arc of this book for a while now. The synopsis sounds great but I just can’t.
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I really don't know how I feel about this book. I enjoyed it a lot mostly, but also it just feels so long. It was really fun to read while listening to Six: The Musical though, and there's so many little details that are pretty cleverly thrown in there. The length is really the main thing working against it in my opinion. I wish it were like a hundred pages shorter.
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The description of this book drew me in, on goodreads, someone mentioned that this book was a cross between Henry VIII and Mean Girls. I think I went in with too high of expectations because of this, or maybe the writing was too convoluted to understand. Either way, I was not impressed by this one.

Cleves is obsessed with her best friend Henry. He’s everything she’s not. Henry is cool and popular and people are inherently drawn to him. Perhaps because he oozes charm, or he’s good looking, or people just seem to trust Henry. But Henry also has a bad streak with his ex girlfriends. They always seem to cheat on him or break his heart. So Henry enlists the help of Celves to get back at them, through pranks to embarrass the girls. 

But Cleves is uprooted to Henry’s town and thrown into his school and inner circle. Cleves becomes torn between what Henry has told her and what her new friends tell her about events in their small Indiana town. 

There is a lot of back and forth in this book, but it is not done well. You get confused because there are not distinct chapters distinguishing the past and the present. Instead, flashbacks are in the middle of chapters and you have to pay attention to what is taking place. 

This book is also a giant cliche, every high school troupe you can think of rears its head at some point. From the girl swooning over her best friend, to the popular jock getting together with the cheerleader. If you like (pointless) high school drama, then this is the story for you. 

I don’t believe that there are any twists or turns in this book. You can see the ending coming from the beginning. There are attempts at high-stake action, but they all fall flat. The characters are predictable and this makes the plot seem boring. But, everything also feels drawn out. I stopped reading so many times because I was either bored, not invested, or rolled my eyes so much I got a headache. I cannot recommend this book.
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I actually really liked this. I got a little nervous when I checked out the reviews before I started reading and realized that this is a modern retelling of Henry VIII and his six wives. I had no idea what to expect but I honestly liked it almost immediately. 

I have a few quips that I'm just going to go ahead and get out of the way so that I can gush about the things I loved:

• There are a lot of people to keep up with. In the first 15% or so, I kept getting confused about which ex-girlfriend was who and who was on what side and whatnot. I ended up just making a note about each character to reference if I needed to, but my brain caught up with all of the characters and their story lines after a while and I didn't need the note anymore. However, it really is confusing in the beginning. That was honestly my biggest issue in this. 

• Everyone else seems to love Cleveland but oh my god the girl has no sense of loyalty. I still liked her (somehow) but she drove me up the wall. She was one of those girls who seemed really neutral all the time but is actually spilling your secrets and probably making out with your boyfriend. 

Okay, yeah, that's it for the bad stuff. Now to the good:

• This is the most clever retelling of anything I've ever read. Granted, I don't do retellings often, so I don't have a lot to compare to, but this was honestly really cool. About half way through the book I got curious about the real Henry VIII and his wives and I looked it all up. Maybe everyone else in the universe knows about him already but I didn't. Capin got really creative with some of the names (considering like half of his wives had the same name) and she really told their story perfectly but with a modern YA twist on it. So, not only did I get to read a great book but I also learned some new history. 

• I loved all of the characters so much! Well, except for Henry, but honestly even he is extremely charismatic. I'm not much of a gusher over YA teen boy characters (but shove a manic pixie dream girl trope in my face and I'll probably fall in love), so I was never not onto him thanks to my unclouded judgement. However, I still didn't hate him. I mean he was a total jerk and used Cleve's and is not a good guy but you still want to wish him luck. Does that even make sense? The girls were all so great though. I think my favorite character was actually Parker, though I did love that Cleveland was always calling out her classmates and friends for misogynistic and sexist remarks. Like I said, she has no sense of loyalty, but she will definitely stand up for you if a mean pack of adolescent boys try to come for you with bash words. 

• The story was really good. I know I pretty much already said that, but even if you seperate the novel from Henry VIII and it just stands on its own as a regular YA book, it's still really freaking good. I read it all in one sitting even though it's long. I didn't want to put it down for anything and I was rooting for the girls the entire time. Capin managed to capture my heart in a way that not many YA books can do. This isn't fluffy but at the same time still very highschool-y and sappy... just not overly. I think that if I hadn't known about it being a retelling, I would've still really liked it. I might not have noticed how freaking creative Hannah Capin, but I would've enjoyed it nonetheless.

• The writing is done so well!!! I don't know how to rant about it other than say that Capin is just as good of a writer as she is a story teller. 

Overall, I'm really glad I requested this from NetGalley. It was an awesome read and I'm going to be on the look out for more books by Capin from here on out.
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The Dead Queens Club is one that I wasn't sure how it would land on the rating scale for me, but I'm very happy that it landed more near the top for me. While I love retellings, retellings based on history are something I'm not as familiar with. I tend to steer clear of history based things unless a friend tells me I should read it. This was pitched as Mean Girls meets The Tudors though so I requested it. 

I really enjoyed all the characters in the story. I thought they were well rounded and I think they all work well together. 

I honestly was expecting a cute story so imagine my surprise when everything started happening!
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Note: I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I'm definitely in the minority in giving The Dead Queens Club a low star review. The story line and synopsis sounded intriguing and different. But ultimately, Cleves was not my cup of tea nor was Capin's writing style. I found myself growing annoyed and frustrated with Cleves and her ability to talk in circles. I wanted to shake my Kindle and yell "get to the point!" I think the author was trying to go for a bit of humor and lightheartedness, but it made for a very frustrating and confusing reading experience. 

The pace was also very slow. I thought this would be more of a mystery/suspense, but I was a third of the way in and barely anything was progressing there. Instead, a lot of time was spent on Cleves and her relationship with Henry - giving too much useless background information that didn't add anything to the story and only added to my frustration.

Overall, I haven't been this annoyed or frustrated reading a book in a long time - definitely not for me.
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WOW. The Dead Queens Club by Hannah Capin was everything. Take all your expectations and amplify them. King VIII meets JOHN TUCKER MUST DIE in this hilarious, heartfelt, and shocking "retelling." You will love every single character, but Cleves—CLEVES!!!—is, without a doubt, a break-out YA star. It’s funny, dark, unapologetically feminist, and the characters are complex, shady, and lovable. The voice is phenomenal and I will consider Capin my newest auto-buy author after this.

The two downsides: the book is long! The set-up/beginning takes some time, but the voice and characters are so great that it’s worth it and never boring. I would have also liked more physical descriptions. It seems like everyone aside from two or three characters are white. Cleves and her sister are the only ones who are definitely not white, though it’s not entirely obvious or ever really mentioned again. Lina might be a woman of color, but, again, not entirely certain.

The Dead Queens Club by Hannah Capin will be published January 29, 2019.
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I was provided with an eARC of this book in exchange for a fair review. 

When I saw this book toted as “Mean Girls meets The Tudors”, I knew I needed to check it out. I’m all about retellings, and who doesn’t love a good Henry VIII story? All in all, I was very pleased with this! The story was fresh and well paced, with a great cast of characters and just enough historical and pop culture references to keep me intrigued. Plus the MC is so witty and I laughed out loud on several occasions. 
This does lose a star because it sometimes got a little frantic. Believing a 17 year old boy is serial murdering his girlfriends is a little far fetched, and the plotting and scheming and theorizing was a bit much sometimes. Plus, this being an eARC means it’s not properly formatted at that added to the clutter. 
Despite that, I still very much enjoyed it and will certainly check out more from this author!
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Okay, I'm gonna be up front with y'all: my experience reading The Dead Queens Club was, hands-down, one of the STRANGEST reading experiences I've ever had. I literally can't make up my mind as to whether I actively hated this book, or whether I'm just apathetic toward it.

Let me preface my review with the fact that I was so excited to read DQC. I've been obsessed with Tudor England since I was in elementary school, and this was pitched as "Mean Girls x The Tudors," which, like, SIGN ME UP. However, I was left feeling more frustrated and confused than anything else after finishing this book.

The Dead Queens Club retells the history of Henry VIII and his six wives, but in a modern American high school setting-- which is such a cool concept. Our main character is Cleves (short for "Cleveland," the city she hails from), who gets caught up in the charismatic Henry's world after meeting at summer camp and instantly clicking. Cleves also holds the title of Girlfriend Number Four, a fact both she and Henry try to ignore, as they long ago decided they work better as best friends than romantic partners. When two of Henry's girlfriends turn up dead after mysterious "accidents," Cleves and her fellow surviving girlfriends start to get a little suspicious, and hatch a plot to catch Henry in his lies.

Friends, I don't say this often, so take note when I say it now: this book was so damn confusing. And I don't mean that in the sense that the themes went over my head; no, I mean that in the most elementary sense-- disjointed plot threads are thrown in seemingly at random, only to be haphazardly hacked together much later in the story. It didn't feel like a continuous story because we jumped around so much, with very little connection.

Another thing I absolutely could not stand about this was the writing. Again, this isn't something I say lightly, but Capin's writing style screamed "trying too hard." Cleves's *~quirkiness~* is pushed on the reader at every turn. I don't even know how to describe this, but the author strings together words/phrases that would normally be hyphenated into continuous strings of words that are really difficult to read-- each time, it took me out of the story. This happened *at least* once per page of the e-ARC, usually more like two-four times per page. It was endlessly frustrating, and after about 20 pages, this grammatical choice alone had me ready to call it quits. I think lots of readers will take issue with the writing here. It's one of those things that's unquestionably polarizing. On the surface, Cleves is exactly the kind of "unlikeable female protagonist" I usually love (even when other readers don't), but in this particular case, she felt like a cardboard cutout with no backstory or development. Like, I never got a sense of her as a person, outside of her acerbic wit, which is an issue in a book that's told in a first-person POV.

I will applaud Hannah Capin on the brilliant idea to retell this segment of history in a modern high school, because wow, the level of drama is 100% conducive to that kind of setting. And, for the most part, I think the way Capin adapted these historical figures to the setting was pretty brilliant. Like, I definitely laughed every time Cleves said, "ugh, Jane Seymour," because, yeah, I think everyone familiar with the original history feels that way. That being said, I just needed more development for all of them. Like Cleves, all the other characters in this book felt very superficial and surface-level. Also, the fact that every character in this book is, at least to the reader's knowledge, straight and cis, is kind of a disservice to the messages Capin was trying to articulate with this book. Like, the fact that there were SO MANY CHARACTERS and none of them were canonically queer was... very strange.

Going off of this, I do appreciate the themes Capin addressed in DQC-- toxic masculinity, gaslighting, slut shaming, etc.-- but I honestly don't feel like she went far enough with any of them. The scene where Cleves realizes the ways in which Henry has been manipulating her was one of the (few) highlights of the book for me. Like the rest of the story, though, these explorations felt very surface-level.

I contemplated DNFing this infinite times, and on one hand, I'm glad I didn't, because it did get better as the story went on. On the other hand, though, I don't feel like I got anything out of reading this. I don't need to have a deep, meaningful experience with every book or anything, but I do expect to at least enjoy or be interested in the book if I don't get anything else out of it... and with DQC, not so. The last third of the book was the only time I was even marginally interested in any of the events of the story.

Overall, The Dead Queens Club boasts an excellent premise, but subpar execution, and I will not be recommending it.

Have you read The Dead Queens Club? If so, let's discuss in the comments! If not, do you plan to read it?
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DNF @ 21%

This review is based on an ARC of The Dead Queens Club which I received courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher (HarlequinTEEN/Inkyard Press).

I always hate to DNF an ARC, but here's the truth, plain and simple: I could not care less about this plot. Honestly, excuse me while I instead read Henry VIII's wikipedia page, it's far more entertaining than this book.

The main character "Cleveland" AKA "Cleves" (Excuse me while I gag. Could you be less original with the nicknaming?) is so infuriatingly obnoxious that she is my main reason for DNFing. First of all, "Cleves" wore cow print pajamas, not only out of the house, but into a grocery store which is a deal-breaker for me. Second, omg she is such a cringe-worthy die-hard bleeding-heart mega-PC SJW-touting feminism-preaching wannabe. It is just so hard to read. (I know that makes me sound awful, but omg cool it. We get it, you are into chick fights.) Lastly, I literally could not care less about her position on the school paper team. And I can just sense it; by the end of this novel she will have earned her "editor-in-chief-dom." Don't care, don't wanna see how she gets there.

Okay, so basically I was getting very annoyed with this novel and didn't care to read it to the end. That being said the chapter titles were kinda cool, but that remains the only saving grace.

Again, sorry I had to DNF this one, but it really, really just wasn't for me.
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This book was terrible and I don’t usually say that often. This book didn’t seem like it had any real potential and that saddens me. I always try to find the positive things about a book even if I hated it. I’m not for sure if I can come up with any but we will see as I go along with this review if I can come up with anything.

To start off this review let me just say I did not finish it. I tried so hard to finish this book but I just couldn’t torture myself any longer. I stopped reading this book at 30% and trust me when I say I was pushing myself even before that to keep reading.

I thought I would like this book because it mentioned Mean Girls in the summary. But looking back on the summary again I am disgusted with myself for requesting this book.

The main character Cleves is by far one of the most annoying characters I had meet in 2018. She has zero dimension to her. She’s supposed to be this big jokester but honestly I don’t find her funny at all. She just annoying. She’s best friends with this guy who’s the “king” of the school she just moved to a year or two ago. She’s apparently the only girl he’s dated that something bad hasn’t happened to her. She’s an aspiring journalist who doesn’t stick up for herself half the time and relies on others to do it for her. She then gets anger for what they do to try to help her. Seriously why can’t she just help herself. She’s all about feminism but yet she doesn’t take those values to heart.

Henry the so called “king” is prick in my opinion. He rather listen to rumors about his girlfriend and dump her than actually ask her if they are true. He’s had so many girlfriends and I can’t believe one of the reasons he decided to dump one of the girls was because she was religious and didn’t want to sleep with him yet. This is a big hell no from me. Guys or girls should always respect decisions of their partners and not make fun of it. If he didn’t want to be with her just for that sol reason then he’s got more issues than what I thought.

Not only were the character’s annoying and flat the plot was just wow. I didn’t think I would find such a weird plot like this in a YA contemporary novel, but I did. Henry was dating this one girl but cheated on her with another girl. Henry is all about power you see. He uses the girls he dates as status builder as he tries to fix the town he lives in that’s failure was cause by his father’s factory shutting down. All of the kids are super rich and act like they were in politics. But this is only present in parts of the novel when we are back in time. That’s another factor. This book switches between present time, to the time where they are at camp together, to where Henry’s girlfriends are still alive. And you’ll never guess how his girlfriends died. Apparently someone brought explosives to a high school prom. There’s this big mystery on who did it and why. But it’s too much drama for high school like seriously.

Overall I hated this book. I don’t know if it got any better because I didn’t finish it and nor do I want to. I would recommend this book for a younger audience but I’m not for sure how well they would take it either.
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This review is posted on my blog: 
as well as on my Instagram:

The narrator of this book, Cleves, had one of the best and well-formed personalities I've ever read for first person POV! The author Hannah Capin clearly remembers what it was like to be in high school because these characters definitely acted like it! It was refreshing to have a high school setting with regular teenagers actually acting like...well, regular teenagers (besides the murder). 


I read this book for two reasons: one, because I am a huge British history nerd (thank youuu, junior year Brit Lit teacher) and two, NetGalley said I could read The Dead Queen's Club and what kind of book nerd would I be if I turned down this book??

I was expecting a cute story - I'm not sure why I expected "cute" when it's a Henry VIII retelling but nonetheless - about royalty at a school and popular drama.

Imagine my (delighted) surprise when the plot takes a sharp turn at the first murder. Don't worry kiddos, this isn't a spoiler. It's history (and it's in the author's synopsis)! The exposition of the book took a bit to get into but the plot soon became mesmerizing. A few chapters in, boom, it's off to the races! I couldn't put down this book once the action ramped up - I HAD to know what happened.

The characters were well thought out and loveable. Even a character I thought I wouldn't like ended up becoming a favorite. Each of them had, well, CHARACTER, and I love them for it. The different personalities all play off each other and you finish the book with a sense of pride in these teenagers you have grown to hold dear.

If this book doesn't hit the bestseller list as soon as it releases, I for one am going to be very upset. It deserves a standing ovation from all history nerds everywhere.
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This book is exactly what it promised it would be - Tudor England meets John Tucker Must Die. I didn't love the story, but I think I probably would have if I'd read it in high school or middle school. It was a pretty creative retelling of Henry and his wives, and Capin did a good job making each of the "wife" characters flawed in a realistic way without demonizing any of them the way they have been by history. My main complaint was that Anne of Cleves was too blinded by Henry.
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I loved this book! The full review will be posted soon at! Thank you very much for this wonderful opportunity to connect books to their readers!
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I really wanted to like this book as I love all things about Henry the 8th and his wives. However, I found that I just couldn't get into this book. It was hard to understand the time jumps in the first few sections, leaping back and forth from the present day to the two stays at summer camp. I found that the main character really lacked a voice or an identity. I couldn't really get into the story from her perspective enough to keep up with who she was or what she wanted. The other characters all seemed to be a bit of a stereotype. Instead of any action, I found it more like reading the diary of a pretty boring girl with stereotypical friends. The cheerleaders were preppy and upbeat and happy, the football players were strong and not friends with many people that weren't cheerleaders, and the smart kids had their own clique that no one else was allowed in.  Instead of getting a modern-day Henry the Eighth feeling, I got more a diary of a not quite smart enough, not quite preppy enough, not quite sporty enough girl trying to fit in, and that really wasn't what I was looking for and I struggled to finish.  I also found there were a lot of places where there was a space after the letter f like "f light and f ill" or that there were hyphens in phrases that shouldn't have them like "never-going-to-see" which made it hard to enjoy.
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I would give this book 2.75 stars

I thought the premise of this book to be interested and I was hoping to be interested in the novel. 
Unfortunately, this book was a great disappointment. First of all can we talk about the protagonist, Cleves. I don't know if it was just me but I found her personality to be extremely grating on the nerves. However, I did enjoy her emphasis on feminism and slut shaming. 

The plot in this novel seemed to move extremely slowly and I felt like the first 3/4ths of the book had nothing really to do with the overall plot of the story. The novel picked up in about the last 50 pages. The last 50 pages was a book in itself with a rising action, climax and falling action crammed into it.

Something I enjoyed about the novel was character development. The author took time to build up each character and make them multifaceted. 
Although there were many things I didn't enjoy in this book I found myself sucked into reading it, and I had trouble putting the story down.
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To start off, I have to say, I. Ate. This. Book. Up! This is just the type of chick lit, teenage drama, mystery type book that I live for! It was so compelling and the writing is shockingly funny! I didn’t expect the book to make me laugh out loud. I requested it because I thought it might be similar to Pretty Little Liars (which it does have that type of vibe in parts) but I was pleasantly surprised with how much I loved Hannah Capin’s writing style! I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more of her works!

The plot of this book really moves! There are no dull parts or “filler” chapters or really anything that slows the pace of this book which I love. I literally kept telling myself “ok one more chapter and then I’ll stop” and I just couldn’t! Every chapter drove me forward and I became deeply invested with the story and characters of this book! I HAD to know what happened next and thus I read this whole thing in ONE sitting.

The characters are sort of typical, archetypal high school characters; you’ve got your jocks, cheerleaders, intellectuals, and mean girls. And of course our main character is none of the above but is pretty atypical and “different” and yet everyone still loves her. BUT none of that bothered me because it all worked for the type of story that it was. OH! Did I mention this is a retelling of notorious Playboy Henry VIII? Because it totally is and I was totally here for it.

But anyways, the characters. Loved the main character, however it took her a looooong time to figure out the “twist” even when other characters had literally been screaming it at her for like six chapters. It got a little obnoxious how naive she was but hey, weren’t we all naive in high school??

I also loved the underlying feminism tone this book carried. It hits on many important topics regarding questions like does a girls outfit imply she's "asking for it" and issues like slut shaming that are all very relevant and important conversation starters. I appreciated the stance the author took on these issues. 

I gave this book four stars. I loved it, I ate it up, but there were some plot inconsistencies and maybe a few holes and unanswered questions but all in all this was a highly enjoyable read. I was absolutely head over heels for the author’s writing style.

Definitely look for this on the shelves come January 2019! You don’t want to miss this fast-paced mystery!
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#TheDeadQueensClub #2019YAbooks #NetGalley
In reading the synopsis, you will never really fully understand this book. It is a well written novel like so many, but this book is so much more than that. It reminded me of a delicious piece of chocolate that once you bite into it the texture and flavors keep changing. You think you are getting a thriller, but then it's a drama which changes to a mystery and so on. You want to get to the end, yet the end means it's over. So much drama going on inside your mind and there is the appeal.
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