Cover Image: 14 Ways to Die

14 Ways to Die

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Member Reviews

This one was binge worthy for sure. A solid debut in the YA thriller world.

3 things I loved about this book:
The short chapters. Made it super readable.
It kept me guessing up til the big reveal!
The very realistic portrayal of grief.

2 things I didn't love:
The main character, Jessica, bothered me. She was impulsive and pushy and thought only of herself.
The lack of parental guidance. This is a typical trope in YA, and it bothers me often. The kids run around with seemingly no adults involved, and things get messy because of it.

If you liked A Good Girls Guide to Murder, you will like this one!
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I have mixed feelings on this one. First, it was incredibly entertaining. I read it extremely fast and found myself engaged in the story. The language was simple and easy to understand. I guessed early on a good chunk of the twist/conclusion. The chapters were really short which I actually enjoyed because it gave me that "one more chapter" feeling. The only complaint I have is that some chapters could've been combined or taken out all together. All in all, I'm not mad that I read it. I enjoyed it, and would recommend to those who like mystery/thriller books.
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Thank you NetGalley for an Advanced Reader Copy in exchange for an honest review.

10 years ago, Jess’s mother became the first victim of the serial killer who would become known as the Magpie Man. The Magpie Man now has 13 victims and has yet to be caught. But Jess has a plan. She will become one of the stars of a new online reality TV series and remind people that this monster is still on the loose. And if she can also draw the killer out of hiding to come after her, that’s even better. Whatever it takes to catch the man who destroyed her life.

The blurb of this book had me immediately. I loved the idea of using social media to bring attention to a case and potentially find new clues. But oh my goodness. I just did not like this book.

One issue I had was with the format itself. There were 144 chapters in this book. A majority of the chapters were one page (maybe two) long. It might be better in a print copy rather than an e-reader, but it was slightly jarring to read.

It’s hard to discuss much without giving anything away but it just felt very disjointed. As you’re reading, it feels like there are so many unrelated threads. By the end, they seem to magically intertwine, but it just didn’t work for me. It felt like there was too much time spent jumping around that it wasn’t enjoyable to read. Instead of tying things up in a neat little bow, this book was tied up in a huge knot.

I like when twist endings catch me by surprise and this book did. But I also like when they actually make sense and there have been hints leading up. I feel like this book just threw in an ending out of nowhere. And some of the characters’ motivations just do not make sense.

I also felt like there were some harmful portrayals of mental health, but I can’t get into that here because spoilers.

Overall, this book was a miss for me. I would have just done a DNF, but I rage finished it so I could write this review.
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**Disclaimer: I received a free early access copy of 14 Ways to Die by Vincent Ralph through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this opportunity.

14 Ways to Die by Vincent Ralph is a young adult mystery thriller.  It revolved around a girl named Jess who signs up for a reality television show where she will livestream her life in order to solve the mystery of who murdered her father.  It is set to publish on June 1st, 2021.  I rated it 4 stars on Goodreads.


Here's the summary from Goodreads:

A page-turning new YA thriller for the social media age, perfect for fans of A Good Girl's Guide to Murder and One Of Us Is Lying.
Ten years ago, Jess's mother was murdered by the Magpie Man.
She was the first of his victims but not the last.
Now Jess is the star of a YouTube reality series and she's using it to catch the killer once and for all.
The whole world is watching her every move.
And so is the Magpie Man.

This story definitely had an intriguing premise.  I liked the idea of a girl sacrificing her privacy to find out what happened to her mom.  I've read lots of YA mysteries, but I haven't quite encountered a story like that before.  It's definitely really interesting.

I really enjoyed this story.  Jess is a really interesting character.  She's not a traditionally likeable character but she is a sympathetic one.  She pushes boundaries but her motive is admirable.  It's easy to understand why exactly she wants to give up so much to find out the answers to something that changed the entire course of her life.  It's easy to understand why she does the things that she does.

I enjoyed the short chapters in this book.  It makes for a quick and easy read.  The story was well paced.  There was good tension and just enough to keep me guessing as the story continued.  I enjoyed the suspense.  The arc of the story was well done.  I really liked the way that there were a lot of red herrings along the way making me think that something had happened that wasn't actually the case.  I genuinely had no idea who the bad guy was going to turn out to be, but I was pleased with how it turned out.

The depiction of grief was really interesting in this book.  It felt realistic and showed the lingering after effects of a sudden horrible loss.  Jess and her father had two really interesting sides of that.  I really enjoyed that aspect.

The side characters were well ranged and interesting.

If you're at all intrigued by the premise, I definitely recommend that you check this book out.
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I did like this book, I just didn't love it like I thought I would. But I still thought it was a good read. As someone who watches True Crime YouTubers quite often, I really liked the concept of this book. I thought it was an interesting use of using social media to catch a killer. I'm not a fan of really short chapters though, and that was one of the first things I didn't like about this book. I also felt like it dragged at some parts, and I found some things to be a little unrealistic. But despite that, I did find it was a good read that kept you guessing and then second guessing throughout the book which I liked. Overall, it was a gripping story that did keep me interested from start to finish.
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this eARC. 

The premise of this book is interesting, and one I think will resonate with teens who love YouTube and suspense novels. 

The plot is intricately planned, with hints along the way, that astute readers will pick up on. 

I found that I didn’t particularly care about the main character. So much of her characterization is one dimensional and through the lens of her mother’s murder. If she put herself in danger, I didn’t care if she was safe or not, I just wanted to get to the conclusion. 

That said, I think others may have a different view, and I did like the premise and conclusion. This is a “middle of the road” book for me - I liked it, and I definitely will recommend it to my teen patrons, but it didn’t fall into the “couldn’t put down” category for me.
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When I saw the chapter count in the table of contents, I was a bit intimidated. I wasn't sure how I'd like the pacing of the book, but the short chapters really kept the story moving for me. The mystery definitely grabbed my attention and I didn't figure it out until the very end. Overall, I thought it was a really intriguing story and discussed the complexity of grief in a very touching way. However, it was still a bit heavier than I expected — I actually forgot this was a YA book until I was reading the author's notes at the end.
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14 Ways To Die had an intriguing and unique plot. I was really excited to read the book and overall enjoyed the characters. However, I found that although chapters were short, the book itself felt so long. It wasn’t a page turner necessarily and it was odd to me that so many characters were introduced and then quickly taken away or had no character development whatsoever. I definitely understood the point of trying to make Jess suspicious of everyone but it honestly confused me. Near the end I was extremely lost. I did enjoy that some loose ends were tied up like Mr. Collins and the relationship with Jess’s dad but it took a long, winding path to get there.
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Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.

This book is supposed to be for fans of, A Good Girl's Guide to Murder. I would agree, except that I think if you loved, A Good Girl's Guide to Murder, this book will likely fall short for you.

The premise of the book is that Jessica Simmons applies for the chance to have her life documented as a series on YouTube. Once a week for four weeks, her life will be recorded from the minute she wakes up until midnight. If all goes well and she has the highest ratings, she will get to keep filming for three months. She uses this opportunity and platform to search for the serial killer, known as the Magpie Man, who killed her mom. 

My biggest issue with the whole book was that she spent the majority of it antagonizing the serial killer and there weren't any actual leads she followed or clues she checked out until the very end. She didn't interview people or go back to the crime scene. She didn't follow up on any cold leads or anything. She just let herself be recorded going to school, talking to news outlets, and mostly antagonizing the Magpie man by calling him pathetic. At one point she decides to use herself as bait to draw him out. There were never really any suspects until the end and when we do learn who the killer is, it all fits together a little loosely. I didn't find out the killer and go, oh, I see where that now fits throughout the story. The ending had to spell it all out for you why he/she killed everyone. 

I do think the story held some valuable lessons, such as the positive and negative influences of social media. After the serial killer murders his 14th victim early, Jessica comes face to face with the mother of the victim and incurs her wrath and heartbreak. The mother blames Jessica and her YouTube show for the death of her daughter. Jessica didn't fully realize what might happen when she decided to remind the world of the Magpie Man and his murders. It also has a good lesson about learning to live past the grief. Jessica, her father, and the others "left behind" learn that it's important to keep on living and moving forward and not drown in their grief.

I'm not sure how I feel about the validity of this book in the sense that the protagonist did no real sleuthing to find the killer. It felt like the killer more or less fell into her lap after a series of events. If it's going to be put in the same category as, A Good Girl's Guide to Murder, it fell short in comparison.
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I was hoping this would be as good as a good Girl's Guide to murder which is one of my absolute favorite books or even as decent as one of us is lying but it really just did not hit it for me I found myself constantly skimming and putting it down and having to go back to it definitely took me a lot longer to finish than anticipated

This book still gets a few things right and I do have to mention that I am not a teenager I am almost 28 so sometimes certain books that are in the ya drama are big Miss for me but I can't help but give them a shot. Still a sucker for them even when more often than not they don't always work well for me. 

So overall it really wasn't that bad I think it will work a little bit better for a younger audience and maybe a younger audience that hasn't read a lot of thrillers and mysteries and obsessed with books about murder kind of things the ending was pretty anti-climatic. 

i think I'll round from 2 stars to 3 for the sake of the genere issue and there's no .5 star ratings.
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The premise of the novel seems fairly simple; Jess's mother was murdered ten years ago by a killer known as the Magpie Man.  Now, in an effort to find and catch him, she is becoming the star of a youtube reality series, hoping to use social media and her fame to finally get justice.  

Overall, this was an enjoyable read, if highly unrealistic.  The use of social media, and the ideas and commentary of what we put online and how we reveal ourselves to outsiders (harmful and benign) was interesting, but I struggle with the idea that a parent would allow a child to participate in something like this knowing that it could attract the attention of a serial killer (or even just the attention of less dangerous weirdos).  I mean, Jess is filmed in her home and school in each of her series episodes - even for the average non-murderous human, she wouldn't be difficult to find.  However, the idea is really creative, and I enjoyed being inside Jess's head as she made decisions that seemed realistic for a teenage protagonist.  The ending was fun, although it felt somewhat disconnected from the earlier parts of the novel - the reveal of the murderer was a twist but also felt somewhat like a letdown.  The other thing I personally struggled with was the chapter length - there were 100+ chapters because they were all so short.  Honestly, I think the novel might have felt more cohesive if there were fewer, longer, chapters.  

While I enjoyed reading 14 Ways to Die, I don't know that this is a novel I will return to for a second read.
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I received an eARC in exchange for an honest review. 

I’ve really been craving a good thriller recently and this book DELIVERED. It really kept me enthralled and guessing until the very end. There were so many times when I thought I knew who the bad guy was, only to be wrong. 

My main issue with the reveal was there wasn’t enough build up to the person it was. Everything about how they were connected was dumped on after they were revealed and it seemed a bit random because they weren’t involved in the story before that happened. I would have liked a bit more clues dropped earlier on in the story, personally. 

Overall, it was a great twisty story and I really enjoyed it!
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3-4 stars.  While this wasn’t my very favorite book, I must admit I found the story to be very unique, even though it was unrealistic (this is what I disliked), but also very much realistic in certain aspects!  I did find it to be well written, with some intense parts, which definitely thrilled, chilled, shocked, and even made me slightly dizzy from the twisty turns!  I would definitely recommend, wake ally to those that don’t mind it being the type you have to suspend disbelief with!  

Will make sure to buzz around and use low Amazon reviewer number!
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14 Ways to Die is a paced thriller that was told through great, easy to follow storytelling that had me hooked until the very satisfying ending. It will be on the list of summer book recommendations for my students.
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I'm a big fan of A Good Girl's Guide to Murder and One of Us is Lying, so I thought this book would be perfect for me. However I found myself putting it down a bunch and coming back to it. I just couldn't get into the story no matter how much I wanted to like it.
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The book ended up being completely surprising. I loved the cover and title, but when I began reading, I was a little bored. It took me some time to get into it, but once the book hooked me, it did not disappoint. 
 
Jess's mother was murdered when she was 7. The murder turned out to be the first of a serial killer that Jess's dad coined the Magpie Man. Jess's whole life changed after that day. Her dad basically exists, and she's obsessed on figuring out who killed her mom. 

Jess gets the idea to audition for a YouTube reality series that broadcasts everything you do for an entire day. This is completely out of her comfort zone, but this is her plan for catching the serial killer. She wants to use the show to get his attention. Call him out. Taunt him. And that's exactly what appears to be happening. A brick flies through her window. Printout outs from her mom's murder appear in her book bag. She receives threatening texts and online messages. Life gets extremely scary for Jess, but she's determined to find who killed her mom. 

Once the filming begins, the action picks up, and you definitely want to know how Jess will handle everything. Relationships with her friends. Relationship with her dad. Not being murdered herself. This is the point I couldn't put the book down, and then ending was completely unpredictable.
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I'm really liking how books are incorporating the use of social media lately, it makes for such a gripping and fascinating read! This book included! Being YA, it was a quick easy read for me but I enjoyed it immensely! Great writing, great story and twists & turns that I loved! Great ending as well, kept me glued! Thank you so much!
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This book was good, but not great. I loved that the mystery kept me guessing and it had a satisfying conclusion, but other elements of the plot just seemed rushed or not fully fleshed out. For me it was trying too hard to be the next Good Girl's Guide to Murder or One of Us is Lying. And on a slightly more nit-picky note, the book was clearly supposed to be set in the UK, but there were so many Americanisms in it that I'm not sure why the publishers just didn't go all the way with the edits and just change the setting to be the US.
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Book Review for 14 Ways to Die by Vincent Ralph
Full review for this title will be posted at: @cattleboobooks on Instagram!
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I received this book from NetGalley and the publisher. 

It’s no surprise a new murder mystery ended up on my to-read list, and one that was compared to “A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder”? Even better. That book made it to my top ten in 2020, so it made me eager to pick up “14 Ways to Die”. 

That said, “14 Ways to Die” was so tonally different than that which it was compared to. Grief permeates the pages, both in Jess’ voice and her actions. She is grieving the mother she lost and never got to know, and she’s mourning the relationship she would have had with both her mother and father had her mother not been murdered. 

I really was excited by the reality show plot, as well. It was really, really unique, especially in the setting of a murder mystery. That said, I wish we knew more about the other characters who were chosen for it! I know they weren’t /too/ important to the plot, but I still have questions!

I also wanted to know more about Ross and Hanna, and Jess’ childhood friendships. 

That said, I did enjoy this book. I felt myself ache with Jess, and I would be eager to read any new release by Ralph. 

(3.25 stars/5 stars)
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