Review: 14 Ways to Die by Vincent Ralph
It kept me up late, heart pounding the whole time!
14 Ways to Die is a 2020 release (originally titled: Are You Watching?) in the thriller young adult genre. I read it during a week-long readathon in November, for the prompt: makes your heart race. It definitely lived up to the prompt and easily became one of my favorite reads this month (4.5/5 stars).
What It’s About
Jessica was seven when her mother became the first of thirteen women murdered by a serial killer nicknamed by Jessica’s father as the Magpie Man (he loved shiny things, and her mother was the shiniest, her father tells her).
When Jessica finds out about a new Youtube reality show that follows unique individuals who have had something big happen to them, she decides to apply.
She wants to attempt to draw out the Magpie Man as justice for her mother. The serial killer hasn’t been caught in 10 years.
She wins the spot of Monday,
However, with the world watching, what will take place when Jessica launches her campaign of justice? What dangers will she encounter in tempting the Magpie Man?
3 Reasons I Loved This Book
There were a lot of moments in this book that I loved. However, there were three aspects that made this a winner for me.
The story drew me in right away, as I loved the fact that Jessica is doing this to capture the person who destroyed her world and childhood. The intrigue pulled me through with the help of short chapters, many of which ended on a cliffhanger. There was also a false lead towards the start of the show and many twists and turns that keep you guessing who the killer is.
Jessica was an interesting character to follow. I understood her motivation from the start. However, she has her bad moments too, including telling a former friend that her father being absent through divorce is not the same as her mom being dead- which I found unnecessarily harsh. I often found myself surprised by Jessica’s choices throughout the book. She didn’t always do what I expected, and I loved her “messages” in an attempt to call out the killer.
Her father has the biggest transformation throughout the book. He is still relatively stoic at the beginning but comes more alive throughout the course of the story as he feels more and more of a need to protect his daughter. His transformation back to life is also an interesting journey within the book.
The Social Media Aspect
Lately, I’ve been binging books that include the trope of social media. For the most part it’s done well in this book.
I would have liked to see more of a script of moments shared on Youtube. However, the connections that Jessica forms because of social media are crucial and perhaps would not have been able to be formed without her being a youtube star.
Social media is also crucial on alerting the police to threats against Jessica that occur throughout the show. It’s one of the main ways that the Magpie Man begins to connect with Jessica (through comments).
Overall, a Great Read
This was the debut book for Vincent Ralph and I immediately looked up other books by him. I have since picked up Lock the Doors from my local library. I can’t wait to read more of his work.