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“Flannery Culp wants you to know the whole story of her spectacularly awful senior year. Tyrants, perverts, tragic crushes, gossip, cruel jokes, and the hallucinatory effects of absinthe — Flannery and the seven other friends in the Basic Eight have suffered through it all. But now, on tabloid television, they’re calling Flannery a murderer, which is a total lie. It’s true that high school can be so stressful sometimes. And it’s true that sometimes a girl just has to kill someone. But Flannery wants you to know that she’s not a murderer at all — she’s a murderess.”

I picked up this book because I wanted to read something funny. I wanted something that was Daniel Handler funny and I was not let down. There were scenes that were so perfect I was laughing out loud. This is a what I have grown to expect of Daniel Handler.

The plot that the main character, Flannery or Flan for short, murdered someone was clear throughout the book and the surprise twist was a huge letdown. It was a twist ending that has been done a dozen times and was only interesting the first few times.The twist ending is the main flaw I found in the book and if you can ignore it the book reads as amazing. It reads as a teen’s diary so it is very much a teen girl being very self-important, which can be fun to read when she is a murderess.

The romantic plot lines were sometimes strained, but it felt like it was in an authentic way as the characters were a bunch of pretentious teens. The characters are generally likeable for the most part as they are witty, but they are very elitist so they are still human. Most of the bad reviews I have seen of this book are because the characters are elitist and it is a teen diary. These were elements I enjoyed. I loved the way that Flan would random interject and change the story as she was telling it. It gave the novel a more fun reading experience, especially when you can see the sanity of the group completely destroyed from within the group (the same reason why I like The Blair Witch Project).

I return again and again to Daniel Handler for my comedy, but only his adult books have been good for me. I have read some of his teen books, but with little good feeling.

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4 out of 5 stars. I would recommend this book and all of Daniel Handler’s adult books.

You can buy this book here.

~Isaiah

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