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#Prettyboy Must Die
by Kimberly Reid
After his first failed mission, Peter Smith goes undercover at an exclusive school in Colorado. Peter is supposed to be keeping a low profile. When Peter goes out for a late-night run, a classmate snaps a picture of him and posts the caption “See Prettyboy run.” When the picture becomes a viral sensation, Peter knows he’s in trouble. Before the end of the day, Peter’s school is under attack as a terrorist wants revenge. This former-foster-kid turned CIA operative will have to use all of his skills and training to stay alive.
Told from Peter’s point of view, #Prettyboy Must Die starts out with action and intrigue. However, right from the start the plot is over the top and unrealistic. The action continues throughout the story, but there are too many scenes where Peter and his friends unrealistically knock out an adult, professional, or mobster.
Having the story told from Peter’s point of view did not necessarily improve the story’s appeal as he is arrogant and doesn’t believe that others can be an asset. Peter doesn’t think girls can be accomplished and smart, which is shown several times, including when he thinks the hacker cannot be a girl because she is pretty. Girls are portrayed in a negative light once again when a group of girls don’t worry about the danger they face; they just want a picture of #prettyboy.
#Prettyboy Must Die is not a serious spy book, but it is a fast-paced story that leaves the reader wondering who can be trusted. For those looking for an easy-to-read, fun story, #Prettyboy Must Die is a good choice. Even though the violence is not described in detail and is appropriate for younger readers, there is a wide range of profanity that is used often. If you loved Aly Carter’s Gallagher Girls series, you may want to leave #Prettyboy Must Die on the shelf.
- Katie changes her clothing in front of Peter. He thinks, “It takes me a second to realize I probably shouldn’t be staring like I’ve just seen the promised land . . . But I can’t help but comment because, you know, Katie. Half-naked. ‘Hey girl, as much as I’d like to, this probably isn’t a good time.’”
- Peter thinks about a date with Katie, “. . . I remember our one date, our first kiss, and I want to kiss her again. . .” Later in the story, he asks Katie, “Are you sure you didn’t know who I was when I asked you out? Because the way you kissed me. . . I mean, after the movie, in your car—”
- When Katie sees a black SUV and realizes it has come to pick her up, she kisses Peter. “. . . I damn near forget about Sveta, Rogers, and the entire universe. I hold her like it will be the last time. She kisses me again like it’s only a preview of more to come.”
- The CIA raids an arms dealer’s hideout and a man is killed. “Marchuk Sr. is now on the floor three feet inside the house, knocked that far back by the shot that has to have killed him instantly.” The raid is described over four pages. During the raid, Peter is shot.
- When a classroom is taken hostage, the chemistry teacher tries to tackle Bad Guy #2. The bad guy puts the teacher in a “choke hold. Before I can even process what’s happening, the bad guy is already done with Mr. Valaquez, who he lets slump to the floor, unconscious. Or worse.”
- Someone kicks one of the bad guys. “It doesn’t take a genius to figure out where, considering all the moaning.”
- A bad guy hits a school employee and Peter hears “the sound of a fist hitting bone.” Later in the story, Peter sees a teacher who is hiding, and “I throw a left hook across his face and knock him the hell out. . . I’m pissed he’s in here hiding out instead of heading back to his class. . .”
- When Peter tricks a bad guy into coming into a classroom. “That’s when I land the steel baton against his pterion, the weakest point on the skull, immediately incapacitating him. Or possibly killing him.” He takes out two other bad guys in the same way.
- Katie is captured and a bad guy beats her. “. . . Officer Andrews is holding Katie by one arm, or more like holding her up.” Peter is tied to a chair and when he struggles “he hauls off and lands a right cross that feels like a sledgehammer against my face.” Later, as the bad guy is talking to Peter, he hits him in the face. Katie saves the day with, “A brutal kick to his junk . . . she hooks her foot around his ankle, sweeps his legs out from under him, then straddles his back. I’m certain it’s an image I won’t soon forget—girl of my dreams on top of the guy who wants to kill me.”
- When the bad guy begins to recover from “the ball-kick she (Katie) gave him and is starting to squirm . . . she grabs Marchuk’s hair and slams his face into the floor, knocking him out.”
- Peter attacks a bad guy. “. . . I land my fist against the side of his head. . .and kick him in the jewels. That brings him to his knees, but I know it won’t be for long.”
- Peter and Katie go after a bad guy and he threatens to shoot them, but Peter shoots first. “When the bullet hits his left knee, he goes down before he can get off a single round. I hear the sound of metal against bone. Maglite against skull.”
- Someone tries to use a drone to kill Peter and Katie. “Just as Katie takes off running, I hear a car come over the ridge, followed by a loud thump. I turn back in time to see Sveta on the car’s hood, her phone flying through the air. . . The car screeches to a stop and Sveta slides off and onto the ground, moaning. For a brief moment, I regret that she’s still alive.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- A character said, “My layabout son takes nothing seriously, is only concerned about spending my money on women and drink.”
- Peter gives the principal tickets to the game. After the game, the principal tells Peter, “I damn near went broke on stadium beer, but that’s what I get for celebrating a little too hard.” Later in the story, he tells Peter, “I’d been sick all morning, hungover. . .”
- When Peter overhears someone say bank robbers are in the school, he thinks, “the average bank robber does so on impulse and out of desperation, usually some loser meth-head needing a hit.”
- Katie injects several bad guys with carfentanil, a drug that is “ten thousand times stronger than morphine, so it acts quickly, and it only takes a drop or two.”
- Peter and his friend are captured, and “then the crazy chick starts singing a kid’s chant to figure out which one of us she will shoot first.” Before she can shoot them, “Katie falls through the ceiling and onto the psycho’s back.”
- When a bad guy crushes a boy’s hand, Katie fires her gun, but the bullet accidently hits Peter. Peter wants to know why he isn’t dead and Katie tells him, “It doesn’t shoot bullets. It was supposed to shoot nerve gas. . .”
- Profanity is used often and includes: ass, asshole, damn, dickhead, fucking, goddamn, hell, and pissed off.
- When a teacher sees three incapacitated bad guys, he said, “Jesus H. Christ—are those terrorists?” Then he asks Peter, “Who the hell are you?”
- “Oh My God” is used as an exclamation several times. For example, a girl says, “Oh my God. I sit two rows over from him in calculus. . . How did I not notice how hot he is?”
- Peter sees a classmate and thinks, “I see Carlisle’s resident douche.”
- When a teacher is looking for a bug, Peter thinks, “Despite the crazy that is happening all around us, watching The Douche have a near breakdown is fucking hilarious.”