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Premeditated was probably my most highly anticipated standalone novel of 2013. Vengeance story, you say? SOLD. Nothing gets me more than a good vengeance story. The novel isn't exactly what I would it would be based on what I'd heard, but it's still a great contemporary YA/mystery. Even Dinah's difficult personality and how much energy it takes to simply let her be without criticizing her for her numerous, later-admitted flaws aren't enough to stop this book from being worth the read!
The jacket copy makes it sound like Premeditated is going to be a really screwed-up book and dark as can be, but it's a very different book inside. Dinah's pursuit of the boy she believes pushed her darling cousin Claire to suicide is immature at times in the lengths she goes to (like spiking foods to give the guy a false positive on a drug test), but it works. Her single-minded personality and utterly rapturous descriptions of what it feels like to be her when the cousin she loves more than anything is fighting for her life in the hospital make it all work. Her character is not a kind one or an easy one; it is a character that must simply be taken as it is. More humorous moments usually provided by her best friends Tabitha and Brucey keep things balanced, as does an improbable romance between Dinah and Brooks.
The way she describes Chandi, one of Brooks' friends, for most of the novel really grated on me because she was falling just short of sex-shaming (using that term now instead of slut-shaming for reasons) and Dinah pretty much does sex-shame late in the novel, but thankfully, Chandi's character gets a good, thorough flip and a whole lot of depth. I loved Chandi before because I knew she was getting a bad deal, but once she had her big scene with Dinah toward the end of the book, I wanted to keep her.
Readers are probably going to see the truth of the mess long before Dinah does and that can be a little frustrating, no doubt. I accidentally spoiled myself before reading the novel and knew it the whole time, so I'm not a good judge of it, but it didn't bother me too much. Because I knew what, I wanted to know why even though I was pretty sure I'd answered that question on my own too. This novel definitely doesn't have the sort of mystery that keeps you in the dark until its resolution. It does have a very satisfying resolution, though. It's bittersweet, but justice will be served.
It's really a shame this book hasn't gotten more promotion because it's good. Really, really good. It means taking Dinah's single-minded way of doing things and the way she ignores obvious signs as they are even though those are difficult traits to simply let lie, but it's so worth it in the end. I'm definitely up for some more contemporaries from her. I'm already in for her next book, which is the second in a series with another publisher.