July 24, 2012

Serial Hottie by Kelly Oram

Release Date: July 10, 2012
Publisher: Bluefields
Pages: 374
Series: n/a
Review Source: eBook for review from author

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Ellie’s sweet sixteen is a summer of firsts. First car. First kiss. First boyfriend. First serial-killing stalker?

Hockey-obsessed tomboy Eleanor Westley has never been the object of a guy’s affection before. So when the hottest boy she’s ever seen moves in across the street and starts treating her like she’s the center of his universe, naturally she’s going to be a little skeptical. But everything starts to make sense when girls who look just like Ellie start dying all around the city. Obviously the new guy is the killer, and of course he only likes her because he wants to slice her into tiny pieces. Right?

The more Ellie gets to know Seth the more she’s convinced he’s a psychopathic killer. The problem is he’s the sweetest psychopathic killer she’s ever met. Not to mention he’s brutally hot. No matter how hard she tries, she can’t help but fall for him. Will Ellie find true love, or will her summer of firsts turn out to be a summer of lasts?

My Thoughts:
I feel like this book had so much potential, and based off the reviews it worked for a lot of people, but unfortunately it didn’t work for me. I loved the actual concept for the book. It’s absolutely absurd, but absolutely awesome. I definitely haven’t read another book like it. I liked the humour and I also appreciate how straightforward Kelly Oram’s writing seems, while being deceptively complex. She set up a really great story that had twists and turns in it, and makes the reader question what they think and what they know. The mystery aspect was actually done quite well, and even when I thought I figured it out I was still questioning my judgement.

What didn’t work so well for me were the stereotypical main characters. Our main character Ellie is a hockey playing tomboy with a filthy mouth and anger management issues. She chooses to punch any and everyone who even annoys her a little bit, and she doesn’t see anything wrong with this behaviour. I get really annoyed in popular culture when it’s dubbed okay for girls to get away with slapping or hitting a guy. Why is this okay? If it were a guy doing it to a girl we would be offended and call it abuse, but for some reason it’s okay in TV, movies, and books for girls to get away with this. Ellie’s sister, Angela, was another stereotype, her being the popular, beautiful older sister who everyone swoons around.

My biggest problem with this book, though, is Ellie’s love interest Seth. I’m not sure what to think about Seth. He’s emotionally unstable, manipulative, and violent, and yet Ellie finds herself “in love” with him, despite being scared of him numerous times and thinking he’s a serial killer. The thing is, I don’t know if Seth is supposed to be a parody or comment on all the abusive love interests in YA, especially paranormal YA. I could almost see how he could be, yet the book itself doesn’t read like a parody. And without the potential parody aspect I really can’t stand how we, as readers, are supposed to swoon for Seth and cheer for him and Ellie to be together, when he tells her what to do, tells her what he’s going to let her do, and physically restrains her (numerous times) when she tries to get away from him.

I hate to be so critical about a book that has a lot of promise, and is, for the most part, smartly written, but I can’t keep quiet about my disdain for this type of love interest in YA fiction. I don’t care that it’s “just fiction”, but I think it sets a dangerous precedent when supposedly “charming” guys are threatening to kill for the girl they “love” and are abusing them emotionally and physically. This type of character and relationship really ruined what could have been a great read.

The Cover:
I really like it. The concept is simple, but the 'ransom letter' font for the title is awesome.


Find Serial Hottie by Kelly Oram on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.


  1. Oh, boo for yet another manipulative, abusive guy in YA. Don't think I'll read this book for that reason alone. Our girls need GOOD examples of GOOD guys, not to hero-worship the jackasses. *sigh*

  2. Too bad it didn't work for you. Ellie doesn't sound like she's very likable - and I love tomboys but she sounds a bit TOO much, like cartoonish almost.

    I don't don't find guys like Seth attractive, love interests like that (in YA or romance novels or whatever) just put me off. I don't see the attraction, therefor I don't feel the chemistry and the pairings almost always fall flat for me.

    anyway, thanks for the honest review. And I hope you next read is much better.

  3. Hmm.. I don't think this one would work for me. Neither of the main characters seems likeable, and the idea of them together romantically just creeps me out. Thanks for the review!

  4. Ever since you commented on my review, I've been waiting to see what you thought. I like seeing different sides of things. :)

    I agree about stereotypes sucking, and I can see how you saw the characters of Serial Hottie that way. I definitely agree that Angela was a major stereotype, but I felt that she developed into more of a well-developed character as the story went on. Not a lot, mind you, but I did feel like when she and Ellie got closer, Angela developed more. Same with Ellie. She was a total tomboy at first, but then I felt like she allowed herself to open up to other stuff. I know what you mean about the double-standard for girls hitting guys, but honestly, I felt that Serial Hottie didn't show that at all.

    Ellie was battered and bruised by the guys she was playing hockey with countless times. And rather than get all huffy and stuff after it happened, she'd get them back the next time they played. Yes, she hit people lots, but I figured the guys laughed about it more in an "awe-aren't-you-a-cute-girl" kind of way. It was their way of teasing her, but when they played together, I felt like there was no whole girls-can-hit-boys-but-boys-can't-hit-girls thing. (That was a lot of hyphens! haha) That's just my take on that issue you had with the book. I do agree that Ellie was a bit too aggressive sometimes though. She had an extremely short fuse!

    And Seth, well I thought sometimes he was creepy, I'll definitely admit to that, but I also understood why he was the way he was. For me, my compassion and empathy for him usually made me see him in a much more favourable light. More awkward with sweet-intentions, than psychotic-killer. I do think that while Seth wasn't the most sane or even favourable character, that Kelly didn't try to paint him that way. I felt like she was showing that it wasn't okay to do all that he was doing, and that Seth was aware that he had issues, and he seemed like he'd be willing to work on them. I'm not sure if she was going for a parody on characters in YA, but who knows, maybe she was. :P I also found him more awkward than anything for the most part. If I had any issue with Seth though, I thought it was how he could go from awkward to completely charming and put-together in no time. That was probably the one thing that had me actually considering him as the killer. I also considered that Travis guy too though...he made Seth look a lot less creepy. :S

    Anyway, thanks for sharing your review with us, Ashley. It's too bad that Serial Hottie didn't work for you, but hopefully you'll find a book with a somewhat similar premise that you love. :D

    1. Yay for dialogue! That's the best thing about books, I think... that we can all see different things in them, and take different conclusions away from the book.

      I can definitely see where you're coming from, especially re: Seth's awkwardness. I actually agree with you in some regards with both the characters and how they were developed, I just think it wasn't enough so. Not that I want it to be all didactic, but I think the creepiness could've been developed in a different way that didn't result in Seth being physically abusive (which is what I consider it when a girl is telling a guy to let her go and he is physically restraining her and hurting her).

      Ambur, seriously thank you for your thoughts. I loved reading them, and like I said, I love that we can have these types of discussions about books. =)

    2. I couldn't agree more, Ashley! :D If we can't actually talk about the things we like and don't like about books, we don't really have anything to talk about, and I agree. It's especially nice to talk about book's rationally. :P I never understand why people choose to argue over it when they can simply talk calmly instead. :P

      I can see your side to that. There definitely could have been more development. That's true. Seth could have developed in a very different way, and I agree, I really didn't like when he would try and restrain Ellie...although when she was throwing stuff at his head, I did kind of get it that time...although he still dragged her to his room. They both didn't handle that situation very well. She was snooping, he tried to talk to her, she thought he was going to kill her and tried to knock him out...just kinda crazy in general. :P I figured that side of him was more developed because Kelly wanted it to seem like he could definitely and logistically be the killer, but I agree. It would have been better if he hadn't had the physically creepy side. Perhaps if the book had gone on for a little longer, Seth could have had more development...but I guess then it might not have made too much of a difference after all that happened in the rest of the book. I think we both agree that Seth could have been less creepy though. :P lol

      You're welcome, Ashley, and I really enjoyed your reply, too. :) I completely agree. :D It's awesome when we both love the same books, but I also love discussing the different sides with you. :)

  5. I love the idea behind this book. It's too bad it didn't work for you.


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment; I appreciate each one!


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