Thursday, April 25, 2013

Sketchy (Early Book Review)

Thursday, April 25, 2013 11:48 AM with 4 comments

Sketchy (Bea Catcher Chronicles, #1)


Author: Olivia Samms
Publisher: Amazon 
Number of Pages: 238
Release Date: April 30, 2013

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A popular cheerleader—raped, beaten, and left for dead. An edgy outsider with a gift. Can they team up to catch a killer?

Bea’s life has been a mess ever since she got kicked out of private school and sent to rehab. Now clean, Bea is starting over at Packard High School, in a city shaken from two assaults on young women. The latest victim, Willa Pressman—the one who survived—doesn’t remember a thing. But Bea has a disturbing new “skill”: she can see—and then draw—images from other people’s minds. And when she looks at Willa, Bea is shocked by what she sketches. Bea might be the only one who knows Willa’s secrets—and who can take down the killer before he strikes again.


Sketchy has a very interesting premise. It's a teen murder mystery, but unlike other teen sleuth books, like Deadly Cool for example, this book has that dark edge that adult mysteries often have. This book deals with heavy issues like rape and heavy drug use that are often deemed too serious for YA. This book is definitely an "older teen" book.

Bea used to go to a affluent private school, but after a particular harrowing incident with drugs that put her in the hospital and led to a bout in rehab, she now finds herself going to a huge, impersonal public school. There she meets an old acquaintance from art camp, Chris, who quickly becomes her token gay best friend. Bea has been clean for 3 months and consistently goes to AA/NA meetings to help her stay clean. She regrets her past drug and alcohol use and is actively trying to stay away from the people in her past who served as bad influences, including her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend. 

Her new sobriety brings with it a new found ability to literally draw thoughts from peoples' heads. When she looks at somebody she is able to sketch what they are thinking. Willa is the latest victim of the killer who has been stalking local teenage girls. She was raped, beaten, and left in the woods to die, but she survived. What Bea draws when she looks at Willa shocks her.  

Sketchy had quite a few positive aspects. I really like Bea. She knows she made a lot of mistakes in her past, and is actively trying to change her life. The flashbacks that show how she got sucked into this deviant world of drugs, alcohol, and partying were both realistic and understandable. I liked that she was biracial, which seems rare in YA. I enjoyed the darkness of the book. Sometimes I just want something dark and I like it when YA veers into that, um, sketchier side of the human psyche. Her parents were both present. And they actually cared! I found her parents and the family relationships very realistic. They love their daughter and are concerned about her lapsing. Because of that the mother sometimes snoops and the father pushes for her think about her future. Her friendship with Chris brought the book the needed levity. The book is very fast-paced, which is important to mysteries, in my opinion. The killer was appropriately scary as was his reasoning. 

And that "power"! To be able to draw peoples thoughts is such a cool and original premise. 
Some things that definitely didn't work for me were: How Willa wouldn't cooperate with Bea as she tried to figure out who the killer was. If somebody raped and tried to murder you wouldn't you want that dude caught, like, yesterday? Not only did Willa not help, she actively tried to impede Bea. What? Also, the hint of romance at the end was completely innappropriate and mind-boggling. I cannot even fathom why the author made the choice to veer off into that unseemly direction. 

Overall, I enjoyed Sketchy. I found it to be a quick, enjoyable read and appreciate that the author didn't try to drag it on for longer than necessary at the expense of the pace. I sometimes feel like authors believe their YA books have to be 400 pages long, but that just isn't always the case. I liked the dark aspects and would recommend this book to those that enjoy the darkside, at least occasionally. 

*I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review* 


  1. Wow, I really like that premise! Great review. :) I might pick up this book sometime.

    1. Thanks, Ana! It's not winning any awards, but it's fun for what it is.

  2. I like the idea behind this book too, but haven't heard much about it. Thanks for sharing!

    Samantha @ Reading-AndCoffee

    1. Thanks, Samantha! I had never heard of it until I saw it on NetGalley. These new YA books from Amazon Children's Publishing don't seem be getting a lot of attention. I tried to read another book from the publisher called You Know What You Have to Do, but it was pretty bad. This one's writing is rough in parts, but it's a quick, easy read. Thank for stopping by!


Hello, there! Thanks for taking the time to comment. I read each and every one and will do my best to respond--usually on your blog instead of on mine. I will, however, always answer direct questions. Due to serious time restraints, this blog is now an award free zone, but I appreciate the thought!