BOOK REPORT for Wanted: Dead or in Love by Kym Brunner

Cover Story: Don’t Cry, Big Face

BFF Charm: Yay

Swoonworthy Scale: 7

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Talky Talk: Multiple Personalities

Bonus Factors: Bad Boy, History Lesson

Relationship Status: Partners in Crime

 Wanted: Dead or In Love

Cover Story: Don’t Cry, Big Face

I know it’s hard, Big Face, having to share your cover space with so much text. But don’t worry—I’m sure you’ll be back in all your lone glory soon enough!

Side note: The girl on the cover actually looks like the main character, which is unusual for a YA book, so I have to give the designer props for that.

The Deal:

Monroe has long been enamored with the story of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, the two young gangsters whose lives were cut short after a crime spree in the early 1900s that caused headlines nationwide. So much so that when her father, owner of a gangster-themed bar, brings home the slugs that killed them, Monroe can’t resist the urge to touch them.

Soon, Monroe starts hearing a young woman’s Southern-accented voice in her head and having vivid dreams of events involving bank robberies and a good-looking young man. And when Jack, a boy she met at a party and let hold the slugs, starts acting a lot like a young gangster from 1920s Dallas, Monroe realizes her urges have had some unforeseen consequences.

BFF Charm: Yay

Monroe steals, parties and has had some trouble with the law. This behavior’s not entirely who she wants to be, however. She knows what she’s doing is wrong, but she can’t quite seem to make herself listen to the part of her who wants to be better. On the outside, Monroe is not the kind of girl I would have hung out with in high school. But getting to know her through her own POV made me realize that she’s actually quite awesome, and would make for an excellent friend.

Swoonworthy Scale: 7

When Monroe and Jack first meet, Monroe is quite literally bored of him. He thinks he’s hot stuff, but he’s actually kind of a d-bag. His personality is greatly improved after he comes into contact with the slugs. Afterward, Jack is still lame, but the other personality knows exactly what to say to charm a lady, and Monroe has trouble resisting. Things get quite steamy, even before Monroe’s passenger tries to force her way to the surface.

Talky Talk: Multiple Personalities

Kym Brunner has woven four POVs through Wanted: Dead or in Love. If that sounds like a lot—it is. The chapters only switch between two, and the other two come into play in bits and pieces, through the others’ eyes. The personalities are all different enough that it’s not hard to tell them apart, which shows that Brunner has a good grasp on writing characters.

Where Brunner falls short, however, is with descriptive language. There’s so much telling rather than showing throughout the book, and it does little to add to the plot. Readers don’t need to know the name of all of the streets a character can see when they’re looking out the window unless they’re vital to the plot. (They weren’t.)

Bonus Factor: Bad Boy

At first, Jack is totally not a bad boy. He’s a stereotypical preppie guy who golfs and has very little in the way of swagger. But after he touches the slugs, the personality that comes to light has swagger in spades. And as much as it’s dangerous, it’s also extremely hot.

Bonus Factor: History Lesson

Peppered throughout Wanted: Dead or in Love are references to historical events involving Bonnie and Clyde. I’m not all that familiar with their stories, so these were, for the most part, new to me. And very interesting. (I can only trust that Brunner did her research as far as accuracy goes.)

Casting Call:

Krysten Ritter as Monroe

Xavier Samuel as Jack

Emile Hirsch and Holliday Grainger can play Bonnie and Clyde in flashbacks, since they have experience doing so.

Relationship Status: Partners in Crime

Although the way you told your story, book, was a bit rushed at times, and you wanted me to believe what you were telling me so badly at times that it was almost pitiful, in the end, the time we spent together was worth it. Your story was unique and—dare I say it—even a bit sexy.

Wanted: Dead or in Love is available now.

Mandy lives in Austin, TX, where she's an editor/writer for an educational non-profit by day and a pop culture junkie by night. When she's not ensconced in a book for Forever Young Adult, Mandy can be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.