Lacking atmosphere...

filled star filled star filled star star unfilled star unfilled
tanya_w Avatar


Thank you BookishFirst, Penguin Teen, and Putnam Books for this physical ARC!

I don't even know what to write about this book because what??? I don't know, it's not like I was forcing myself to get through this book, but it wasn't...that fun. the premise is so interesting- set in the 1930s, this book is the murder of a Hollywood star Lulu Wong, and two sisters setting out to solve it. Lulu, a girl who made a name for herself by becoming an actress and leaving Chinatown, is known by all. Gemma and May Chow, who went to school with Lulu, know that the police won't give Lulu's case the time of day because of her Chinese ethnicity, and they decide to investigate their friend's murder.

I wanted the suspenseful and noir atmosphere of old Hollywood. I wanted the black-and-white mystery. this could've been SO good, but instead, I didn't feel it. I didn't feel much at all. Do I really care about the characters? Do I even know that much about them? I felt incredibly neutral during this. if this had been written well, I would've been invested in Gemma and May's safety as they got closer to the truth, and my heart would've hurt for every single one of the side characters. may's character arc was satisfying to read, but I do wish I could've seen more of Gemma.
I did like that the mystery was easy to follow for someone like me, who literally has never guessed the killer once, and the sisterly bond between the two MCs was really sweet.

Stacey Lee's writing style is pretty, but the constant figurative language was so ANNOYING. No 18 or 19 year olds are spouting out sayings and idioms every two sentences. Gemma and may wield these sayings like weapons, and it was interesting to see their culture and the things they were brought up to believe in the beginning, but once it was idiom after idiom and metaphor after metaphor I was done.

I'm so disappointed- the cover is stunning and I wish the story was just as good.