YA Corner: Death and the Girl Next Door by Darynda Jones

I have an awesome surprise for you guys today.  I have special guest on YA Corner today, Darynda Jones.  Many of you may know her Charley Davidson series, but today she is here for her book Death and the Girl Next Door.  The next book in the series, Death, Doom and Detention comes out on March 5th.   If you like the wit and phenomenal storytelling of the Charley Davidson books you will most definitely love Darynda Jones’ foray into Young Adult with Death and the Girl Next Door.  Check out my review after Darynda takes over the blog.  So without further adieu here is Darynda Jones!

Thank you so much for having me today!!!

As a writer of both adult and YA fiction, I get asked all the time why I switched midstream and started writing YA. I have to let the inquirer know it’s actually quite the opposite. I have been writing YA since I was a YA. I later switched and wrote a couple of adult manuscripts, but I went right back to writing YA the first chance I got.

Why, you ask?

I had to really contemplate that question. Why do I love YA so very, very much? I think it boils down to the discovery aspect of it all. The discovery of a first love. The discovery of self. The discovery of a strength the main character didn’t know she possessed. I simply love how everything is raw in YA. Everything is new territory and the main character must grow and face the challenges that are thrown at her no matter how hard it is. Katniss anyone?

In the Darklight Trilogy, Lorelei has to face the fact that she is destined to stop a supernatural war and the fact that, sadly, she has no clue how to do it. She has a gift she doesn’t understand, doesn’t want, and can’t control, and she has an entity living inside her that frightens her to no end. Fortunately, she has been given a cast of friends and family who are there to support and help her on her journey, but what happens when the only hope for humanity has been slated to die and the most beautiful and powerful being walking the earth, the Angel of Death, has been sent for her? A lot! Yeah, a lot happens. Hopefully you will enjoy reading the Darklight Trilogy as much as I enjoyed writing it.

9780312625207_p0_v1_s260x420Book Blurb: (courtesy of http://www.daryndajones.com)

Death and the Girl Next Door

Ten years ago, Lorelei’s parents disappeared without a trace. Raised by her grandparents and leaning on the support of her best friends, Lorelei is finally beginning to accept the fact that her parents are never coming home. For Lorelei, life goes on. High school is not quite as painful as she thinks it will be, and things are as normal as they can be. Until the day the school’s designated loner, Cameron Lusk, begins to stalk her, turning up where she least expects it, standing outside her house in the dark, night after night. Things get even more complicated when a new guy—terrifying, tough, sexy Jared Kovach—comes to school. Cameron and Jared instantly despise each other and Lorelei seems to be the reason for their animosity. What does Jared know about her parents? Why does Cameron tell Jared he can’t have Lorelei? And what will any of them do when Death comes knocking for real? Thrilling, sassy, sexy, and inventive, Darynda Jones’s first foray into the world of teens will leave readers eager for the next installment.


Death and the Girl Next Door is a fantastic YA book.  I am a fan of Darynda Jones’ Charley Davidson Series and was a little worried how her humorous and more explicit writing would transfer over to the YA genre.  I should have known that no matter what Darynda Jones would produce yet another funny, sexy and intriguing read no matter the genre.  In this book we meet Lorelei.  Lorelei has always been different.  She has the ability to the future by touching someone.  The only people who really know this about her are her best friends Brooklyn and Glitch.  Things change when she runs into a guy at the local coffeehouse and sees a disturbing fight scene that entails what looks like medieval weapons and he is fighting what looks like a demon.  Visibly shaken she returns to her friends, but can’t explain what happened and can’t even identify who she touched.  While trying to look for the guy she touched they notice the local outcast/rebel/bad boy Cameron.  Lorelei soon realizes that Cameron is everywhere.  She begins to believe he is stalking her.  On the first day of school she sees Cameron at each turn and tries to avoid him, but then runs into Jared a new dark and mysterious boy that she is immediately attracted to.  Between Jared and Cameron, Lorelei has her hands full.  But, as days past the three of them are drawn together by powers both heavenly and hellish.  This is definitely not your normal teenage experiences.

I loved everything about this book.  The characters are fantastic.  Brooklyn kinda reminds me of a miniature Charley Davidson.  She is the best friend everyone wants and will hurt anyone that hurts you.  She is the undying support Lorelei needs and relies on.  Glitch his name alone endeared him to me along with his ability to skip school and never get caught.  Of course we have the two gorgeous boys in Lorelei’s life that both enrich and confuse.  Just like all other teenage boys.  The story itself is creative and inventive.  It draws you in and before you know it you are at the end of the book dying for more.  I can’t wait for the next book in the trilogy is out,  Death, Doom and Detention.  Overall, this is a great book.  It lives up to the already phenomenal writing of Darynda Jones.  If you don’t normally read Young Adult but you have read Charley Davidson go and pick this up.  You won’t regret it!

I’d like to thank Darynda for stopping by today.  Death and the Girl Next Door is currently out, but the second book in the trilogy , Death, Doom and Detention comes out March 5, 2013.

Author Bio: (courtesy of http://www.daryndajones.com

60089_1387522212739_2985716_nFor reasons known only to the Big Guy upstairs, NYTimes and USA Today Best Selling author Darynda Jones won both a Golden Heart and a RITA for her manuscript FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT. But even before that, she couldn’t remember a time she wasn’t putting pen to paper. When she was five, she would pick up a pencil and notepad, scribble utter chaos onto the page and ask her mom to read her masterpiece aloud. Thankfully, her mother would play along.  Later she wrote plays for the neighborhood kids, made up stories for her brother as he played cars, and fell in love with Captain Kirk. Those raging, seven-year-old hormones only fueled her imagination, prompting her to create fantastical stories for Barbie and Ken to enact. Ken was such a bad boy back then.

After years of being repeatedly sent to the principal’s office for daydreaming in class, she managed to make it to high school where she almost finished her first manuscript. Sitting with her BFF in a corner booth at the local Tastee Freeze for hours at a time, she wrote a post-apocalyptic story about a group of teens who bore a remarkable resemblance to the members of Van Halen and were trying to escape the tunnels of a huge government fallout facility decades after World War III had destroyed the surface of the earth. It was a science fiction version of The Warriors and destined to be a classic.

Life was good. Writing was good. Then she graduated and the real world came crashing through. She forced the dream aside in favor of sustenance and shelter, got married to a local rock star, and had at least two kids that she can think of, the oldest of whom was born Deaf, probably to spite her. When he was five, she packed up her boys and moved to Albuquerque to put him in a Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing program. The rock star stayed behind with the business, and they took turns going back and forth on the weekends to see each other for seven really long years.

While in Albuquerque, Darynda decided to see the cup half full and go back to college while she still had enough brain cells to make it worth her while. After graduating Summa cum Laude from the University of New Mexico with a degree in Sign Language Interpreting, she moved back to her hometown and got a real job. Several in fact, mostly teaching at a local college and interpreting pretty much everywhere. Based on personal experience, she does not recommend having more than three jobs at any given time.

But bit by bit, the desire to write needled its way back to the surface. Unable to squelch it any longer, she started writing seriously again in 2002 with one goal in mind: A publishing contract. Unfortunately, she sucked. Thank goodness practice makes almost-perfect and three complete manuscripts later, she won that Golden Heart, landed an amazing agent and sold to St. Martin’s Press in a three-book deal.

She currently has two series with St. Martin’s Press, the Charley Davidson series and the Darklight Trilogy. She hopes you enjoy reading them as much as she enjoys writing them.

Darynda lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband of almost 30 years and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys.

Girls Rule…Boys Drool…or not?

A theme I have noticed in a lot of the books I have been reading lately is the development of strong alpha female characters.  There aren’t as many stories that focus on the female character being the damsel in distress. There are a lot of female ass-kicking characters now then there ever were.  But, that being said there are quite a few book series that feature very overly Alpha male characters.  You are hard pressed to find many series that balance the two well.  A series in which both are Alphas and work well together.

Female characters such as Anita Blake, Charley Davidson and Mackayla Lane, to name a few, all have very similar character requirements.  They are tough, witty, strong both of character and physically and yet still very feminine.  They are exquisite examples of Girl Power.

Anita Blake, of Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake Series,  is also known as the vampire hunter.  Her series revolves around her but also include a male counterpart, Jean Claude.  The stories illustrate her strengths, weaknesses and her ability to over come them herself not relying souly on Jean Claude to bail her out. The story between her and Jean Claude also does not lead to them automatically jumping into bed.  She sticks to her guns even though there is definite chemistry there.  She is not the shrinking violet or damsel in distress.  In a fight you wouldn’t mind having Anita Blake at your back.

Charley Davidson, of Darynda Jones’ Charley Davidson Series, is also known as the Grim Reaper.  She is a part-time private detective who can communicate with the dead because she is the light that spirits must go into.  She is one of the funniest characters I’ve read in a long time.  She also has a male counterpart in Reyes.  Now, she and Reyes have had hot, sweaty sex but she still keeps her wits about her and still questions the Son of Satan’s  (Reyes) motives.  Charley is definitely headstrong and no non-sense but very relatable.

Mackayla Lane, from Karen Marie Moning’s Fever Series, is our most human of the three female characters I chose.  She does have special powers but it’s not really something most people would want to have.  She can see the Fae without their glamour.  Which means all the awful and ugly facades come crashing at her.  The only reason she learns of these powers is because she leaves her very isolated Georgia home town to Dublin where the Fae are very prominent.  It is here she meets one of the best Alpha males that has been written, Jerricho Barrons.  Mackayla isn’t always the strong character she develops into.  It is her situation, determination and Barrons incessant bullying and pestering that drives her be become what she needs to be.

Since we have covered the female characters we must give props to some of the very strong male characters out there. But, I find that many of the male characters are parts of groups. The Black Dagger Brotherhood and the Lords of the Underworld are some of the strongest male characters that are currently placed on the bookshelves.  They know how to be both sensitive and totally take someone out for messing with their mates.  These men are all Alpha males even though there are leaders in both groups.

J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood contains ALL strong characters.  Each one of them must overcome obstacles from Vishous and his need for pain, Rhage and his inner monster, Zsadist and his tormented past and John Matthew and his human past to name only a few.  But, with overcoming these problems whether physical or mental allow for them to grow as characters and still kick ass and show the Lessers who is boss.  These males take care of theirs and no one better ever threaten what is theirs or face the dire consequences.

Gena Showalter’s the Lords of the Underworld are a bit more complicated considering most of them are two entities.  One half is the man and the other half is the demon they house.  These Lords face similar issues like that of the Brotherhood except they are constantly fighting themselves. Most of the Lords must do things like consistently lie, win every challenge or cut themselves or they are in immense pain.  These cursed men fight those who are trying to destroy them while still protecting their mates.  These men, like the BDB, are strong-willed Alpha males.

I have covered both strong female and male characters.  There are only a few series’ that offer partnerships that allow for both to be Alphas or dominant.  Cat and Bones from Jeaniene Frost’s Nighthuntress series and Elena and Raphael from Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter Series are two that stick out to me.  Both of these strong couples support yet protect each other.  Both allow for dominance and strength in each other while accomplishing their goals.  This type of relationship is rarely seen in novels.  I believe it’s probably just very difficult to write.  It is much easier to have one central character be the dominant.

All this being said, I still am at a loss to which I prefer.  Whether I like the strong, witty, fun female protagonist or the domineering, overly protective/sensitive male protagonist, I am unsure.  But, if those two get together I know they most likely will have fireworks and really sexy love scenes.  And, who doesn’t like a good sex scene?

What do you prefer, A Female Alpha or a Male Alpha? 

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