Review Blog

Dec 11 2014

Cooper Bartholomew is dead by Rebecca James

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Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743319239
(Age: 15+) Recommended. Mystery. Drugs. Suicide. Libby, Cooper's girlfriend, has doubts when the official finding states that Cooper Bartholomew's death was a suicide. His body was found at the foot of a cliff, but she had believed that they were happy together and that Cooper had a fulfilling job. She is determined to find out the truth and starts to unravel just what happened on the night that he died.
The main characters have all left school, and many are at university. Cooper's best friend Sebastian and his ex-girlfriend party hard and take drugs but Cooper, happily employed as a cabinet maker, was beginning to find that was not for him before his death.
The story is told through the eyes of the main characters, with the reader getting to know both the past and the present events and the people who feature in them. Starting with 'Now', a short chapter describes Cooper's death from his point of view. The story then veers to a chapter told by Libby when she hears about Cooper's death. Sebastian, Cooper's best friend from childhood, is devastated, and Claire who is still in love with Cooper, tells of her feelings and the events that happened that night. With Libby, the reader has to unravel all the clues and red herrings left by the different characters, hoping to find the truth behind his death.
This is an engrossing book, which I read in a couple of sittings, eager to get to the end and find out the truth of what happened to Cooper. James tied the mystery up very neatly with a few twists and unexpected turns, making it a very satisfying read for those who love mysteries.
It is definitely aimed at the 'New Adult' market with drugs, a drug overdose and a sex scene and protagonists who are of university age. However the themes of peer pressure, being in the right group, respecting friends and self-esteem make it a thoughtful for older teens.
Pat Pledger

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