Grade: 2.8 stars out of 5
You Killed Wesley Payne was just too much for me. While in the midst of being surrounded by Beaudoin’s originality and creativity I was lost more than once, and bored a good third of the book. After finishing the book I was a little ticked off. There’s a thin line between a great plot twist and some random bloshite* and Beaudoin tip toes his way back and forth on that line.
You Killed Wesley Payne offers readers some extras: a clique chart and index, a glossary because readers will really need this, and a few original Dalton stories. On screen this is a brilliant idea. On paper the chart is complicated, difficult to follow, with bolded text, bigger bolded text, and lines crisscrossing whichever way. The index was massive blocks of text that after two full paragraphs I gave up entirely. The glossary and extra stories I had no qualms with. Those I enjoyed immensely especially with the continuation of Dalton’s side notes and remarks.
With the actual body work of the novel the language is the first thing I picked up on. Some reviewers called it neo-noir. I have no idea what that means and will not pretend otherwise, but as I stated previously, the glossary will help out immensely. Secondly I noticed the lack of authority figures and the amount of violence and corruption there is in the book. Dystopia, anyone, within a high school setting? That’s a new one for me. Continuing through, readers find scenes dealing with relationship issues—parental, siblings, and opposite sex wise. Realistic, almost contemporary fiction? I’m a fan of contemporary. So You Killed Wesley Payne was imaginative, definitely something I haven’t particularly read, with two possible genres that I’ve enjoyed before, with a murder mystery at the forefront; what’s not to love? The answer to that question is the pace. The heavy text, the random dialogue that does not fit, and the slow crawl with no action set the book back so far.
In the end I did not enjoy You Killed Wesley Payne. There is a big audience for the creativity that You Killed Wesley Payne demonstrated, but I am not part of that audience.
*a term originated by Beaudoin
Source: Hip Scout / Little, Brown and Company
Published: 01 February 2011