Vivian Divine is Dead
by Lauren Sabel
Expected Publication Date: June 3, 2014
Length: 288 pages
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This is no way influenced my final opinion of the work.
Format Read In: E-ARC
View from the Traffic Light:
When a death threat arrives with teen celebrity Vivian Divine’s fan mail, Vivian has no choice but to go on the run to Mexico. She soon discovers, though, that her Oscar-nominated performance killing villains on-screen did nothing to prepare her for escaping a madman in real life. Some people say he’s a hero, others tremble in his presence, but one thing is clear: he won’t stop until Vivian is in his grasp. Why didn’t she pay more attention during those judo lessons for her role in Zombie Killer?
Vivian finds an ally in the mysterious and charming Nick. He is everything Hollywood boys are not-genuine, kind, and determined to see Vivian for who she really is. But even he seems like he can’t be trusted-what could he be hiding?
Beat up, hungry, and more confused than ever about who she’s running from, Vivian is living in a real-life blockbuster horror flick. But there’s no option to yell “cut” like there is on set….
Lauren Sabel’s Vivian Divine Is Dead is a creepy, witty, fast-paced adventure about family, fame, and having the courage to save yourself.
As soon as I saw the cover for Vivian Divine is Dead, I knew I had to read it. I loved the way the title played into all the other cover elements. Once I read the summary, I was hooked. I mean, what more could you want than a Hollywood star having to run for her life to Mexico?
Apparently, a lot. Vivian Divine is Dead is fast-paced and it definitely sucked me in. I can say I mostly enjoyed reading it while that was happening, but as soon as I reached the end I had one of those “WHAT did I just read?” moments. I think the strengths of this book is that something’s constantly happening, so it is rather hard to put down, and the action starts almost immediately.
The glimpse we get into Vivian’s daily life was intriguing. We learn that her mother was recently murdered, and now Vivian is worried as well. I loved the glimpse into Vivian’s day-to-day life as a teenage star, and also how she handled the pressure of worrying for her life. Unfortunately, all this interest went out the window once Vivian hopped on a bus. At the beginning, Vivian was clearly used to a cushy life, but she also showed signs of being clever and resourceful, even if those weren’t traits she had to use in daily life. In Mexico, these traits disappear. I don’t expect Vivian to be completely capable, but one could hope she would learn through the course of the story. Nope.
The plot of Vivian Divine is Dead is convoluted at best. Sometimes, this seems to work, but at the end I was having trouble keeping up with all the double-crossing. I will say some of it was set up really well, and I give props for that, but others didn’t make sense, which was something I thought in the last half of this book a LOT. None of the characters seem to act with any reasoning or logic at all. I understand characters having twisted logic, but it should still make sense in some ways.
Also, let’s talk about the romance. Aside from romances I hate because of dependency or unhealthy tendencies, the romance in this book is quite possibly my least favorite from a book. Nick is arrogant, condescending, and treats Vivian as if she could never be self-sufficient. Because of this, Vivian never DOES act self-sufficient, and falls completely head-over-heels with Nick in a matter of days. It should be said she doesn’t really treat him very well either. Her first interaction with him is to command him to help her find her missing bag. It’s only once she realizes he’s capable in the harsh landscape and could be useful that she seems to have any feelings toward him at all. And this romance took up much more of this novel than I would have liked, much to the demise of the plot.
In the end, I think, what happened in Vivian Divine is Dead is a lack of development both of the plot and the characters. This book is short, and I think it’s really too short for the story that is being told. It had potential, and I really loved it at the beginning, but it fell apart, at least for me, at about twenty percent in. I loved the premise, but couldn’t get behind the execution.
I loved the premise and the cover of Vivian Divine is Dead, but didn’t much like the actual story. I wanted to, but found a lack of character and plot development difficult to overcome. The quick pace was a bonus, but the reasoning of the characters seemed to suffer, and I hated the romance. 2/5 cupcakes.