Buzzkill is a mystery/romance novel by Beth Fantaskey that follows Millicent, a fiery redheaded high school reporter, on her quest to solve a murder. Along the way, she tries to save her father’s reputation, defeat her arch-nemesis and overcome the effects of her mother’s death. She also befriends a handsome but mysterious quarterback with a shady past and a friendly but smelly basset hound.
I thought some parts of the story were really cheesy, but it fit well with the themes of high school romance and self discovery. It added to the plot instead of seeming cliche because the protagonist is a 17-year-old girl, so some dramatics and basicness can be expected. At times, the cheesiness was even comical. It’s nice to have a relatable main character that actually exemplifies what being a teenager is like, the good and the bad.
The hesitant romance between Millicent and Chase is a centerpoint of the novel, but it doesn’t distract too much from the action. It adds an extra focus for the reader, so there is never a dull moment where the audience is wondering when the next plot twist will shake things up. The push and pull between the two made me even more hooked to the story because I was always left puzzled about where the relationship would go. Some might see the constant action, plot twists, and ups and downs of romance as distracting and overwhelming, but for someone like me with a short attention span, it kept the story entertaining and fresh. Sure, keeping track of all of the suspects and characters was difficult at times, but that’s just part of the fun of mystery novels.
This novel also deals with heavier themes such as guilt and penance, truth and lies, the loss of a parent, irresponsible driving, and revenge. These themes flowed in with the humor and the drama so well that I didn’t even realize I was actually learning about them as I read. It helped me to see that there can be more than just two sides to a story, and not everything in life is black and white. Sometimes the bad-guy looks like a good-guy and the good-guy can seem like the bad-guy. Hearing someone’s story and stepping into their shoes, even if you have prejudices about them, is important in every stage of life. Also, there is some violence, which on one hand adds to the heaviness and is an important part of the plot, but I would warn anyone who dislikes that sort of thing or is squeamish to stay away from this book.
All in all, Buzzkill will have you on the edge of your seat until the very last page, and it’s absolutely worth a read. The last part of the book is plot-twist after plot-twist until you’re not sure what else could possibly happen in five chapters. It is kind of lengthy and cheesy, but by the time I got into the last half of the book I could not put it down. I definitely recommend Buzzkill to anyone who loves, football, cheesy romance, mystery novels like Nancy Drew, and tons of high school drama.