Written by Rebecca James
Contemporary, Thriller, New Adult
Published September 24th 2014
Thank you to Allen and Unwin Australia
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Cooper Bartholomew's body is found at the foot of a cliff.Suicide. That's the official finding, that's what everyone believes. Cooper's girlfriend, Libby, has her doubts. They'd been happy, in love. Why would he take his own life?As Libby searches for answers, and probes more deeply into what really happened the day Cooper died, she and her friends unravel a web of deception and betrayal. Are those friends, and enemies, what they seem?Who is hiding a dangerous secret? And will the truth set them all free?
No one will ever forget the call that came that morning, Cooper's body was found at the bottom of a cliff, the authorities branding his death as a suicide. His long time best friend Sebastian called Cooper's former girlfriend Claire, and Libby's mother is the first to break the tragic news to her daughter, a girl who thought Cooper may have just held her forever. But Cooper's gone and leaves behind a grieving a girlfriend, a former girlfriend whose life has spiraled into a mix of addiction and abuse, and a best friend that has lost the only person who understood his complex and damaged life. Cooper was popular, but most importantly, he was happy. So how did his life end in tragedy?
Libby refuses to believe that Cooper was depressed, he spoke of a future together and wanted more than a small town existence. He wanted, but he didn't want to end his life. It's up to Libby to retrace Cooper's final steps. Cooper's last thoughts were if only he could have told Libby the truth.
Incredible. Phenomenal. Unprecedented. Exceptional. There isn't one particular word to summarise the brilliance that is Cooper Bartholomew is Dead. It lured me in, kept me enthralled and left me with a bittersweet and emotional ending. This is how you create one of the best young adult novels that readers will inhale.
That's the thing about people like Cooper. They were so noticeable to us. they loomed so large and bright on our social radars. and yet to them we were barely blips. We knew stuff about them, we talked about them and watched them. We dreamed of being invited to their stupid parties. But they knew nothing about us. Not our names, not even our faces. They were indifferent. They made us feel small and boring. They made us feel invisible.
Told from four perspectives, Libby, Sebastian, Claire and from Cooper himself, the story begins with Cooper recalling his own death as he lay crumpled and fighting for life and then alternates between Libby, Sebastian and Claire as they recall their time with Cooper before his death, and the aftermath he has left behind. In a state of profound grief, Libby simply can't accept that Cooper would have taken his own life and begins to retrace what happened the night prior to when his body was found. But Cooper was the link between the three young adults and it seems everyone has a different story to tell.
The tender romance between Cooper and Libby was simply beautiful. Both from different worlds, her character offered a sense of tranquility and an alternative to the fast and furious lifestyle that Sebastian offered. But both Sebastian and Claire resented Libby, believing she was occupying far too much of his time and wanted nothing more than to ruin his relationship. But both cared deeply for Cooper and even when intoxicated or abusing narcotics, neither character could be seen as the reason Cooper is dead. The storyline weaves intrigue traces of secrets and lies, while providing heartwarming and tender moments from Cooper's life leading up to his death. The characters are all ages in their late teens to early twenties, casting Cooper Bartholomew is Dead fall into the category of new adult as it does contain mature content such as drug and alcohol abuse and sexual situations.
Rebecca James is now on my favourite author list, also having recently devoured Sweet Damage. She's an incredible storyteller with a talent for keeping readers on the edge of their seat. This is a must read, you won't be disappointed.