Author: Rebecca James
Genre: New Adult, Mystery, Romance, Contemporary
Visit Cooper Bartholomew is Dead‘s goodreads page here
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
SYNOPSIS: Cooper Bartholomew’s body is found at the foot of a cliff.
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?
I received an ARC last November from a Goodreads giveaway, in exchange for an honest review. I know I’m a horrible person!
Cooper Bartholomew is Dead is often referred to as a Young Adult novel, but personally I believe it’s a New Adult. The characters are just starting University which makes them adults .There are also a few sex scenes with far too much detail for a YA, as well as adult themes such as suicide and excessive drug use. So obviously it’s recommended for mature audiences only.
This novel is written in four different perspectives perfectly, it wasn’t confusing at all. These perspectives are:
- Libby whom is the protagonist, and we follow her story for the majority of the novel
- Cooper, Libby’s boyfriend and the one who meets his premature death
- Sebastian, Coopers childhood best friend who is slowly changing and developing a slight hatred towards Cooper
- Claire, Coopers misunderstood ex girlfriend as well as a friend to Sebastian
It is also split into two different time periods. ‘THEN’ is written before Cooper’s death and follows his and Libby’s blossoming relationship, and the beginning of rocky relationships with his friends. ‘NOW’ is obviously written after his death. It follows the three remaining characters and gives us an insight of what actually happened during that horrible night.
I have a love/hate relationship with this novel, at times I was thoroughly enjoying it and then other times I just wanted to give up. I feel as though it’s lacking a major or minor detail, but something is missing. The romance and the ‘THEN’ sections were my favourite parts; I was just consuming them at an incredible pace. Where as the ‘NOW’ sections were full of immense detail and where important to the story, but I found them less enjoyable and quite boring.
What I really enjoyed was the suspense. From the beginning you are questioning everyone and everything, it wasn’t until the huge plot twist (that was a bit obvious and easy to guess) that it became clear what really happened. Rebecca James wrote in such a beautiful way that you can’t help but be drawn into this story and feel every emotion possible during.
The relationship between Cooper and Libby was gosh darn cute! It was so real and believable; It didn’t feel rushed or fiction, which it is. The way they spoke and thought about each other was so refreshing; it wasn’t full of angst and heavy passion. It was passionate but it didn’t over power the story, which was quite refreshing because it barely happens in this genre. Even the sex scenes were full of love and passion rather than rushed and anguished.
The daisy given to Libby by Cooper represents much more than his love for her, I feel that it actually represents his life. He gave her a full grown, beautiful daisy when his life was full of happiness and excitement. Libby then agreed to keep it forever no matter what, as well as her love for Cooper. When Cooper died the daisy was wilting as well, until it was on the verge of decomposing. During the last paragraph the daisy is found once again in the same place it was placed, in the front pocket of Libby’s jeans, and reluctantly she lets it go. From the moment it leaves her hand she regrets her decision, and tries her hardest to pick it up, but it’s already lost in the ocean. This links back to Cooper, because she will always remember him and when she finally lets him go, it will be the hardest thing she will ever do and will always miss the relationship no matter what. (That’s my English studies worming its way into my reading life!)
The main problem I had with this novel is that it was really slow and uneventful. As stated before The ‘THEN’ sections I had no problems with, but the ‘NOW’ was really slow. Personally I would have preferred them to be shorter or maybe have more content; it was basically just Libby questioning the events. If half of it was removed, the book wouldn’t be missing anything spectacular, and it would me more enjoyable.
“That was 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”. Overall I found this quite enjoyable, but the problems I had drastically changed my opinion. I highly recommend this to everyone that loves a bit of romance and mystery. Once again only for mature audiences.