Book Review: Pretty Dead Queens by Alexa Donne

Pretty Dead Queens by Alexa Donne

I think I’m a little obsessed with all these YA thrillers! They seem to have really made a resurgence this year. Or maybe I’m wrong and an idiot who hadn’t noticed all of these before the good girls guide to murder series. This category is turning into my comfort category of books that I read in one sitting and can really do no wrong. Pretty Dead Queens is no exception to this rule. I’m excited to be writing this review for you guys!


Firstly though, I really do have to thank TBR and Beyond Tours for providing me with this arc via NetGalley! I was slated to do a review earlier in the month and missed it! They’ve been incredibly kind about this!

Pretty Dead Queens is a YA thriller that came out on the 4th of October! It’s been published by Random House and is 333 pages long. This is not Alexa Donne’s first book, and most of you will know her as the author of The Ivies, that was out in May 2021.


Cecilia moves to live with her grandmother after her mom passes away. As a copycat killer strikes again, she has to find out who killed the homecoming queen this time and if the original killer caught was really the right one.

It took me under 2 hours to read Pretty Dead Queens. It’s a fun read with a dead girl set in a small town. At least the small town is in California. I loved loved loved the references that the author made to another book that was set in a small town, which I can guarantee all of you have read, watched the movie of, or at least heard off. If you haven’t, then I believe you live under a shockingly dense rock or are a child who has no business being on the internet. 

It was really interesting to see how poisonous people can be on the inside and how much people are willing to overlook when they’re dead. Motives can also be strange; sometimes, you just need to watch how people look when they die.

To be fair, while I think the above was pretty spoilery, the twists in the book are so good. I suspected one of them, but really the last one, which was a tad over dramatic, was something I just couldn’t see coming at all!  


After the death of her mom (screw cancer), seventeen-year-old Cecelia Ellis goes to live with her estranged grandmother, a celebrated author whose Victorian mansion is as creepy as the murder mysteries she writes. On the surface, life is utterly ordinary in the California coastal town . . . until the homecoming queen is murdered. And she’s not Seaview’s first pretty dead queen.

With a copycat killer on the loose, Cecelia throws herself into the investigation, determined to crack the case like the heroines in her grandmother’s books. But the more Cecelia digs into the town’s secrets, the more she worries that her own mystery might not have a storybook ending.

Alexa Donne is the author of sci-fi romance retellings Brightly Burning and The Stars We Steal, as well as the young adult thrillers The Ivies and the forthcoming Pretty Dead Queens, both published by Crown/Random House. A graduate of Boston University, she works in TV marketing and has done pro bono college admissions mentoring since 2014. A true INFJ, in her “free” time she mentors with WriteGirl, runs the Author Mentor Match program, and manages one of the most popular writing advice channels on YouTube. She lives in Los Angeles and you can find her in most places @alexadonne.

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