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Wish You Were Dead (The Thrillogy) Hardcover – September 22, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9–11—When a high school student announces on her blog that she hates Lucy Cunningham and wishes her dead, no one takes her seriously—until a few days later, when Lucy disappears. Madison Archer is particularly shaken by the disappearance, as she was the one who drove the missing girl home and was the last to see her that night. In addition to her guilt over not seeing Lucy safely to her door, Madison is also trying to uncover the identities of a cyber stalker who sends her Facebook messages lecturing her about her cliquishness and an anonymous "friend" who leaves her hastily scribbled warnings and pleas for help. When the blogger posts another name, a second student goes missing. And then a third. Madison needs to find her missing friends before it's too late—for them and for herself. The action proceeds at a smooth pace and hits all the right notes of a teen thriller: revenge-seeking outcasts, betrayal, mysterious strangers, and some violence and torture (though it is not graphically depicted). Characters are distinct; readers will be able to tell even the background characters apart. The gimmick of incorporating blogging, chat, and Facebook is not as central to the story as the opening pages would imply, but the social-networking technologies are blended seamlessly into the narrative. Strasser's writing is more practical than poetic, but his gripping plot will keep readers turning pages late into the night.—Brandy Danner, Wilmington Memorial Library, MA END


"This is an author who really has his finger on the way kids think." (The New York Times) "The prolific and ever-popular Strasser has written a reader-friendly suspense novel." (Book List) "Carefully plotted. An Impressive number of red herrings will keep readers guessing right up to the satisfying conclusion." (Kirkus)" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Series: The Thrillogy (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: EgmontUSA (September 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 160684007X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606840078
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,828,462 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Todd Strasser is the author of more than 120 novels for YA and middle graders. His YA novels including such award winners as No Place, If I Grow Up, Boot Camp, Can't Get There From Here, Give a Boy a Gun, Wish You Were Dead, Blood on My Hands, Kill You Last, the Impact Zone series, and the DriftX series.

His books for middle graders include Abe Lincoln for Class President, Byte Barkley: Secret agent K-9, Don't Get Caught in the Girls' Locker Room, Grizzly Attack, and the best-selling 17-book Help! I'm Trapped in ... series.

His most recent novel for grades 5 and up, FALLOUT, received a stellar review in the New York Times and was named a must-read middle school book by School Library Journal.

Todd lives in a suburb of New York and speaks frequently at schools.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Marjorie Light on October 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Since the day I read Give a Boy a Gun, I've been a Todd Strasser fan. His writing is authentic and scary, sort of like that feeling you get when you are all alone and you think someone is watching you. You feel your hair standing up on your arms and little beads of sweat break out over your upper lip. "Is someone there? Hello?" His new novel, WISH YOU WERE DEAD keeps the chills coming.

From the first chapter, Strasser's YA thriller sets us up for more scares than a Halloween haunted house. We cautiously turn the page ahead to the next chapter, readying ourselves for another shock. He makes sure the evil keep popping out at us, giving us fright after fright.

WISH YOU WERE DEAD features a blend of four narrations: an anonymous teen's blog listing the kids she hates, a first person narrative by a nice girl named Madison from a wealthy community, a bit of omniscient narration, and strange ramblings from a possible psychopathic kidnapper. Strasser is able to pull off having this many different narrators through his talent as a writer and the use of font styles to indicate a change in narration.

The main character, Madison, is losing her close friends, one by one, and is receiving strange emails and notes warning her of each impending disaster. To compound matters, she is attracted to the new guy in school, but is unsure whether he is involved in the disappearances or not. When Madison decides to take matters into her own hands, we cringe, knowing no good can come out of a choice like that. The pace is fast and the end is shocking. As I sat curled up in my chair at 1:00 am, wanting to finish it, I was wishing I had started it earlier in the was so dark outside and only a thin screen separated me from the noise on the porch...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. Luciano VINE VOICE on January 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Madison is a high school student, dealing with all of the normal high school stuff. Then her former best friend, Lucy, disappears. Suddenly nothing is normal anymore.

Has Lucy been kidnapped? Or did she run away after fighting with her boyfriend? Has an anonymous blogger, hater of Lucy, somehow caused her disappearance?

Things get even more stressful in town when another popular high school student disappears, and Madison finds herself closely linked to both victims.

There are some parts of this book that are interesting. The high school characters act in believable ways, and their interrelationships made sense and seemed realistic.

The villain of this story, though, was entirely unrealistic. I found the ending of the book to be disappointing and anticlimactic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Azul on September 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
A few popular kids in a rich high school disappeared. Is somebody out there set to make the rich and beautiful "pay"? That sound like a very pretty interesting mystery to me. And it was. Then why the 2-stars?

Well, because of the endless chit-chat that was going on. Lucy and Madison are rich and pretty, but while Madison is nice and cares about people Lucy is/does not, that is why an anonymous student blogs that Lucy is making his/her life miserable and wishes her dead. Coincidentally enough, Lucy disappears without a trace.

I wished Strasser had showed why the blogger wanted Lucy dead so I could feel the same way. Because that is the point, no; to make you love or hate the characters so you connect with the story? But that doesn't happen here. I have to take the blogger's word that Lucy is a bee-ach to dislike her.

And then there are the entries of the diary of the person who's done Lucy in. They come out of the blue and just made me like Lucy and feel that what was being done to her was totally wrong. Also this person, who is obviously the killer, comes out of nowhere! Isn't there usually a hint or two for you to take a guess and keep you reading to the end if just to see if you were right?

Wish you were dead is just "the first installment in a new `thrill'-ogy." Really? Who else is Strasser going to kill next? The dumb and ugly?

What I liked: the mystery of the disappearances itself. The blogging; you'll notice how at the beginning the blog had zero comments and eventually it increased. And I also liked the anonymous stalker; he was deep and right down to the point.

What I didn't like: all the blah blah blah. I know a high school is full students but, why mention characters that play no part in the story whatsoever?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on February 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Having just finished reading Todd Strasser's IF I GROW UP to my 8th graders, I was excited to read another one of his books. BLOOD ON MY HANDS is the second book in what is described as a "thrill"-ogy that began with WISH YOU WERE DEAD.

Callie seems to have been caught red-handed, knife in hand, bent over the body of Katherine Remington-Day. Someone in the crowd that gathered snapped a picture of Callie holding the murder weapon, and now she finds herself on the run from the police.

After what Katherine did to her, Callie isn't particularly upset that her former friend is dead, but she certainly is not going to be framed for the murder. What she needs to do now is find somewhere safe to hide so she can figure out a plan. Before too many people are aware of her instant fame, Callie makes a quick stop at a store to buy hair dye and a few other supplies to create a disguise. Her tiny build doesn't allow her to blend into crowds of average-sized individuals, so she opts for a Goth girl style in hopes of looking totally different than people would expect.

Callie has an idea of who may have committed the crime, but she needs help. Counting on her parents for assistance is worthless. Her mother is needed at home to care for her disabled father, and her brother is in prison, found guilty of the attack that crippled their father. She must be careful which friends she goes to for help, since practically everyone she knows is part of the clique led by the late Katherine.

Her only hope lies with Slade. But how willing will he be to help, since she dumped him and broke his heart?

BLOOD ON MY HANDS chronicles the days following the murder as Callie tries to prove her innocence.
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