Book Review: You Killed Wesley Payne

Book Review: You Killed Wesley PayneYou Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on February 1st 2011
Pages: 368

He's come to do a job.
A job that involves a body.
A body wrapped in duct tape found hanging from the goal posts at the end of the football field.

You Killed Wesley Payne is a truly original and darkly hilarious update of classic pulp-noir, in which hard-boiled seventeen year-old Dalton Rev transfers to the mean hallways of Salt River High to take on the toughest case of his life. The question isn't whether Dalton's going to get paid. He always gets paid. Or whether he's gonna get the girl. He always (sometimes) gets the girl. The real question is whether Dalton Rev can outwit crooked cops and killer cliques in time to solve the mystery of "The Body" before it solves him.

Sean Beaudoin (Going Nowhere FasterFade to Blue) evokes the distinctive voices of legendary crime/noir authors Dashiell Hammett and Jim Thompson with a little bit of Mean Girls and Heathers throwin in for good measure. This smart, slick, and alluring detective novel that will tease you, thrill you, and suck you in.


If you ever read a book by this insane man Sean Beaudoin, don't expect normal. Expect something you'll have to wrap your head around, maybe multiple times before anything makes sense. Don't think this is any old mystery. Oh no.

Beaudoin blends dark humor with film-noir elements to create such an outstanding plot, characters, and overall novel that it will knock your socks off. I laughed so hard at some points and went WTF at other parts of the novel. Seriously, I think this is the most original YA novel I've read in ages. It pulls you in, makes you question what the heck is going on, and then twists it around and around until you're not sure what is really going on anymore.

I haven't been into mysteries in a while but I grew up reading every Nancy Drew book I could get my hands on. The mystery genre in YA isn't one that really exists, so I'm excited that I got a hold of this novel. Loved it so much, especially for it's abnormal wonderful originality that I may be put off any books I read next that are cliche, the usual formula or lack a substantial plot. Thank you Sean for being awesome and writing a book that can make me go "wow".

My favorite character by far is Dalton's little brother, who is called Turd Unit. For anyone who has read the book, that part at the end cracked me up so bad. Strong second is Cassiopeia, the girl that Dalton has obviously fallen for but can't do anything about because she's bad for business.. (or is she?). I love all the characters in this book though, they were all so interesting and unique and just totally abnormal.

– Note – Pay attention to the glossary at the beginning of the book and reference it when you need to, because at first the group names confused me a bit. The glossary rocked at getting me back on track. Also, there's a great vocab glossary at the end that will explain a lot of the weird sayings and will crack you up in the definitions written there. C'mon, if this guy can make a glossary fun, how can a librarian NOT love the book?

Final Verdict: For those of you obsessed with corny detective stories or mysteries in general will get a kick out of this. Or anyone who needs something different to break up their reading patterns.

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4 responses to “Book Review: You Killed Wesley Payne

  1. ladystorm

    I was sent this book to review last week but haven’t got to it yet but yours is the second review I have found that really makes it sounds fun to read.

  2. I’m going to have to check this out again. Maybe I was tired or something when I read the sample on my Kindle. LOL I’m a huge fan of film noir so that’ why I thought I would like the book. I like stuff that is different and definitely has a mystery. I’ll definitely try to pay attention to the glossary, too.

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