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A week ago, Dinah’s cousin Claire cut her wrists.

Five days ago, Dinah found Claire’s diary and discovered why.

Three days ago, Dinah stopped crying and came up with a plan.

Two days ago, she ditched her piercings and bleached the black dye from her hair.

Yesterday, knee socks and uniform plaid became a predator’s camouflage.

Today, she’ll find the boy who broke Claire.

By tomorrow, he’ll wish he were dead.

336 pages, Hardcover

First published October 8, 2013

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About the author

Josin L. McQuein

9 books248 followers
Christian. Texan. Ravenclaw Disney fan. Disappointed she didn't grow up to be the Phoenix, a Jedi, or the Doctor's companion.

Professional pretender and scribe for the voices in her head.

Knower of things, teller of tales, and dreamer of dreams.

Shorter than you think she is.
No, seriously, shorter.
A little shorter than that, too.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 389 reviews
December 4, 2013
Actual rating: 2.5

No spoilers.

I find myself really conflicted about this book and the subject it addresses. This book left me really uncomfortable and disturbed at how the main character chooses to tackle her particular brand of vigilante justice. I truly feel for her---the issue of bullying is not an easy thing to address, and to see a loved one suffer like that would likely also make me lose control. I truly appreciate the topic and how it was addressed, but I ultimately did not like Dinah, the main character. I cannot agree with the haphazard way that she went on with her amateurish investigation; her utter determination to destroy whom she perceives as the villain did not rest well with me.

Technology is a beautiful thing, but there's a dark, horrible underside of it that is particularly evident when social media can be used to ruin a young person's life. At worst, it could end it. Most of us have read the horrible stories in the news---a nude picture, a photograph of an intimate, indiscreet moment; a poor decision made by a very, very young, very susceptible person that eventually leads to widespread bullying, social ostracization, and ultimately---suicide. That is the issue that this book tackles; our main character, Dinah, is out for vengeance against one young man named Brooks Walden for what he has allegedly done to her beloved cousin.
No matter how messy it gets, or how much blood’s involved, suicide’s a clean kill.
Though any scenario ending with Brooks Walden in a mangled heap would have worked for me.
Dinah's cousin Claire lays fighting for her life after a suicide attempt, and Dinah thinks she knows who is responsible for putting her in that hospital bed. It is Brooks Walden, a boy Claire had met the previous summer. The boy with whom she had fallen in love. The boy who left Claire's bright spirit in pieces by the time he was through with her, and the boy who's responsible for the fact that right now, Claire is only breathing with the aid of a machine hooked up to her lungs.
There were ways to treat cancer. Claire would have fought cancer. Cancer wouldn’t have left her in a bloody mess on her bathroom floor with a razor still clutched in her hand. What got Claire was subtler than cancer. It had rotted her from the inside out and left no trace of itself behind.
Dinah, the goth-punk, reinvents herself. She removes her piercings. She strips the dye from her hair. She puts herself into a school uniform, all for the purpose of infiltrating the private (read: snooty, expensive, and exclusive) Eleanor Lowry School in order to exact her vengeance on Brooks Walden.

I understand the motivation behind Dinah's actions, but for me, she was not a terribly likeable character. Dinah is strong-willed, I like that about her, she is loyal, she is a good friend. She is also headstrong, she has a tendency to think in black or white. She has a lot of preconceptions, and she hates admitting that she is wrong. Dinah dives in headfirst. She is judge, jury, executioner. Once she makes up her mind about something, she clings onto that belief at all cost, regardless of the evidence, regardless of her instincts.

Dinah has such a black and white view of the world. She has such a preconceived notion of the kind of people who attend the Lowry School, and it is not at all positive. To her, Lowry is a "Wonderland," as in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Wonderland. She casts people as the Queen of Hearts, the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat. Those are the major players, the rest of the students are generic, boring, of no interest to Dinah. She labels them all "Tweedledums and dees." Her black-and-white notion of the school is one of the characteristics that I disliked about her, and it took her entirely far too long to admit her mistakes in labeling these people.
A bitter trail of mistaken assumptions wound its way into my stomach...She might not be a friend, but she wasn’t really an enemy other than the one I’d made of her.
How much of what I thought I knew had been shaped by the order in which I’d met the people who had told it to me?
Dinah's narrowmindedness made her a very unreliable narrator, and for me, an rather unlikeable one.

Dinah is absolutely abominable in how she sets out to ruin Brooks' life. I understand her determination, I understand her anger, her hurt, her need to get revenge for the wrong allegedly done to her cousin. I understand her motivation, but I cannot forgive her actions, and I cannot overlook the despicable way she sets out to ruin a young man's life with not much evidence besides the little she has gleaned from Claire's diary.

It is all so very convenient, too. The absolutely incompetent Dinah has some very sneaky, conniving friends (whom I rather hate) who helps her to gradually plant evidence, make false accusations, to slowly and surely wreck Brook's life. Despite the fact that Brook could potentially be the despicable person Claire made him out to be, there is little throughout the book to demonstrate or justify the slow destruction of Brook's life, future, and reputation. I cannot help but feel terrible and uncomfortable when I read about the consequences of Dinah's plan.
“Who does something like this?” Brooks’ rant had continued while I zoned out. “Both of my top college picks have probably blackballed me. Headmistress Kuykendall informed me that I’m on strike two and one short step from being kicked out of here, which means I’m half that far from being kicked out of my house, as Dad says I’m a disgrace to my mother’s memory. I have a police report with my name on it. I have an arrest record. They ask that when you get a job, don’t they?”
The plot and the writing itself was good, if rather contrived and unrealistic at times. The romance aspect of it was light---but altogether incomprehensible and unbelievable, given the characters' action and the direction in which the plot turned. I do appreciate this book and the difficult topic it addresses, but I cannot say I enjoyed reading it.
319 reviews1,892 followers
May 11, 2013
It's a true testament to Premeditated's quality that I am actually able to write this review right now, months after finishing this novel, given the fact that I have an absolutely awful memory. I normally forget a novel's details within a week or two at most, but I am able to say that, nearly two months after finishing Premeditated, I remember it practically vividly, from the amazingly developed characters and their relationships, the utterly fantastic plot twists, to the brilliantly built conflicts--I remember nearly everything from this excellent novel.

With that having been said, however, I feel that, more than anything, expectations are crucial for your enjoyment in Premeditated. Despite what the synopsis may indicate, Premeditated is probably not as hardcore and revenge-focused as you would think. While revenge (with undertones of hardcore) is definitely a huge factor in Premeditated and is the driving point for most of Dinah's actions throughout the novel, the major factor in Premeditated is the outstanding relationship and character development.

Dinah is an incredibly strong and fantastically developed character, and her relationship with her cousin, Claire, was one of the strongest and most touching ones I've ever had the pleasure to read--which is even more notable considering the fact that Claire is in a coma throughout pretty much the entirety of the novel. As well as being a determined character, the conflicts Dinah experiences throughout Premeditated is in simplest terms awe-inspiring and lusciously complex, and is quite frankly something you'll just have to experience for yourself in order to capture the true brilliance that it is.

As well as the fantastic character and relationship development in Premeditated, the mystery aspect to the novel and the plot are just as commendable and stunning as literally everything else in the novel. While the mystery and novel itself does move at a rather slow pace, the unraveling of the plot twists and the evidence alongside the character development makes each and every revelation made more and more shell-shocking and powerful. And although the final twist was something I had initially suspected but eventually discarded, that didn't make it any less of an emotional, fantastic, and unbelievable ending for me.

With characters you'll inevitably care for, as well as characters you'll hate to find yourself loving, with witty, light, and often hysterical dialogue occurring amidst the serious and daunting atmosphere expertly crafted throughout the novel, I am thrilled to be able to say that Premeditated is a truly outstanding sophomore novel. Having also read and thoroughly enjoyed McQuein's debut novel Arclight, I can say with absolutely no doubt in my mind that Josin McQuein is a talented author whose works you should keep your eye on if you're looking for an amazing and remarkably lingering read.
Profile Image for Saniya.
360 reviews809 followers
April 17, 2014
O.O The Blurb.
♥_♥ The Cover.
>.< The Date it will be published.
Profile Image for ana.
167 reviews17 followers
Currently reading
October 19, 2013
Ok, so the girl's cousin kills herself, she discovers the reason: a boy. So she decides to get revenge... Sounds great! But a have a feeling she'll end up falling for the boy instead
Profile Image for shady boots.
500 reviews2,039 followers
August 25, 2014
I think this book may have a classic case of the premise sounding cooler than the actual book itself. It started off really slow, and bored me for about halfway through, to be quite honest. But when things picked up, I got quite into it, even though the story was extremely predictable.

It had a pretty realistic ending, too. Overall I liked the book and the themes it deals with, but I do feel like the marketing is a bit much. A very heavy emphasis on murder, but

If the book had been marketed differently, I would've given it an extra star, because with a blurb like that I'd thought the book would be gripping and intense. In some parts, it was, but they're mostly during the very last several chapters and, like I said, the "twist" was very obvious. Still, a solid enough book. I enjoyed it for the most part.
Profile Image for Gavin.
855 reviews386 followers
November 24, 2014
This was an intensely engaging and enjoyable YA revenge thriller. This story is told from the first person perspective of 17 year old Dinah. Her 15 year old cousin is in hospital in a coma after a botched suicide attempt. Dinah has read her cousins diary and knows the name of the boy to blame for the suicide attempt. She gets herself transferred to the private school that the boy attends in order to seek her revenge against him.

It's a dark but strangely engaging tale. Dinah is surprisingly easy to relate to despite her sometimes less than heroic thoughts and actions. Josin L. McQuein does a fantastic job of conveying Dinah's mixed feelings of grief, hatred, confusion, and helplessness.

The twist at the end was easy to see coming, but that did not ruin the enjoyment or the intensity of the story. I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would.

Rating: 5 stars.

Audio Note: This was narrated fantastically well by Jessica Almasy who did an excellent job of conveying the tension and emotion of the story. I'm certain her performance boosted my rating of this book by a star!
276 reviews
October 18, 2013
2.5 stars

The premise was actually quite interesting. Dinah's cousin ends up in a coma from self harm. Dinah being bad ass, seeks revenge on the person who caused her cousin to self harm in the first place. Cue main character setting off to highschool and donning a private schoolgirl disguise and you have the recipe for intrigue success!

Sounds like a tame kill-bill plot, and the girl actually sounds like she could pull it off. Except once you actually get to the part where Dinah's undercover, it becomes quite apparent that she does not have the intelligence nor the balls to pull it off.

Unfortunately when you figure out the ending before the main character, the rest of the story becomes a battle between 1. giving the book a chance and 2. Mocking everything the main character does because she has no idea.

In this case numero 2 wins by a landslide.

It's not just me being assist at figuring out the ending, its the fact that the ending is so bleeding obvious that it's painful to watch Dinah walk around totally oblivious to it.

If your looking for suspense and badass-ery id look elsewhere.
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,415 reviews7,420 followers
January 5, 2014
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

With a three year age difference between them, Dinah has always been there to be a neighbor and best friend to her cousin, Claire. When Dinah’s parents moved across the country at the end of the last school year, Claire ventured into her first relationship without the helpful advice from Dinah and things went way too far. Not able to cope, Claire cut her wrists and is in a coma. Now Dinah has moved back to home, changed her image, registered at Claire’s private school and is ready to seek revenge on the boy who stole Claire’s innocence.

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Okay, not really. I don’t think you have to be particularly goooooooood at puzzle solving in order to figure this one out. Hence, the low rating. The fact that I was 99.99999% positive I knew whodunit IMMEDIATELY left me continually calculating how many pages were left before my thoughts would be confirmed and took away much of the entertainment value.

Probably a 1.5 Star book (for real, I knew what was going down WAAAAAAY too early). Thank goodness for a fast-flowing story that made me only waste a couple hours of my life and a cover that caught my eye (1/2 Star bump 'cause, seriously, I picked it up for the cover).
Profile Image for Paula.
415 reviews52 followers
December 22, 2016
I love a good, suspenseful story and I love YA. Mix both together and I’m a happy girl. “Premeditated” is hard for me to categorize. It wasn’t a thriller per se but it also wasn’t a typical romance. It was something else entirely. Something good.
It was suspenseful. It was well-written. And full of characters that weren’t just monochrome stereotypes of teenagers or of people as such. There wasn’t just good and bad, rich and poor, nice and mean. There was more than what met the eye. I loved that about this book. I never knew if the person I was loathing would end up deserving my sympathy or the person I was adoring would end up deserving my unadulterated hate.
The characters had many layers to their personality, just like real people. And that’s something I really appreciate in a story. I don’t want to read about stereotypes. I don’t want an author to take the easy way out.
And McQuein didn’t at any point. There were many opportunities she could have taken the easy, fluffy and cozy route but she didn’t. Every single time that happened, my inner book nerd was giving her standing ovations. My outer book nerd was too lazy to get off the sofa to do that.

I loved the main character Dinah. She was a force to be reckoned with. She was strong, resilient and feisty but also sweet, loving and caring. Her grief and despair about what happened to her cousin was palpable and those emotions put her on a path of misguided revenge. The things she did weren’t right by any stretch and she nearly destroyed someone else’s life instead of going through the right channels and seeking help from authorities. But she was blinded by her feelings and her emotions were so clear, I did get her. I didn’t agree with her but I understood her.
What I really liked about her and what won me over despite her mistakes and wrong-doings was the fact that she could admit when she was wrong. She wasn’t above that and she didn’t shy away from admitting it or from making amends. That takes guts and she had them.

I liked Brooks. Even though I knew I shouldn’t have, I liked him. From the very start. There was just something about him that made me click with his character. He wasn’t what Dinah expected and not what I expected either. And that is all I’ll say about him, so you can find out yourself.

Fact is, things aren’t always what they seem – not people, not situations and sometimes not even wishes and desires. It’s a lesson not only Dinah has to learn. This books weaves the story perfectly so that you catch yourself having the same bias or prejudice as Dinah, just to get slapped in the face by the twist in the story or the revelation about a character.

I couldn’t help but fall in love with it all. The snarkiness, the humor, the emotional rollercoaster ride and the suspense. At times I felt so much of it and so much angst that I wanted to put the book aside to catch my breath.

Great book, great characters, great ending – you should read it.

5 not-the-easy-way-out stars.
Profile Image for Ashley.
667 reviews716 followers
April 18, 2013
Premeditated by Josin L. McQuein - Revenge, heartbreak, & all the feels

Nose Graze — Young Adult book reviews

4.5 Stars

Premeditated was everything I hoped it would be! Dinah goes "under cover" at a fancy prep school to find the boy who caused Clare to slit her wrists. She carefully observes the students to find the culprit, his friends, the ones he cares about.. so she can bring him down.

What does he want? Find it and take it. What's his dream? Find out and crush it. Who does he love? Find out and make them hate him.

There were so many parts of this book that I adored. I loved Dinah as a character. She's smart, funny, and imperfect. But the characters who really stood out for me were her Uncle Paul and her father. They were AMAZING parents and I loved some of their lines.

Dinah? What's going on in— Oh, you're smothering Brucey. There's superglue under the sink if you break something.
—Uncle Paul

But truly, all the characters in this book were brilliant in different ways. I loved to absolutely loathe Dinah's horrendous mother. I loved to cheer with pride when Dinah's dad finally started standing up to her mother. I felt guilty and unsure when I started falling for the culprit..

Dinah and her friends start small and then build their way up to make the culprit's life a living hell. They didn't want some big, quick reveal. They wanted to slowly rip his life apart from the inside so that he was just as tortured as poor Claire. But even as this is happening, we don't know all the details surrounding Claire until much later. Exactly what happened with her is slowly unraveled over the course of the book.

The one thing that was a bit of a disappointment was how predictable the ending was. I figured it out no later than 50% (it might have been a bit earlier—I don't remember exactly). Although that didn't leave me bored with the rest of the book, it was starting to get a tiny bit frustrating when I knew exactly what would happen but Dinah STILL hadn't figured it out. I think that if I didn't know exactly what was going to happen so early on, this book would have gotten that extra half star. An epic twist at the end would have really put the cherry on top of a great book, but it didn't feel like a twist to me when I saw it coming.

Premeditated is so strong and so powerful. It's about revenge, self discovery, family problems, predators, coping with loss, and so much more. We really see Dinah grow and develop as a character. And the end... THE END! Well, it's not quite the end but it's a moment before the end.. it had me drowning in tears and refusing to believe that it actually happened. I kept wanting some sort of sci-fi miracle because it was just too sad! :(

I definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants a strong contemporary book about friendship, family, and revenge. There's a lot more to it than just a revenge story, so go into it expecting a bit more. But that's one of the things that makes it so great! If only the ending was a bit less predictable... :P
Profile Image for Ariana.
936 reviews1,303 followers
Shelved as 'abandoned'
December 8, 2014
Some books work for me, some books don't. *sigh*

I am sad every time I have to abandon a book but my free time is limited and I prefer to spend it reading something that I do enjoy.
I hope that you will have a better luck with it.


First edit: 2012
WOW! this sounds terrific!
But .. am I seeing wrong?.. 2013?!


Later Edit: Apr 2013
Ok, I was dying to read this but..
1. if there's something similar to John Tucker Must Die in this book I am so running away from it. I gave one star and a half to that John novel and I wanted to punch myself for reading it!
2. revenge doesn't play an important part into the story??! So what, they just wrote that beautiful sinopsis to get our attention and then leave us disappointed?

ARH! I am so upset right now!

Blog (EN) | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Booklikes | Blog (RO)
Profile Image for Gillian.
458 reviews1,069 followers
December 17, 2016
4.5 stars

Originally posted at Writer of Wrongs

Rating: SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER awesome thriller with SPOILER SPOILER kickass heroine SPOILER SPOILER lots of feels and especially SPOILER SPOILER.

The cover: Yessss. So much mystery, and lurking, and watching. She's totally biding her time before she strikes.

The story:  I've been waiting for this book a long, long, long time. I first heard about it on the website Query Shark, where aspiring writers post their queries for critique by agent Janet Reid (Fun Gillian Momet: Ms. Reid once published a fake query I wrote for giggles. Go forth if you dare.) Anyway, sometime in, I think, 2011, McQuein posted her query for premeditated--and it was completely identical to the above synopsis. Seriously, it was such a freaking good query that clearly it got her a book deal and even made it onto the jacket flap, which never happens, I'm sure. But come on. How much do you want to read that story? SO MUCH.

I will say that the synopsis is a touch misleading. Dinah does start out massively Veronica-Mars-hardcore, steely-eyed and cold-hearted and thirsting for revenge. But obviously, she softens, and while normally I like my badass heroines to stay badass, I also enjoyed watching Dinah question everything about herself and her mission. It's so easy to get lost in a revenge plan, especially one as diabolical as the one Dinah sets up, so I was glad to see her falter in her surety and have some real conflicted moments and doubt. But when Dinah is badass... SHE IS BADASS.


I love this girl. She's sharp, she's angry, and she's fiercely protective of Claire, her little cousin, who's currently comatose after slashing her own wrists. In a haze of grief, Dinah starts to read Claire's journal, trying to find out what happened to her happy and bubbly cousin--and she discovers that a boy named Brooks Walden is to blame. So she transfers to the elite Lowry School, where Brooks attends and Claire was supposed to go, with the so aim to destroy Brooks Walden, no matter what it takes. Dinah, essentially, plays a part. She bleaches the black dye from her hair, takes out her piercings, and pretends to be any old Lowry girl so she can get close to Brooks and find out what it takes to break him.

Obviously, things get complicaaaaated. Is Brooks the jackass as much of a jackass as she thought? How much is she lying when she pretends to be this Lowry girl with a crush on Brooks? Is there more to all of these Lowry kids than she thought? And just how far is she willing to go? It's not easy destroying someone else's life, even if they've already done the same.

UGH, this book is so hard to write about. Anything else, and we're getting into major spoiler territory. I will say i totally saw the ending twist coming, as it's pretty well telegraphed, but that didn't make it any less satisfying. THis is a feels-heavy book, to be sure, and it's not nearly as action-packed as I expected. McQuein's prose is clear and sharp, and while I loved Dinah's relationships with her two best friends, they are EXCEPTIONALLY quippy. I mean, you know me. I love a good quip. I talk very quippily, often to the point where people never know if I'm serious or not. And their joking is hilarious, and I always enjoy reading about smart and sarcastic teens. But their quirkiness might have gone one notch too far.

Dinah is a wonderful character, though. She's got layers and very strong feelings and she's a strange and relatable mix of confident and confused. I literally can't discuss ANY of the other characters, though, except to say I did NOT see the twist with Chandi coming, but it made me cheer, and that I love the way McQuein handles a certain risky topic. She's firmly on the side of the victims and portrays how unfairly stacked the deck almost always is. Dinah has a hideously self-centered mother and a father who's finally learning to stand his ground against her, as is Dinah. It's a treat to watch all these story lines and character arcs unfold.

GET YOUR HANDS ON THIS BOOK, FOOLS, SO WE CAN TALK ABOUT IT. I'M HOLDING BACK SO MUCH. I got so many feels from this book, awe and grief and humor and anger. It hit on all the points a good thriller should. (Seriously, I cackled aloud at some of the dialogue. I would totally be friends with Dinah). And I would totally be in love with SPOILER. McQuein has found herself on my list of automatic-TBR-authors.
Profile Image for Brandy.
1 review
June 19, 2013
I scored this book through an ARC Giveaway on the author’s blog. Imagine how excited I was to read the very book I couldn’t wait to get my hands on since I saw the amazing query on Query Shark two years before. Suffice it to say, I read this book in one day.

Without giving anything away, Dinah is a teen hell bent on making the boy who drove her cousin to suicide pay the ultimate price for his actions. During the course of the story, things are not as they seem while conflict is hit at every turn.

Okay, I did have some worries that I’d run into the same “female bad-ass” protag that can hack anything, fight everybody, and just have that overall dry-sardonic-wit about them (so over that). Don’t get me wrong, a little of that stirred into the pot is alright with me, but sometimes it gets overused in order to make female characters far too bad ass.

I refreshingly didn’t find Dinah’s character that regular cliché I get in so many YA novels. Neither was she the loner-mysterious type that I’m also so over. While holding her own and being a character with some bite, she had her vulnerabilities, wasn’t afraid to succumb to emotion every now and again, and didn’t have everybody “figured out”. Her character was very real to me, and the internal as well as external transformations she made during the course of the story came about naturally. Meaning it didn’t hit me like a Mack truck when her character development was relevant.

Although I did want to see more character development when it came to secondary characters, it didn’t take away from how interesting they were. Sometimes when I read stories and secondary characters are introduced, or used to move the story along, I read faster to bypass them—not the case here.

Overall I really enjoyed this read and was sort of sad when it had to come to an end. My wish to the stars is to hope Josin L. McQuein turns this story into a series. There is just more of Dinah I want on the page and so many more possibilities (and secrets) that can come from the elite school, and the book’s characters.

Continue her story please!
Profile Image for Isamlq.
1,578 reviews710 followers
October 24, 2013
I knew it… I KNEW it… Every single reveal here isn’t necessarily a surprising reveal because anyone with a lick of sense and a moment or two for Scooby would likely have pieced things together. But like Scooby of old, it was entertaining, seeing things play out as they did in this one.

Except maybe my Scooby comparison isn’t a fair one as it lends itself to the idea that maybe Premeditated could be too juvenile? Maybe a Buffy comparison is best? How as one watched there’s the “I think I know what’s coming next” but that’s OK because Xander or Willow or Cordi or Buffy or the Wolf boy (seth, was it?) was funny anyway. That’s how they all read! (Yes, Buffy fan I am (was?) And though I may not know the title to every episode, I don’t think I actually missed one. Considering this was way before cable in Philippines achieving said feat required devotion and fancy handwork on my part to render the remote inaccessible for a little under an hour.

But back to Premeditated: something in all of them had me entertained. There’s a quick smart way she thought things through even when she wasn’t doing the smart thing. All of them read like that… plus, the brief drama moment of her slipping into someone else’s skin and pain and baring it? Compounded with the funny easy moments of her and who she was and her friends? I loved that too. For some reason Brucey has me thinking of Mean Girls… though why I still can’t explain.

Mystery. There’s next to none because frankly from get-o it’s obvious who did what and it’s obvious who didn’t. But her piecing it together and her being herself then not being herself? It’s all that that had me speeding through this. So yeah, it’s obvious the same way that Scooby and Shaggy could et.., but it’s entertaining in the same way all those buddy shows and TV are. There’s a true connection and awareness that those you like aren’t always perfect and they shouldn’t be.
Profile Image for Louisa.
497 reviews364 followers
January 4, 2014
Short review: say what you want about Premeditated - it makes you reconsider the consequences of every decision you ever made or will make. Too bad it came a little too late for the actual MC of the book.

It doesn't help that I called the twist about halfway into the book. I just completely disagree with the way Dinah handled things. Plenty of other reviewers have gone into the nitty-gritty of it, but just reading how systematically she destroyed Brooks's life and pigeonholed her new classmates without looking outside the box made me pretty mad. I appreciate McQuein's efforts at what read like a novelisation of the show Revenge and for tackling a serious topic, but ultimately I couldn't get past my dislike of Dinah's methods.
Profile Image for Romily Bernard.
Author 7 books371 followers
Want to read
June 2, 2012
Cannot. Wait. Have wanted to get my hands on this since I saw it on Query Shark!
Profile Image for ♥Rachel♥.
1,825 reviews836 followers
September 30, 2013
This is a DNF. I couldn't connect with Dinah, the main character or the writing.
Profile Image for Jen Ryland.
1,450 reviews898 followers
October 8, 2013
Premeditated combines so many things I enjoy in a book: a revenge story, a going undercover story, a story about family relationships, and a story about preconceptions and prejudice. While there were a few suspension of disbelief moments and I did guess the ending, that did not spoil my enjoyment of the book one bit!

As the story begins, Dinah is pulling up to the Eleanor Lowry school, ready to enroll as a new student. She's actually taking her cousin Claire's spot after Claire was admitted to the hospital. Dinah's not at Lowry to make new friends or improve her Latin -- she's a huntress on the prowl, out to find and punish the boy who caused Claire to attempt suicide.

That sounds like a pretty dark plot, and Premeditated does have some dark themes, but I was pleasantly surprised that the book also had a fair amount of quirk and humor. I have to give the author credit for this. It's actually pretty hard to combine serious stuff with humor, but Premeditated did it well. At one point the book makes a Heathers reference. If, like me, you're a big fan of that darkly comic 1990s movie, you'll love Premeditated.

Dinah sets out on her revenge mission, but pretty soon I thought I had figured out the ending. I was right. The book offered up so many clues in this regard that I had to wonder if it was intentional. It was still fun for me to watch Dinah, knowing what I thought I knew.

Another strength of Premeditated was the cast of characters. Dinah was a great heroine. She's a former pageant contestant (I would have loved to hear more about that!) and she's tough and snarky, but also incredibly devoted to her cousin. She's aided on her revenge mission by her friends, computer geek Brucie and badass Tabs, and some of their exchanges are hilarious. Dinah's Uncle Paul is another stand-out character, as well as Chandi, a fellow student at Lowry.

I definitely recommend Premeditated. It's a story with plenty of drama and suspense but also a lot of humor and heart.
Profile Image for TheOriginalNikeGirl.
625 reviews46 followers
March 1, 2014
I liked this book. It was fun and real and I loved the characters.

Can I have a TV show? PLEEEEASE?
I think that this is the type of the book that would translate into a TV show REALLY WELL.
Not a movie. This would not do a s movie.
But TV show? Yeah.
The plot was set up in the same sort of way that TV show plots are set up, where there’s a chunk of a lot things going on, but one bit that sort of winds through the entire chunk, connecting everything. Every time Dinah did something to mess up Brooks’ reputation would be an ‘episode’ in the perfect world when ABC family turns this into a TV show.
The plot was a LITTLE predictable. I mean, I knew what was going down halfway through the book and took the main character, Dinah, FOR literally EVER to figure it out.
All the character were SO charming. I loved them all: Dinah, Brooks, Dex, Tabs and Brucey all just so, so good.
BUT—this book is not all just cutesy-tutesy plot and wonderfully funny characters. There is serious. The serous is named Claire.
Overall, this was a lovely book, not outstanding, but not average. AND I WANT ABC FAMILY TO MAKE A TV SHOW FOR ME.
Profile Image for Jessica (Goldenfurpro).
881 reviews251 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
August 19, 2020
I dnfed this book roughly 174 pages in. Even though I did not finish it, it is handy for me to know why I did not finish it so here I go.

So, yeah, I made it pretty far into this book before giving up, but I found that I kept putting this book aside and doing other things instead of reading. I spent two days in the same spot in this book. The thing is, for a mystery/thriller with a revenge plot, there is no suspense and it is pretty boring. The first half of this book is just Dinah trying to plan revenge on Brooks (who she thinks is the one to blame for her cousin's suicide), but she never actually does anything. Her friends do, but it was all kind of lame and, to be frank, her friends were annoying. It felt like the author just really wanted the reader to know that Dinah was "different", so her friends were levels of extreme, all while maintaining the outsider stereotype. As for the mystery, I figured it out really early on in the book and I realized that the only reason why I was still reading was that I was waiting for Dinah to figure it out and you know what, it just wasn't worth it.
Profile Image for Kelly/yllektra.
284 reviews44 followers
July 27, 2015
Love the way that sounds!!!
Go girl! Heeh, I cannot wait for this! ;)
Profile Image for Maralyn.
126 reviews14 followers
October 26, 2013
I had to read the book with the infamous killer query.

I liked it better than I thought. Don't get me wrong, with an introduction like that, I expected the book to be technically good. I hoped it would be, at least. But I didn't know if it would really be my type of novel. Was this going to be a crazed, bloody horror? Or a dark psychological thriller? A reluctant romance that explores themes like forgiveness?

I wasn't sure what I would get. I put off starting it late one evening because of the likelihood I was getting myself into a horror tale. Bedtime is not the time to start such a book.

As it turns out, it was an easy, fast-paced, enveloping read that I finished in about a day. Okay, and a night. I laid in bed, staying up and reading in the dark on my Kindle until I finished. I enjoyed it so much, yet I'm just not enamored with the book on any deeper level.

(It's a good debut, though. I'd read her again.)

Did I mention that it wasn't what I was expecting? (That's not all bad, since I'm pretty reluctant about anything horror-related.) In fact, much of it felt like watching Gossip Girl—if all the heavy topics were crammed into a single episode. Except that this book gave more serious emotional consideration to some of these deeper topics (like cutting, etc.) making it feel a bit more sophisticated than your average light-hearted misfit-teen-infiltrating-a-private-prep-school story.

(The spoilers start here. You've been warned.)

I didn't dislike Dinah. She made a good narrator. I enjoyed seeing things through her eyes. She had a fine personality. But I hated her one-track intent on revenge and, more than anything, her stupidity when it came to destroying her target. I wanted to smack her. Dinah was willing to do some despicable, life-ruining sabotage—and without bothering to check facts or fully scope out the situation. She tried to destroy another human being! As it turned out, an innocent one. She would have readily accepted his life as forfeit. True, she thought he was guilty. But even then, how does that not make her worse than Brooks Dex? At least for Brooks Dex, harming someone was a byproduct, not a goal. Yeah, I know, I know—she was hopped up on grief and pain and blinding fury. But she was still stupid about it.

“Revenge was supposed to be cold and hard and completely detached. There weren't supposed to be any emotions involved” (191).

You can't really believe that, Dinah. Revenge is personal. It's emotion-driven. By definition of what it is, it can never be detached.

I can hear Dinah's sullen voice pipe up in my head: “Come on, you know what I meant.”

Alright, fine. I concede that I do. You're supposed to be so full of compelling hatred that you never sympathize or connect with your prey. But she's infiltrating his circle, pretending—no, becoming—his friend, and she doesn't think it's going to get personal?

And her own emotions were not entirely believable. Her range of emotions were likely, but they didn't occur the way you'd expect. She starts to swoon and falter and she questions her destructive plan as she first acquaints herself with Brooks; but as the story progresses and he really emerges as a broken, conscience-driven, loyal friend, she somehow finds the willpower to steel her hatred and dismiss any nagging concerns about his possible innocence.

Because Dex, who has “psychopath” written in giant black letters across his whole aura, has to be the victim. Has to be because he's both poor and charming. And a misunderstood outsider. And when she finally, finally sees him for what he is, well it just makes sense that he and Brooks would be friends. Clearly he and Brooks both have obvious lying and raping tendencies, right? Stupid Dinah.

I was somewhere between one-third and halfway through the book when I correctly figured the whole thing out. The “twist.” The who and how and why. All of it. I didn't mind that so much as I minded that Dinah never figured it out. She didn't have to catch on as early as I did, but it got pretty ridiculous how painfully dumb she was. Solving the puzzle that much in advance of my protagonist makes for some anxious and tedious reading. She kept powering full-steam ahead and I could see the train wreck looming and that was pure anguish—and not in a good way.

Ah, but I did like Brooks. He was this quietly strong, vulnerable sweetheart. Not a wimp, just fiercely protective and compassionate. And handsome. He had the considerate qualities of a gentleman that nowadays are cast aside in favor of brutish machoism.

Convenient that Brucey is a techno-whizkid. No, not the kind that is good at tinkering with computers. The kind that is good at hacking computers.

Another oddity: Claire is in a coma and used to be on life support, yet within a few days they somehow weened her off life support while she was unconscious and moved her out of the ICU? Nah. It doesn't happen that way.

I don't buy that after Dinah confesses her misdeeds, Brooks's father is suddenly rallying for the underdressed commoner who plotted against his son and besmirched their good name.

I would have written a different ending. I'm not totally dissatisfied with the ending, but I wish the story would have continued on then so I could see the Dinah-Brooks friendship/romance come to fruition. A little more closure is all I ask! And I wish Dinah had stayed at Lowry instead of fleeing from her mistakes. She had a great educational opportunity, friends who would have forgiven her, and a new realization that preppy uniforms and rich kids are not diabolically opposed to her semi-gothic existence.

Despite tackling some sensitive subjects, the story was very clean. No swearing, no graphic scenes of any kind. Even without depicting them in painstaking color, the author still inserted these topics and events. They weren't ignored; They just weren't glorified with descriptive prose and crude play-by-plays. I was surprised how refreshing it felt to just breeze through without any forced “maturity” in that respect. (Sometimes that is necessary to the story, I suppose; but often it is distracting, overused, and out of place—thrown in for effect or expectation. In this case, the story seemed so much smoother and uncluttered. It was more clever storytelling to cover it this way.)

My only complaint about the way these elements were handled is that the author never really called Dex's actions out for what they were: rape. Obviously Dex was implicated as the bad guy for forcing himself on these girls, but it was a very gentle indictment as far as that goes. Dinah didn't blame her cousin—because Claire was so “innocent” and “trusting” (and didn't recognize the rape as such even after being on the receiving end of it). Dinah should have not blamed Claire because Claire was raped. If instead Claire had been experienced and distrusting, it still would have been rape. The book doesn't afford Dex any pity, but it feels like that's more for emotionally exploiting his victims than for sexually assaulting them.

Almost gave an extra star for Brooks, because I really liked him. But if I was giving character stars, I'd have to remove one for Dinah's stupidity.
Profile Image for starryeyedjen.
1,640 reviews1,229 followers
October 24, 2013
After reading devouring Arclight  earlier this year, I knew I'd be picking up Premeditated as soon as I could get my hands on it.  I do love a good revenge story, but that synopsis had me sold.  And apparently that is how the author queried the story!  That is fabulous in and of itself.

But the writing, the narrative voice...it's everything I'd hoped for after a debut like Arclight.  Dinah goes to extreme lengths to inflict retribution on the guy who broke Claire's heart so fully that she harmed herself in her despair.  But despite the rather dire circumstances, this story still manages to be humorous and clever and avoids gloomy when it can be helped.  I can't say, however, that I didn't see that ending coming.  I don't think that's because the story was overly predictable, just that the author was nonchalant in providing details, meaning that I was thoroughly engaged by this story and carefully tucked away every detail I could.  I'm intuitive like that.

The characters themselves were rich and well-fleshed out.  Dinah is quirky in her own right -- and I know most cringe at the use of that word, but I mean it in the best possible way -- and she's sacrificing a lot on her cousin's behalf, transforming herself from goth girl to prep school charmer.  That's enough to cause anyone to be a little quirky.  And then there are the two boys, neither of which is who he seems.  Brucie and Tabs rounded out the cast as Dinah's best friends, sidekicks, and fellow revenge-seekers, and they provide a lot of the comedy, as well.

I definitely felt that this story had a very Veronica Mars-vibe to it.  I mean, Dinah dons a disguise, infiltrates the "it" crowd, and falls for the wrong guy.  That premise has Veronica Mars written all over it.  Not that I'm complaining.  Dinah's even snarky like Veronica.  And awesome.  And badass.  Can you tell I liked her character?  Maybe even more than I should have?  :D

And the narrator chosen to perform this audiobook was fabulous.  Took me a minute to adjust to her, but she pulled off that snarky, quirky thing so. Freaking. Well.  And managed not to make all of the characters sound like that.  I'll definitely be checking out her other work.

Suffice it to say, Josin McQuein is going on my author auto-buy list.  I had already planned on picking up the sequel to Arclight, but now I'm just planning on reading everything she writes, maybe without even reading summaries going forward.  That's always fun...the little bit of risk that comes along with it is worth it, sometimes.  So, yeah, if you like darkly funny capers reminiscent of Veronica Mars, I highly recommend this one.  Also, if you like it when bad guys get their just desserts, I'd say this one is for you.  Revenge is a dish best served cold...then they won't know what hit 'em!

This review can also be found at The Starry-Eyed Revue.
Profile Image for i..
331 reviews33 followers
November 24, 2013
My favourite quote on revenge is this one by Douglas Horton:
While seeking revenge, dig two graves-one for yourself.
This book is supposed to be about revenge and it is somehow.

When Dinah learns that her cousin Claire has tried to commit suicide and is lying in a hospital bed in a coma, swears to take revenge on the boy who made Claire suffer and is willing to go to any lengths to do it. She is determined to ruin his life,however, things don't turn out to be the way she expected.

Life is not a bowl of cherries for the character of this book ,whether they come from money or not.Some of them have parental issues ,lack of self-esteem and mental problems to deal with . So they are not the usual perfect youngsters who appear in some YA novels.Revenge is therefore just a part of the plot.

Did I think that the book was going to be much darker? Yes, I did.

Does it really matter to me? No , it doesn't.

Is the book shallow? No , it isn't.

Dinah has a really strong personality which makes her likable and her sworn enemy at school Chandy is in my opinion her alter ego.Chandi is what Dinah would have been like had she not had her father's love and her will power.

The way the book ends is not difficult to predict if you pay attention to the clues,however, this doesn't make it less interesting.In her blog Josin L.McQuein writes about an alternative ending for the book, read it if you are curious.

Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,220 reviews1,651 followers
June 3, 2014
The fact that Josin L. McQuein released two novels within her debut year is impressive. What I find even more impressive is that both are good and that they fall into such different genres. Of Arclight and Premeditated, I preferred the latter, which has much stronger characterization and a lot of great messages. It also has the added benefit of being different from the bulk of YA offerings.

Read the full review at A Reader of Fictions.
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