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Famous Last Words

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Hollywood history, mystery, murder, mayhem, and delicious romance collide in this unputdownable thriller from master storyteller Katie Alender.

Willa is freaking out. It seems like she's seeing things. Like a dead body in her swimming pool. Frantic messages on her walls. A reflection that is not her own. It's almost as if someone—or something—is trying to send her a message.

Meanwhile, a killer is stalking Los Angeles—a killer who reenacts famous movie murder scenes. Could Willa's strange visions have to do with these unsolved murders? Or is she going crazy? And who can she confide in? There's Marnie, her new friend who may not be totally trustworthy. And there's Reed, who's ridiculously handsome and seems to get Willa. There's also Wyatt, who's super smart but unhealthily obsessed with the Hollywood Killer.

All Willa knows is, she has to confront the possible-ghost in her house, or she just might lose her mind . . . or her life.

Acclaimed author Katie Alender puts an unforgettable twist on this spine-chilling tale of murder, mystery, mayhem—and the movies.

312 pages, Hardcover

First published September 30, 2014

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About the author

Katie Alender

9 books2,590 followers
Katie Alender (rhymes with “calendar”!) grew up in South Florida. She is the third of four children (three girls and a boy) and the child of three very loving and encouraging parents.

She attended high school at the Palm Beach County School of the Arts, studying Communication Arts. From there, she went on to the Florida State University Film School, which led her to Los Angeles, where she worked in TV production and development before becoming an author.

She enjoys writing, reading, sewing (especially quilts), and hanging out with her husband, her daughters, and her dogs, Scooter and Frodo.

Her first brush with publication was the article “So You Want to Live On Mars?” published in Sassy magazine in December 1991.

Source: http://katiealender.com

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,291 reviews
Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
2,976 reviews363 followers
October 25, 2022
I was so hoping from that fun cover to the alluring synopsis that this would be a paranormal read. Something all about ghosts and all things that go bump in the night.

The first chapter was good, definitely piqued my interest, but the second chapter, the second chapter had me already craving more.

I wasn't expecting to love this as much as I did. In short, this was just a whole lot of fun, a little creepy, a little mysterious, and just unputdownable.

Willa was relatable, real, and although she was going through a tough time, I liked her. I liked that she wasn't perfect and that she had problems and issues and I liked even more that it wasn't always easy to tell if what Willa saw and heard at night was real or just all in her head.

For once I liked that this book wasn't focused on a romance, although there is one, sort of, it didn't really matter because what really mattered, was the serial killer running lose in Hollywood, and the disturbances that were happening at home with Willa. The romance never took away from the story but instead just added another layer of depth that was comforting and nice like a nice pair of fuzzy socks in the winter.

Overall, this was a great mystery, action packed and kept me on my toes. I will definitely be checking out the author's other books to make sure I have them.
Profile Image for Constantine.
784 reviews119 followers
January 22, 2023
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Genre: Young Adult + Mystery Thriller + Paranormal

Willa, who is now 17 years old, just moved to Los Angeles after her mother tied the knot with Jonathan, an extremely successful film director. They relocated to Jonathan's house, which had formerly been owned by a well-known actress. After they moved in, Willa began to see white flashes and hear voices. She has a strong suspicion that the flashes in question are from one of the victims of the Hollywood serial killer. The authorities are keeping a close eye out for a serial killer who has a vendetta against upcoming actresses, and they are on the lookout for him. Willa develops new connections and acquaintances while living in Los Angeles, but she isn't sure if she can put her faith in every one of them.

This one, much like the stories of a great number of other young adults, may be read in a very short period of time. Mixing between the murder mystery and paranormal genres can be hit or miss. I’m still conflicted about how I feel about the ending of this story. While the characters were fun, the plot itself was extremely predictable. When the author gives you hints to believe that one character might be the killer, you clearly know he is not the one. And when the author in such stories makes a character so innocent, kind, and good, then you can confidently say he is the one! I was able to identify the murderer as soon as he appeared on the page. I feel this predictability kills off the fun part of these stories.

This is a book that has received many positive reviews; however, most of those reviews were posted quite some time ago. If those readers went back and looked at the narrative now, they would see that it hasn't held up very well over the years. Overall, it was okay. There isn't much to exclaim or write about.
Profile Image for Yodamom.
1,975 reviews194 followers
October 27, 2016
2.7- audiobook
A YA ghostly murder mystery with some twists and stars of Hollywood living. I thought it was a touch predictable but then it had me guessing the wrong bad guy a for a while so it wasn't cut and dry. The main characters where thinly developed but enough to carry the story. The adults were cardboard cutouts with no personality or awareness, thankfully they were hardly ever in the story. Overall it was a good audiobook, okay narration, entertaining.
I picked this up for the cover and the fact it was available from my library's digital system. I like reading a story blind with no expectations. I enjoy a book more when that way, surprise is my friend. I don't know if I would have enjoyed it as much if I had any idea what it was about.
Profile Image for billie.
175 reviews29 followers
March 17, 2017
3.75 stars! I really liked this! This book was not what expected (I'm not really sure what I expected) but I'm glad I actually read this. I wish I had read it sooner! To be honest I've had this book for 3 years I didn't think I was going to ever read it. I think I probably would have liked it better at fourteen it was a bit predictable I saw who the killer was before it was revealed but this book was fun! I do think I would have liked it more if it hadn't had such a happy ending? like I don't even know... but for a ghost/murder story wouldn't you expect it to be more scary? like this book's tone wasn't suspense it was high school drama? I had a few problems with it like some of the side characters seemed really really under developed like I wanted to know more about them but other than that this was really entertaining!!
Profile Image for Lex N..
15 reviews2 followers
October 17, 2014
Famous Last Words is about a girl named Willa, that just moved to LA with her mom and her new stepfather. Her new house is so cool, until she finds it's haunted...and with a Hollywood killer on the streets reenacting famous movie murder scenes, this might be so perfect after all.
I really enjoyed this book, I couldn't put it down. Though I wouldn't recommend it at night. But it was a great book with a great plot, with twists and turns and predictable stuff too. I would recommend this to anybody that likes murder mysteries mixed with horror stories.
Profile Image for Britt.
429 reviews39 followers
July 29, 2019

Ladies and gents, this just may be one of the best YA mysteries/thrillers I have ~ever~ read. Hell, it might just be one of the best YA books I’ve read, period.

This book combines two of my fascinations into one: studying crime and old movies. When I stumbled across this read at Half Priced Books, I read the summary and knew I *had* to read it. Hell, even the hinting at a love triangle in the summary wasn’t enough to deter me.

In fact...

As far as love triangles go, this book probably has one of the best love triangles in YA history. I am usually not a big love triangle fan so, trust me, I don’t say that lightly, but... it *is.* All of the characters are likable, the guys involved are not alpha males with douchebag personalities (thank. fuck.), and in the end the love triangle resolved itself nicely and realistically. Instalove is not a thing in this book (THANK YOU, AUTHOR) and I don’t think it’s all that unrealistic for a heterosexual teenage girl to find two guys attractive at the same time — it’s just the instalove and the douchebag guys that I usually hate with my very being. But this book doesn’t have that!

Might I say, best love triangle in YA history?

Hell, all of the relationships — friendships, familial, and romantic alike — were extremely realistic for the YA genre, in my opinion. For example: while this book includes the “new girl moves all the way across the country” trope, it avoids the “all of the girls at her new school are bitches” cliché. Yes, she has a little new girl trouble making friends, but nobody instantly hates her and, while she’s reserved, she doesn’t instantly hate them. She makes acquaintances and doesn’t cry alone in the high school bathroom during lunch — so, you know, it’s a pretty realistic high school experience! In a YA book! Who would have THOUGHT!

This book was told in first person POV and Willa is such a breath of fresh air. Yes, this book does have supernatural elements — including the fact that she can see and sense ghosts — but I thought her narration felt very authentic. She READ like a NORMAL TEENAGE GIRL. Who happens to be able to see ghosts, but... hey, everyone has shit they need to deal with, right?

Speaking of ghosts and death, I purposely don’t want to go a whole lot into the crime plot-line because I don’t want to accidentally spoil anything, but I WILL say that the premise was extremely fucking interesting — I mean, a serial killer that models their victims/crime scenes after classic movie scenes? Sign me the FUCK up.

(Hi, I’m mid-20th century pop culture trash.)

Once again, one of the BEST CRIME PREMISES IN YA. I literally gobbled up every page with every free moment I had — I loved it so much.

Y’all, I stan this book and I stan it HARD. I cannot believe I stumbled across it at a used bookstore. God BLESS.

Well, as of you couldn’t tell, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book and everything about it. Like crime? READ IT. Like old movies/pop culture? READ IT. Like everyday teenage drama mixed in with your daily dose of murder? READ IT.

Thank you and goodnight.
Profile Image for exploraDora.
518 reviews249 followers
March 8, 2018
**4.5 Stars**

Wow, I can honestly say that I wasn't expecting to love this as much as I did! This book was a whole lot of fun, a little creepy, a little mysterious and just unputdownable.

The story follows 17 year old Willa, who is thrown into a new life when she has to move to Hollywood after her mother got married to a famous movie director. I won't give much away, but know that the plot moves quickly. There's a serial killer on the loose out for wannabe actresses, there are ghosts involved and a lot of creepy/weird stuff happening around the mansion Willa lives in. All this was very well written and even though I thought it might be a stupid, cheesy story, it's really not.

The identity of the murderer is not difficult to figure out, but the novel is satisfying for readers who like a mystery-thriller with Hollywood glamour and a supernatural twist.

I will definitely be checking out the author's other books.
Profile Image for samantha  Bookworm-on-rainydays.
278 reviews113 followers
August 29, 2016
if you like mara dyer you will love this!!!!

I have to say, although the book was a bit slow, it was totally worth it. It was amazing how Katie Alender went and threw a screw ball and made it seem like one person was the killer rather than the other. I still can't believe that the killer was actually the killer. It grabbed me from begining to end. This is now in my favorites. I honeslt was surprised how in one scene you could realize that what you thought was something really wasn't. Over-all, great work. Surprising, Holds Up, Unexpected, Amazing.
31 reviews2 followers
November 28, 2016
I thought the author did a fabulous job on the describing part of the book! I also thought is was written very well!! In one certain part it was a little confusing, but overall it was great!!
Profile Image for thepessimisticreader.
268 reviews39 followers
March 2, 2022
I really seem to have a problem with the story-telling of each Alender book I've read. I really wanted this one to be different and it almost was.

The writing is still kind of not-great. Like writing this line "Have you ever walked into a room, and you know something's different? Like your little brother's been messing with your stuff and tried to cover it up but you can tell?" and calling it a metaphor (93). Or do we not know what intuition is?

The prose suffers from trying to sound philosophical and being really terrible at it. "My fingers itched to take some concrete action. But what action can you take when your problems are the furthest thing from concrete?" (101).

"He spluttered. Like, 'Spluh!' Only he didn't say the word aloud. You could just see it coming out of his brain." (104).

"I flipped the light switch and the overhead light came to life - but only after hesitating a second. Like some force was deciding whether I got to have a light on or not, and it finally took mercy on me." (155).

I just can't with this cringey writing style anymore. I'm not going to lie to myself, this is the style that's here to stay. I want to read the upcoming The Breaking Tide because it sounds interesting, but I don't think I can put myself through this again.

I recently celebrated my legal-drinking age birthday. Even intoxicated, I was still pulling paragraphs from this book that didn't make sense. That awkward moment when you're drunk and still seething over editing flaws. Some of the sentences just don't make sense grammatically, and to me at least, that is the cornerstone of a bad book.

I see why this writing style was taken, I can see how it works, it's just not my cup of tea.

I hated the characters and the dialogue and the overall tone, but Alender always has these awesome concepts that keep reeling me back in.

I recently read a book called Slasher Girls & Monster Boys, a collection of horror-y short stories based on classics. When I found out that that was basically the plot for Famous Last Words, my response was "heck yes."

There is a murderer on the loose in Hollywood and his crime scenes are staged to mimic the death scenes of classic movies like The Birds, Kiss of Death, Heathers, and Vertigo. He makes his victims recite lines with him before their deaths. That's exactly my cup of creepy tea.

I happen to love Vertigo and Alfred Hitchcock-style movies are my jam. If I didn't have a previous love for them, this book would have turned me around and I never would have watched them. It's an atrocity.

(I will not mark this as a spoiler because I'm only guessing (currently at page 193) but because of Willa's friend, Marnie, lying to the press and saying that she and Willa were famous actresses, one or both of them are going to end up on the chopping block. I'm also pretty sure that Reid (love interest #2) or Jonathan (grouchy Hollywood director stepfather) are the killer/killers.)

Pathetic. I've now finished the book. Are you ready for a terrible red herring that is tossed off within pages? I saw right through this bad boy and actually cringed at the attempt. I knew exactly where the plot was going and didn't really care to finish. BUT I DID.

A child could see through this plot. But the book wasn't written for children!

I actually lost my page at one point and the book fell closed, and my immediate thought was "that counts as finished right?"

But I pushed through.

And all I have to say is this...

Any serial killer who is more concerned about you ruining your eye makeup than he is about killing you, is not a scary serial killer.

EDIT: I mentioned wanting to read The Breaking Tide in this review, which I still may because April Fools Day v The Shining sounds cool... but all of these books sounded cool. And all of them were crushingly disappointing with the same recycled main character who has been given a different name and hair colour. The Breaking Tide has been on Goodreads for at least two years now and at this moment, I don't think it's ever going to be released. I almost hope it isn't so I'm never tempted to read it.

2/5. Cool concept, cringey execution.
Profile Image for Beyond Birthday.
144 reviews230 followers
February 3, 2018
Slowly but surely, Katie Alender is creeping up to the top of my favorite authors list.

This book is lovely; charming and funny in the all right ways. Slightly creepy without being unpleasant (I'm looking at you The Gathering). And Wyatt...don't get me started. What a treat.
I want more books like these. I physically crave books like Famous Last Words.

Thank you, Katie, for putting a huge smile on my face, and leaving such a yummy taste in my mouth.

Consider yourself kissed.

PS. It's time to give you your own shelf: you earned it.
Profile Image for Deneé.
209 reviews59 followers
September 23, 2014
Originally posted at Novel Reveries

“It takes a lot to scare me, I’ve discovered.” (loc. 2777)

Such a chilling book! I drove through this book so fast, I would love a sequel! Famous Last Words takes on the concept of the movie Gothika and maneuvers it into the YA genre with hauntingly ease.

A serial killer is going throughout Hollywood killing and staging young aspiring actresses, and try as they might, the police can’t get of a grasp on who it might be. Willa, who has recently dabbled in summoning rituals to get in contact with her dad, just moved to L.A. and is gradually haunted by a spirit. Is this spirit connected to these murders? What are they trying to tell Willa? Willa must learn to live with this ghost and put up with their threats and alarming antics.

“Maybe it’s human nature to be drawn to the things that have hurt us the most.” (loc. 1803)

I greedily read through this book, even though I had figured out who the murderer was really early on. I’m not sure if this was because I’m a huge mystery buff, or not, but the author sustained my interest with great plot twists and wonderfully imaginative scenes. Famous Last Words is a loving marriage of mystery and the paranormal, which when done right, wins my vote.

“I’d thought having a ghost in the house was scary. But that didn’t compare with the paralyzing fear of her having abandoned me.” (loc. 2544)

This book was a great fast-read full of thrilling suspense, mystery, and a horrible haunting. If you love these elements in movies like Gothika and books by Stephen King, you’l go wild for these elements put in a YA twist.


First Line: “Nothing glittered.” (loc.18)

Galley provided by Netgalley via Scholastic

*Quotes are from uncorrected advanced galleys and may change before going to press. Please refer to the final printed book for official quotes.
Profile Image for Sivi.
38 reviews
May 20, 2016
I have to admit some scenes of this book creeped me out and that’s not easy because I’m no scaredy cat when it comes to books. This one would be more of a mystery book than a horror book, but still it made the hair on the back of my neck stand up sometimes.

Brief summary: Willa is a seventeen year-old who moves to a new house with her mother and step-father, in which weird things start to happen to her, like odd sounds and very weird stuff that I don’t know why doesn’t frighten her to death. And if that wasn’t enough there’s also a serial killer in town on the loose.

Good things: it was a light reading, not boring at all and quite entertaining. I love the paranormal stuff so I really appreciated that it was about a haunted house.

Bad things: I saw that final twist coming from a mile away. It wasn’t very original because once you’ve read several of this kind of books, you can tell what’s going to happen because they are all so similar.
Profile Image for Kira Simion.
819 reviews126 followers
December 18, 2016
I don't know why but I like to keep my review public. If there are spoilers, I will tell you (most of the time).

The killer is obvious because there are literally only two capable culprits. Seriously? I thought this was going to be a mystery book. *cries*

*dabs eyes* The characters are not relatable but, they are....different(ish?) There really is no point to some of the characters because the main character does not develop beyond the beginning self. She is pretty much the same person in the end too. So don't go expecting to cry over her. Or even cheer her on really.

The plot was straight forward, I like that it wasn't hard to read at all. Though as I previously mentioned, I feel as if there could've been more. I don't know: more development, subplots, and SUSPECTS! Murder=deduce who the killer is. The killer must be clever enough to stay hidden for most of the book, for the most part at least!

2.5 .5 for effort, 1 star for being straightforward, and 1 star because I read this pretty fast.
Profile Image for Alaina.
5,927 reviews216 followers
May 7, 2020
Famous Last Words has been on my TBR for like 3 years. I was so excited to dive into it and after I did, it was so good! A little disappointed in myself for waiting so long to actually read it but happy at the same time that I had the guts to do it now. Should've done it 3 years ago to be honest. I'm just happy that I enjoyed it so much.

The whole mystery and murderous killer definitely kept me on my toes. I have to be honest, it took me a while to even figure out who the murderer was. I would love to blame this on me being distracted with work stuff but that's not even true. That being said, the ending was kind of disappointing to me.

Maybe I was hyping myself up with all the ghost activity happening in this book. It just would've been a lot better if it was like an epic take down scene ya know? In the end, it was still good and I'm happy that I got to finally read it.
Profile Image for Dayla.
2,025 reviews201 followers
February 3, 2015
Review also appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7

Famous Last Words by Katie Alender is one terrifying and addicting ride. It's nothing extremely unique or artsy, it's just a good and dark fun time. It's got a great mystery that may not be entirely opaque, but will still have you guessing. The characters aren't your typical dense, "let's be best friends/let's date" type of characters that frequent many books nowadays--they have depth and grow and are imperfect, and it's okay.

Willa, the protagonist, has a bit of a problem. Recently relocated to Hollywood with her mom and new stepfather, the last thing Willa needs is to live in a potentially haunted house. Not only is there a serial killer on the loose, but Willa has to also contend with the possibility that something is stalking her at home. When the first event takes place (which is hinted at on the back of my hardcover copy of this book), it's the beginning of what is going to be a very creepy ride.

What I loved the most about this book is that Alender doesn't mince words. Every short description describing Willa's potential fall into insanity, or a nightmare is exact and powerful because she somehow knows how to get the reader's heart pounding. I read this at night (for a good chunk of it) and found myself looking around my dark room as a result. I loved it. I love the feeling of thinking that what I'm reading can directly affect my immediate surroundings (within reason, of course.)

The pacing was awesome and very rarely where we ahead of Willa in her attempt to solve the mystery. It was like we were her silent accomplices, waiting to see what she would do next. Though there were instances where I wanted to tell her to keep quiet, or to act a bit more spontaneously, I also understand that that would have gone against her character--but the fact that I felt involved enough to be afraid for her is a huge plus with this book.

Wyatt and Reed, the two main potential love interests, are both intriguing in their own way, making you want to know more. Her friendships are imperfect and rather than dwell on the drama of it all, she instead continues to investigate what's important. Despite her past and her tight hold on her emotions, Willa is a pretty sensible and intelligent character. Also, there's her own character growth that not only allows for her to accept who she is, but what has happened in her past.

Very rarely does a book have me guessing so much, especially when it's trying to scare the crap out of me at the same time. The characters were great and seeing them through Willa's mistrusting perspective was a great way to make everyone look suspicious. While the haunting was probably one of the things I loved the most about this book, I also enjoyed the interactions between the characters and how everything kind of connected at the end.

I was also really excited when I finished this book because I can finally recommend a book to someone who loved Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Dark mysteries in Young Adult literature are a bit harder to find, so whenever I find them it's like a little piece of happiness in the palms of my hands.

I would definitely recommend this book to readers who enjoy a darker and creepy mystery full of twists and spooky noises in the night. I hope to see more stories like this from Katie Alender in the future!

Happy reading!
Profile Image for Gabby.
1,170 reviews25.4k followers
August 4, 2015
"This is the kind of dream you don't wake up from Henry."
Holy shit I loved this book. I picked it up yesterday at Barnes & Noble not really expecting much, I just really wanted a good paranormal mystery thriller and I definitely found what I was looking for. This was much better than I was expecting! This is the first book I've ever read from Katie Alender and it certainly won't be my last. I already picked up Bad Girls Don't Die because I like her writing so much. I read some parts of this book late last night with just my tiny little book light and nothing else and it was scary as hell. I would not recommend reading this book alone in the dark haha.

This book is about a girl named Willa who recently moved to Hollywood because her mom married a big time director named Jonathan. Willa was a very likeable character and for the most part I didn't really have any major problems with her, besides some of her decision making skills that frustrated me a little bit, but other than that I really did like reading from her perspective. She meets "friends" along the way; Reed, Wyatt, and Marnie. The scene where she meets Marnie in the cafeteria felt like a scene straight out of Mean Girls, which I really liked. I almost wonder if the author did this on purpose, since the Hollywood killer is obsessed with recreating scenes from movies. Either way it was really cool. I loved all the creepy paranormal things that took place in the house (and in the pool) and that is what kept me so intrigued during this entire book. I literally devoured this book and finished it in one day because the writing was so gripping and intense, I just had to know what was going on. I love the creepy messages painted on the walls, and the candle light coming on by itself, and the bathtub filling up with water, and rose petals appearing out of nowhere and making paths. It was all very creepy and paranormal, which is exactly what I wanted. But it's also mysterious because you're trying to figure out who the Hollywood killer is, and I never would've guessed it by the way. The end of the story was very suspenseful and it all wrapped up quite nicely.

The characters seriously reminded me of characters from Teen Wolf. Willa is like Lydia (the banshee) who can't really tell the difference between reality and her visions, and she can see and hear things other people can't. Then we have Reed who reminded me a lot of officer Parrish in teen Wolf because they seem to have this underlying forbidden attracting between them but they can't do anything about it because Reed is her Father's assistant and what not. And then we get Wyatt, who in a lot of ways reminds me of Stiles from Teen Wolf. I know he's not nearly as sarcastic as stiles is, but he is really into solving the mystery and his Dad is a police officer, and he really cares about Willa's well being, so that reminded me a lot of Stiles.

On top of loving books I am a huge lover of movies, so I really enjoyed the whole movie aspect of this book (because it plays a huge part.) Willa's stepfather is a director, and all the deaths from the Hollywood killer are from classic movie scenes, and there are tons of movie references in the book, which made it so much fun to read. I was intrigued by the different ways the ghost in her house tried to communicate with her and even more surprised to find out who the ghost is. by the end of the book I still had mixed feelings about Marnie and I feel like her contribution to the story didn't do much for me. Overall, I just really loved this book. I can't wait to read more books from Katie Alender.
Profile Image for Jessica.
1,071 reviews218 followers
August 6, 2019
Blog | Twitter | Instagram

Katie Alender has fast become my latest go-to author when I want to read something quick, slightly shallow and a bit thrilling. I have to admit, when I first received her previous book (Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer) I was equal parts skeptical and intrigued in how she’d manage to portray the plots in which she writes. Thankfully, she’s proved to be immensely talented and her writing provides me with some of the funnest books I’ve had the pleasure of reading since Pretty Little Liars, Gossip Girl and Private.

Needless to say, Famous Last Words has been on my to-read list and was one of my most anticipated releases for 2014. It didn’t let me down, not even for a moment, and I think I enjoyed it even more than Marie Antoinette. Which is saying something!

It’s witty and pop culture friendly; set in a stylish setting and has the promise of bloodshed and thrills. Did I mention there’s also talk of ghosts tossed in with the murder? Oh my God, I can’t even begin to state how much of a light and fun read it is! If you’re fans of Katie or any of the books I’d listed in my introduction: You. Will. Eat. This. Up.

Full review: http://bookgirl.co.vu/post/9360989515...
Profile Image for Ivory.
75 reviews52 followers
May 5, 2016
I gave this book a 3.5. Famous Last Words is a supernatural thriller with a creepy mix of a ghost, multiple murders, a serial killer, and the magic of Hollywood. The book starts off right away. The house has a drippy leak that doesn't exists. There is a dead body in Willa's swimming pool, which disappears as soon as Willa's parents check on her. The mystery of the Hollywood Killer is not as climactic as it could be. Admittedly, I had a hunch as to who the murderer was going to be from the moment we first met him, but I wasn’t exactly sure how it was all going to come about and how he did it. I loved the creepiness of intertwining the murders with old movie scenes, this is what brought Hollywood to the book.
Paranormal events happen almost out of nowhere, and there were definitely some parts that had me looking around the room. The combination of Willa’s visions along with the paranormal episodes helped drive the story and made it hard for me to put it down.
This was my first book from this author, and I have a feeling that if I see another Katie Alender book, I will be glad to snatch it up.
Profile Image for Anastasia L..
20 reviews2 followers
December 5, 2014
Famous Last Words is about a girl named Willa that is troubled and has a bad past and moves to Hollywood with her mom and her new husband . Going on is a serial killer nicknamed "The Hollywood Killer" because he kill young, pretty actresses and stages them in deaths from famous movies. Willa starts seeing things and its up to her and her friend to find out who the killer is before it kills her.

I really enjoyed this book and I just kept reading it and I could not keep it down . It has amazing caracters and a rich storyline a enough susupence to keep you thinking "who is the killer?". I wouldn't reccomed this book for everybody because sometimes the scences were a little vivid and creepy but otherwise than that it is a great book.
Profile Image for Lauren.
138 reviews3 followers
January 18, 2021
Omg I don’t even have words at the moment! Just wow!! This was a very interesting book. I couldn’t put it down. I would definitely recommend it!! 🤯
Profile Image for ELLIAS (elliasreads).
478 reviews37.3k followers
July 30, 2015


This book....

the world in this book made no sense but OK.

I felt like the world in this book fits with the world in the 'Supernatural' TV series.

Seriously, Willa needed Sam and Dean Winchester's help with this 'problem.'

IDK. Was the author trying to make this book level with our sense of reality or a make-believe altogether?


I loved this book. It was funny, smart, and delightful to read. The characters in here aren't your typical YA characters with the boring stereotypical stats but new and refreshing to read. They made smart and agreeable choices that made sense and thought through, which I find rare in YA novels these days. They actually sounded, spoke, and acted like 'REAL' teenagers....thank god.

Anyways, maybe the plot was a little predictable and I guessed the killer right away. Could have been better executed on who the killer was? IDK, there were red-herrings thrown here and there but it was one of those red-herrings where it made you think it was the killer the first time, then threw you off, then made you think the person was the killer again but only this time, you don't believe because this has been done before. But I didn't follow that state of mind and stood to my decision. I was right lol.

However, it was a fun and creepy read to say in the least. 4 stars and I actually like to read books like this.....highly recommend on a cold dreary night. It will give you GOOSBUMPS.......btw, the upcoming Goosebumps movie looks cheesy and stupid AF. Sorry....not sorry.

Profile Image for ☆☆Hannah☆☆.
2,908 reviews37 followers
February 22, 2017
Normally I'm into this type of book. Who doesn't like a good mystery? However, I just didn't care much for the main character. No matter how nice her new stepdad was to her she was just kind of cold to him in return. Plus she lied a lot. The only reason this got 2 instead of a 1 was because by the end of the book she got better.
Profile Image for Brittany.
725 reviews25 followers
March 29, 2015
I thought this was entertaining, but not my style. I think my students will love it because it's artfully suspenseful and dramatic, especially for the target age group (middle school).
Profile Image for Michael.
205 reviews24 followers
December 30, 2022
After her mother weds a big time movie director, Willa finds herself in the land of glitz, glam, and movie stars. But the massive mansion she now calls home once belonged to Diana Del Mar (a nod to silent screen legend Barbara La Marr), and is supposedly haunted. To make matters worse there’s a serial killer afoot, bumping off budding actresses and posing them in scenes from classic films a lá The Birds and Kiss of Death. Given the classic Hollywood angle I knew this would be my cup of tea. And surprisingly the tea was served quite warm. There are a few more winks and nudges to the Golden Age and the action is brisk for the most part, although I thought the ending was dragged out a bit too long. Some of the dialogue is a bit shaky, but I was rooting for the protagonist the whole time (even if Helen Keller could’ve figured out who the killer was). All in all a fun, brisk read.
Profile Image for BookLover.
58 reviews
March 7, 2021
I loved this book so much much. I just love suspense with all the paranormal stuff going on and was so surprised when Reed turns out to be the serial killer and the ghost ends up helping her with defeat Read, I also totally thought her dad was going to die at the end but he survived. I really liked Wyatt and am glad they got together in the end. So if you like suspense, mystery, and romance all tied together then I would totally read this book.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Julia.
Author 1 book44 followers
June 7, 2019
I think I have truly outgrown this genre. More than half of the YA novels are just meh! to me. This one is no exception. I liked the blurb, but started skimming the book after the third chapter to just get to the basic plot.
Profile Image for Rachael.
298 reviews35 followers
February 17, 2019
I may have given this one a low rating but it was actually quite entertaining. I was mostly motivated by my desire to find out whether I'd guessed the killer right, but then I was right and it wasn't all that satisfying. It wasn't even just the killer that was predictable, just the whole thing. There were so many obvious signs as to how to book was going to play out, so when I finally got there I was just thinking "okay, what next?" My mind was already going to what I should read next.

It wasn't only the predictability that bothered me in this book. We got to know none of the characters very well, which I feel like was meant to make it harder to figure out the mystery when really it just didn't add a lot of depth to the book. The writing was easy enough to get through, though it wasn't the best. There were a lot of cliche lines in there, like "[the scent] invaded my nostrils", but there was a real lack of explanation or motive towards anything, especially concerning Willa's life. Like this mysterious Aidan. She doesn't want to think about him. Doesn't explain. Turns out he isn't important to anything at all, just the cause of an argument with her dad?

There was no explanation for the killer either. He just was. That really bothered me cause I actually wanted to know why the dramatics were need, you know aside living in Los Angeles and everyone there in this book being over-dramatic?

I listened to the audiobook for this and while it was entertaining and easy to get through, I couldn't really take it seriously, especially the end. It's partly to do with the writing, but the narration of the serial killer especially was just so over-dramatic that I just kept laughing when it was meant to be really serious. Not the best serial killer voice I've ever heard.

Don't even get me started on how the ending occurred. I just can't take that seriously.
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