Book Review: The Cutting Room Floor

The Cutting Room Floor CoverBook: The Cutting Room Floor by Dawn Klehr

Expected Publication Is October 8, 2013 by Flux|Expected Number Of Pages: 327

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

The Cutting Room Floor is an e-ARC from netgalley.com, which has not influenced my review in any way

Goodreads|You Can Find Dawn Klehr On Goodreads

Goodreads Summary: Behind-the-scenes secrets could turn deadly for Desmond and Riley

Life in the Heights has never been easy for seventeen-year-old Riley Frost, but when she’s publicly dumped and outed at the same time, she becomes an immediate social outcast at her high school. So Riley swears off romance and throws herself into solving the shocking murder of her favorite teacher, Ms. Dunn.

Riley turns to her best friend, budding filmmaker Desmond Brandt, for help. What she doesn’t know is that Dez has been secretly directing her life, blackmailing her friends, and hoping his manipulations will make her love him. When his schemes go too far, Dez’s web of lies threatens to destroy both of their lives.

There is a lot going on in The Cutting Room Floor!  The Cutting Room Floor seemed like it would be super-creepy and mysterious, but it wasn’t as creepy as I thought.

The Cutting Room Floor turned out to be an okay read for me, and a big part of it is how much is going on.  You have Dez’s obsession with Riley, who is dealing with being outed and trying to figure out her sexuality and solving the murder of her favorite teacher.  Things just didn’t come together as well as I was expecting.  Ms. Dunn’s murder is brought up at the beginning, only to disappear for most of the book, and then reappeared at the end of the book.  Also, certain details brought up in regards to her murder were never resolved, and didn’t have anything to do with who actually killed her, so I’m not sure why they were introduced to begin with.

As for who killed Ms. Dunn, it felt really random- even though I figured out who it was pretty early.  The clues became obvious to the characters at the end, and I was left wondering what these clues were, and why it was so obvious to the characters, even though I managed to correctly figure out what her killer was.  In all honesty, I was kind of hoping for more of a connection between Dez’s obsession with Riley and the murder of Ms. Dunn.  It would have made a lot more sense instead of the person who actually did it.

Also: Dez’s obsession with Riley.  Totally creepy, and he’s really manipulative.  He does his best to ruin her audition into a performing arts college because he wants them to go to school in the same area., and he does everything he can to break up her relationships.  I just couldn’t like Dez, and there were times when it seemed like we were supposed to like him and feel bad for him because Riley wasn’t interested in him.  I was also REALLY irritated that Dez kept trying to convince her that she was straight, even though she was still in the process of figuring out her sexuality.

I actually really liked seeing her struggle to figure it out, because that’s not a perspective I’ve come across in YA before, and it was refreshing to see it.  But I also felt like it wasn’t addressed as well as it could have been, especially since the possibility of Riley being bi seemed to be hinted at, but was never acknowledged or brought up.  I actually thought this story line was the most interesting one of the book, and while it was a pretty good chunk of the book, it wasn’t as interesting as it could have been.  Still, I thought Klehr did a really good job at showing what Riley was going through and some of the things she had to deal with.

I also liked that Dez and Riley are really into movies, and that film was really important to them.  It was really cool to see parts of the book written as a screenplay, and how Dez remembered things as scenes from a movie.

Dez and Riley takes turns narrating the book, and while I usually have strong thoughts on multiple narrators, I don’t have strong thoughts either way.  It wasn’t done horribly, but it wasn’t amazing either.  It was nice seeing both of their stories, but overall, it was okay.

Final Thoughts:

The Cutting Room Floor was just okay, and I wasn’t sure what kind of story Klehr was going for.  The different elements of the story didn’t come together for me.  The different elements just didn’t seem to be developed as well as they could have been. While there were a couple really interesting and refreshing things about this book, it wasn’t enough to grab my attention.  The Cutting Room Floor gets 2 stars.

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