Review: The Cutting Room Floor

Title: The Cutting Room Floor
Author:
Publication:  October 8, 2013 by Flux
Reviewed by: Taryn
Rating: 4 stars
Reason for Reviewing: Ebook provided in exchange for an honest review.
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.

“If I knew then what I know now, I never would’ve sent that text. I wouldn’t have done a lot of things. Yeah, if my life were a movie, I’d go back and edit out all the bad stuff. Leave it all on the cutting room floor.

But I can’t. And now I will have to pay.

Big time.”
~Dez, p. 7 of The Cutting Room Floor
Dez and Riley grew up as next door neighbors in the Heights, and they’ve always been close friends. But Dez secretly loves Riley. In fact, it’s more like an obsession. Dez goes to great lengths to interfere with Riley’s love life behind the scenes in the hopes that they end up together. But the problem is that Riley only sees him as a friend. She still has feelings for her ex, Emma, even though Emma outed her to the school and sent her to “social death row”. Tori, mean girl and mayor’s daughter, makes Riley’s life miserable as much as possible and teachers ingore the verbal abuse she endures.

The only teacher that Riley has ever trusted and truly connected with, Mrs. Dunn, was brutally murdered inside the school. Riley starts investigating the circumstances surrounding Mrs. Dunn’s death and makes some shocking discoveries that make her start questioning who she can really trust. She also discovers how Mrs. Dunn was connected to the mayor, which causes her to dig even further for clues and attempt to be friendly with Tori in order to gather more evidence.

The Cutting Room Floor was an intriguing, suspenseful read that kept me entertained as the clues unraveled and multiple characters became suspects. I really enjoyed the interesting use of the filmmaking theme--many scenes were written as if you’re seeing through the eyes of a film director. Flashback sequences were included frequently to reveal characters’ backstories. Also, the point of view switched back and forth between Dez and Riley, which kept things interesting and moved the plot along. There were a lot of secondary characters to keep track of, but Stella really stood out as someone who was a great friend to Riley and who accepted her for who she was. While some of the characters seemed a bit over the top, Stella seemed pretty normal and believable.

As a librarian, I think it has high teen appeal with its themes of bullying, self-discovery, and pursuing your passion. But older readers looking for a suspenseful thriller will also find something to enjoy.

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