Release Date: August 24, 2010
Age Group: Young Adult
Received From: Publisher
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
Pink-haired Hilda and oddball loner Benji are not your typical teenagers. Instead of going to parties or hanging out at the mall, they comb the city streets and suburban culs-de-sac of Los Angeles for sites of celebrity murder and suicide. Bound by their interest in the macabre, Hilda and Benji neglect their schoolwork and their social lives in favor of prowling the most notorious crime scenes in Hollywood history and collecting odd mementos of celebrity death.
Hilda and Benji’s morbid pastime takes an unexpected turn when they meet Hank, the elderly, reclusive tenant of a dilapidated Echo Park apartment where a silent movie star once stabbed himself to death with a pair of scissors. Hilda feels a strange connection with Hank and comes to care deeply for her paranoid new friend as they watch old movies together and chat the sweltering afternoons away. But when Hank’s downstairs neighbor Jake, a handsome screenwriter, inserts himself into the equation and begins to hint at Hank’s terrible secrets, Hilda must decide what it is she’s come to Echo Park searching for . . . and whether her fascination with death is worth missing out on life.
Are you tired of typical YA books? Tired of Cheerleaders? Sick of Jocks? Maybe you don’t even feel like reading about Vampires or Werewolves? Sounds like you need something gritty and maybe even a little morbid. I suggest you read John Belushi is Dead by Kathy Charles. I can almost guarantee that you have never read anything like it before.
Hilda, the main character, is not your everyday teen. She doesn’t go to parties with her friends. She doesn’t stalk hot celebrities in LA. No, along with her best friend Benji, she stalks the dead celebrities of Hollywood. They go to the sites of the glorious long dead. They take pieces of tile, or bricks as souvenirs. This is how they plan on spending their entire Summer vacation. Until Hilda meets a lonely old man and his young neighbor.
I’m a little bit in love with John Belushi is Dead. I knew as soon as I read the premise that it was my kind of book. I’ve always been fascinated by things like this. Serial killers, cults and now, dead celebrities. It did not disappoint. Within 5 pages I was hooked! I don’t think this book is for everyone, though. It does have a dark and sometimes twisted plot. It’s heavy on the morbid and death. That being said, if you have no problems with that then read it!
Hilda, Benji, Hank and Jake were all wonderfully written characters. Hilda is just trying to deal with the horrific death of her parents and death obsession was a realistic way to do it. Benji creeped me out from the very beginning. He was crazy and completely believable. He was the kind of guy you didn’t want to hang out with in high school because everyone knew he was going to go off the deep end eventually.
Their really wasn’t much romance in this book, but it really would have been out of place in this dark tale. While Jake came off as a little odd to me, I think his relationship with Hilda and Hank were just what the story called for. I wouldn’t change a thing.
As you can see, I loved John Belushi is Dead. It wasn’t predictable and it was completely different than anything else. You should read it. As soon as possible!!