By: Melanie | November 3, 2014 | (24) Comments

Review: Cooper Bartholomew is Dead by Rebecca JamesCooper Bartholomew is Dead by Rebecca James
Publisher: Allen and Unwin Australia
Release Date: October 1, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, NA, Thriller
Pages: 336
Source: Received in exchange for review
Goodreads | Purchase

Cooper Bartholomew's body is found at the foot of a cliff.


That's the official finding, that's what everyone believes. Cooper's girlfriend, Libby, has her doubts. They'd been happy, in love. Why would he take his own life?

As Libby searches for answers, and probes more deeply into what really happened the day Cooper died, she and her friends unravel a web of deception and betrayal. Are those friends – and enemies – what they seem? Who is hiding a dangerous secret? And will the truth set them all free?

A gripping new novel from the author of Beautiful Malice and Sweet Damage.

Before I go into my review, let me just clear up that this is a new adult novel. The characters have finished high school and most of them are twentyish, there’s a bit of sex that was described a little more than what you’d find in a YA novel. Just mentioning this because Goodreads has it shelved most as YA and that’s definitely not correct. I would have liked to know beforehand, y’know? Nonetheless, that didn’t affect my enjoyment.


I’m quite sure why most people want to read this book is to know what on earth happened to Cooper Bartholomew. I was one of those people–I love my mysteries and I love it when it’s all twisted and there are red herrings and suspicious people. That’s what I got. The mystery kept me flicking the pages into the night, I just had to find out EXACTLY what happened to Cooper Bartholomew.

All the characters were really well developed as well. I hated the characters that I was meant to hate and be suspicious of, and I loved the characters I was supposed to love. Cooper was such a sweet guy and didn’t let himself just be strung along with his friends. He was loyal too, and I definitely liked Cooper most. It’s a shame he was the one that wound up dead. As for relationships, I definitely approve of Libby and Cooper. I don’t think I love them to the point where I’d set sail to the ship but hey, they felt genuine and were great for each other. And no instant-love. WHOOT!

Sadly, I did have quite a few issues with this book. My first one was the love square. Yeah, you heard me. Love square. Thank God Cooper didn’t reciprocate the feelings towards all 3 of them, just to Libby, but it felt kinda weird how he had 3 people all in love with him. There’s Claire, the girl who hates Libby’s guts from a fight in Year 8 (like seriously?!) and there’s Sebastian who’s Cooper’s best friend. It was just weird to read–with three people pining for Cooper–if you know what I mean.

My second and final qualm is a spoiler, so only click if you’ve read the book already and want to discuss with me! View Spoiler »

I loved the characters and the mystery, but unfortunately some qualms lessened my overall enjoyment with Cooper Bartholomew is Dead. That being said, I still recommend this–the writing freaking suspenseful and you’ll never want to stop reading.

~Thank you Allen and Unwin Australia for sending me this copy!~

3 Stars
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Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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24 Responses to Review: Cooper Bartholomew is Dead by Rebecca James

  1. Yes, you are so right! I, too, found that the ending was a little… I don’t know, anti-climatic? As in there was nothing too shocking about it, if that makes sense! And yeah, this is definitely a NA adult; though from the reviews that I had read beforehand, I already knew this. I just thought it odd it had been marketed as a young adult novel.

    Great review! 😀
    Kara @ Diary of a Teen Writer recently posted…Sunday Weekly Wrap Up (36) In Which Kara Has Her Last HSC Exam TomorrowMy Profile

  2. I haven’t heard of this book and based on the average rating, I think it might be a while that I check it out 😛 Nice review 🙂
    Book Maniac Reviews
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  3. I’ve been super interested in this one because well…mystery. But I haven’t had the time to pick it up yet. I’m hesitating a little because I’m not a fan of the love square. That’s too much for me =_= But hey, at least there’s no insta love, right? Fantastic review, Mel! I’m hoping to pick this one up in the future 🙂 x
    Jess @My Reading Dress recently posted…The Darkest Minds #3: In the Afterlight by Alexandra BrackenMy Profile

  4. Jasprit says:

    Ahhh Melanie you always seem to get the awesome sounding books in Australia! I’ve heard of Rebecca James before, but I think I’m really interested in giving this one a go. I do love my mystery books now and again, so would certainly fund myself invested in Cooper’s story. It’s a shame about the love square though. Fab review once again Melanie! 🙂
    Jasprit recently posted…Monthly Recap: OctoberMy Profile

  5. I haven’t heard too much about this book, but that’s not surprising. Is this a North American release as well?

    Anyway, in as much as I enjoy mystery, I think quite there’d be quite a few factors that would deter me from enjoying this book. Least of all, is that weird romance/relationship dynamics.

    Thanks for your honest review, Melanie.
    Joy (Joyousreads) recently posted…[453]: Life After Life by Kate AtkinsonMy Profile

  6. Well lame. Yeah I read the spoiler and that is a big let down. I will have to pass now. I don’t like the sound of the love square either. Thanks for saving me the read.
    Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings recently posted…Review:We Were Liars by E. LockhartMy Profile

  7. *hi fives* Yup. That ending. It was just such a let down. WAH. And the build up had been so incredible and then….that was it?! *glowers in the corner* I’m really frustrated that this is being marketed/labelled as YA. IT SO IS NA. But like even emblazoned over my ARC cover is “great YA book for the holidays” or what not, and I’m just a little annoyed. I don’t actually like NA, so I wouldn’t normally have requested it.
    I do get that Cooper was super nice and that’s why he had like 3 people wanting him, but COME ON. Cooper’s friends were kind of pathetic about it all. Claire was awful and Sebastian was so whiny. -_-
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  8. Lily B says:

    Ha not heard of this one but…

    Yeah no love squares? I am glad they are rare, but I have read books with them in it and it’s like nooo

  9. Candace says:

    I don’t think I’d mind that kind of romance-square. And I want to know what happened to him! I don’t think I’d heard of this one before so thanks for bringing it to my attention!
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  10. Hmm…I’m not sure what to think of this Mel! You know how I am with NA, but if you’re the same way and were still able to enjoy it, I have a feeling I might be able to begrudgingly handle it. I read the spoiler section (*cue the gasps*) and definitely agree that it’s annoying that there was so much build-up for such a small resolution, you know? Thanks for sharing Mel, and fabulous review! <3
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  11. Morrighan says:

    Ouch.. love square..?! That sounds really awkward. The cover of this book isn’t something that I would ever pick up on my own (yes, I am a cover snob!) but the mystery does sound captivating. Although you only gave it 3 stars, I may just have to add this to my TBR shelf anyways. Great review ladies (:
    Morrighan @ Elysian Fields.
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  12. Good to know that it’s new adult. (I usually avoid new adult) That’s terrible that you loved the character who dies in the blurb. Good writing making you care about someone who you know you shouldn’t get attached to though. I haven’t read this, but I can’t resist a spoiler and I totally agree with you.
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  13. Lesigh. Love square? ==’ And they’re all meant to be twentyish? LOL! I’m not too sure about this one. I’ve seen it at my library so if I ever have time but then again, my TBR pile isn’t getting any smaller. 😛 Lovely review Melanie!
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  14. Kelly says:

    I had an inkling about the twist too, but not the ending. The love square was odd, but it felt like Cooper was just one of those charming guys that guys wanted to be like and girls wanted to be with. A little too perfect, so naturally everyone fell for him. I really enjoyed his and Libby’s relationship though. It was incredibly loving and tender. If the characters had been slightly younger, it would have been a mature young adult, but definitely not the typical new adult read. if those in the new adult genre were like this one, I’d definitely read a lot more of them. Sorry you couldn’t have enjoyed this one a little more poppet. Incredibly review <3
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  15. Lily says:

    Why had this one completely escaped my notice? It looks super interesting! *shakes head* I’m in love with the cover and love the fact that it is an NA since It doesn’t seem all that typical of one. Even though this one wasn’t as amazing as you wanted it too be you’ve piqued my interest! Great review 🙂
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  16. Wonderful review Mel, it was definitely suspenseful and the love square was something that I hadn’t seen before, heh! It definitely isn’t YA and I stated that in my review too. Glad it didn’t affect your enjoyment. The ending was definitely not what I expected as well, although it was kind of refreshing after reading about so many psychos where it did happen in a bad way too though? I don’t know if that made sense.
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Corruption by Jessica Shirvington Review: Taking M-Corp DownMy Profile

  17. Despite the ending not being as shocking as first expected, I’m still really glad that I enjoyed this book – and Rebecca James once again proved herself as the master of Aussie YA psychological thrillers. While the ‘love square’ was strange in some ways, the characters all seemed to have depth to them and were developed quite well. Great review Mel 🙂
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