A.J. Lape, Grade A Stupid (The Darcy Walker Series Book 1), 2012.
[As of this posting, the Kindle edition is FREE on Amazon-- which is where I obtained my copy!]"The Valley of the Shadow of Death called today, and I understand you happened across a dead body," says dear old dad. But not only does 15-year-old Darcy Walker discover a corpse in the dumpster; she also climbs in-- regardless of the horrible stench, yucky stuff that may or may not be refried beans, and all she's heard about DNA evidence-- to make sure that the guy isn't (somehow) still alive.
Because that's what Darcy does. The insane, reckless, confrontational, big-hearted thing that lands her in it and digs her in deeper. Every. Single. Time.
And it's Darcy's first-person voice that makes this book, well, addictive. When I began the first chapter and encountered what seemed a typical YA love triangle-- two improbably handsome and muscular teenaged boys vying for the heroine-- I might have thrown the whole thing aside if it weren't for such first-chapter lines as
"...[H]e's Liam-freaking-Woods. It's not a good sign when you have a middle name of freaking. It's just not."
"I had a beef to take up with the universe if and when I ever made it to the Principal's Office in the sky. It was my opinion people should be as revolting on the outside as they were on the inside."
"I was codependent, people. No one had to shove a psychology book in my face."
Wisecracking, insecure, self-aware Darcy kept me turning those pages until the adrenaline-pumping plotline kicked in, when of course the pages seemed to fly! I truly enjoyed this YA mystery/thriller; and I can't wait to read further in the series out of a genuine interest in this heroine. Whatever happens to her? She's... astonishing.
And about the mystery part: I did NOT see that coming! Perfect, poignant ending, too.