Blog Tour & Review: Cooper Bartholomew Is Dead by Rebecca James

September 2, 2014 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 5 stars, Blog Tours, Books, Reviews

Blog Tour & Review: Cooper Bartholomew Is Dead by Rebecca James

Blog Tour & Review: Cooper Bartholomew Is Dead by Rebecca JamesCooper Bartholomew Is Dead by Rebecca James
Published by Allen & Unwin on October 1, 2014
Source: Publisher
Genres: Mystery, New Adult, Psychological Thriller
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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.

Jeann’s Thoughts 

Psychological thrillers are one of my favourites – and each and every one of Rebecca James’ novels have been flawless in that respect. They feature characters from the much overlooked demographic of university students, but these NA books are not your typical NA romance.

Cooper Bartholomew is Dead is told through five different people who were involved with Cooper before his untimely death, which happens at the start of the book. Going between Now after Cooper has died, to Before when Libby gets to know Cooper and the fall out between his ex-girlfriend Clare and best friend Sebastian, we see the pieces of the puzzle slowly put together as the story wears on.

I remember Cooper’s face as we talked about moving to Sydney. He’d been so bright and happy. He’d been so alive, so vital. So excited for the future. So why would he go and kill himself? 

Cooper’s death was written off as a suicide, but when we see his happiness with Libby during the “Before” perspective, we begin to ask questions. Was he killed, was it suicide, or was there foul play? What are his friends hiding? As we get to know the darker thoughts which Clare and Sebastian were feeling and how they felt cast aside and thrown away, we begin to suspect them and wonder who is telling the truth. Clues and red herrings will be thrown our way until the final few chapters, when we find out the truth – and all the parts fell into place. It’s one I never saw coming, but took a surprisingly different tone than other psychological thrillers I’ve read.

Rebecca James’ writing is simply phenomenal. There is something brisk, frantic and deep about it, that makes you want to keep reading and reading as you explore these characters dark, deep and sometimes sinister emotions. The perspective was experiential and surprisingly pulled off really well – it was told through first person for Libby and Cooper, but third person for Sebastian and Libby. This could have had the potential of being confusing but it surprisingly worked really well, as we experienced the depth of emotion and feelings that Libby and Cooper had for each other, but witness the spiraling fall into drugs, alcohol and self hate for both Clare and Sebastian.

It might be easier to accept his death if she could remember what had actually happened that night. She’d be able to grieve properly if she wasn’t so anxious and scared and full of guilt. But when she tries to recall that night the gaps in her memory are like a solid, impenetrable wall of black.

The characters were complex, deep and interesting – with Cooper being a lovely, perfect gentlemen who will have an eventual demise. Seeing him and Libby’s love story bloom was painful, as we knew the ending to this love story which would never have a happy ending. Sebastian and Clare stood out as the darker, angsty characters. Sebastian who is a gay, well off bachelor who harbours strange feelings for Cooper. And Clare, the popular girl who has fallen from grace spiralling into self pity, overdose and substance abuse. Libby was probably the least complex or stand out character out of all of them, being the questioning girlfriend for Cooper’s death.

As you’ve gathered, this definitely isn’t YA – there is heavy drug use and a fairly graphic sex scene within it. That didn’t affect my enjoyment though, I loved the university setting and the wide array of living situations, which was more relatable to me than American college students living on campus. The characters are either living at home or renting their own unit with a part time job, and they vary between being well off and struggling to make ends meet. They are dealing with identity outside of being the ‘popular kids’ at school. It was refreshing to read a setting that closer to home for me, without all of the usual cliches and drama that comes with high school.


Cooper Bartholomew is Dead is a thrilling excursion of seeing the pieces of a puzzle fall into place after you know Cooper is going to die. It’s a fantastic, addictive psychological thriller with complex character development featuring identity, loss of a loved one, parental expectations, angst, and battling high school cliches and expectations. Rebecca James can do no wrong in my eyes – I just wish all of you could pick up her books now!

Rating: 5 out of 5

Thank you to Allen and Unwin for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

Follow the tour!

Book Nerd Reviews – First Chapter Extract Monday 1 September
Happy Indulgence Books – First online book review Tuesday 2 September
Spec on SpecFic – First online Q&A Wednesday 3 September
Behind the Pages – Sneak peek under the cover Thursday 4 September
Chasm of Books – Signed ARC Giveaway Friday 5 September

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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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48 responses to “Blog Tour & Review: Cooper Bartholomew Is Dead by Rebecca James

  1. Glad to hear you loved DG as well – that book was freaking amazing. The povs weren't a problem for me, because aside from the 2 main characters, the rest were written in 3rd person. It was really interesting!

  2. I don't think I've read too many psychological thrillers myself, but of the ones I've read (especially in YA) I have LOVED. But I don't want to read it so much that it becomes cliche if you know what I mean. Thanks Sarah!

  3. Thank you Laura, I am in love with YA thrillers because they just make you want to keep reading and keep me guessing, and this one is a good one! Fingers crossed you love it too when it's out 🙂

  4. As much as I love pyschological thriller, I don't read them often enough. I read them when they come to me but I don't personally seek them out. I think I need to remedy this. I felt like I've missed out on this genre a lot and I call myself a fan. *shakes head* Fantastic review, Jeann! I'm excited to know how the multiple POV would work for me.
    Sarah @ Smitten over recently posted…Review: The Empress Chronicles by Suzy VitelloMy Profile

  5. I have never of this author or of the said book. It's very disturbing though. It's not every day you come across books that are about suicide. Or is it really suicide? I swear, I've only read one book that is about suicide but it's not a thriller. It's more of a journey to self-healing. But anyway, kudos to the author for being able to weave an unpredictable plot and that this is not all just about detective work but it also covered deeper emotional stuff.

    As always, lovely review, Jeann!
    Charlotte @ Thoughts recently posted…I Wish There Will Be Remakes Of Book-To-Film AdaptationsMy Profile

    • That's why they question his death, but in the book it is explored really well because the characters ask all the questions that we would ask as well. It was a really great book with the different perspectives. Thanks so much Charlotte!

  6. I NEED THIS! I also tend to yell when I get super excited. It's been a few months since I read my first Rebecca James novel and absolutely loved it! You were so right, she writes a phenomenal suspense. I can't wait for it to be released, I'll be gnawing my own arm off until then. Awesome review Jeann

    *YOINK* grabs copy and runs.
    Kelly recently posted…Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa KeilMy Profile

  7. My dear lord.

    I was keen to read this book before because I have a new found love for YA thrillers (even if this technically isn't YA – which in my mind is fantastic. There are definitely not enough books set in a university setting with people my age as characters. That sounds amazing) but now because of your review I WANT IT. AND I WANT IT RIGHT NOW.

    I will definitely be reading this as soon as I can get my hadns on a copy!

    lovely review, Jeann <3
    Chiara @ Books for a recently posted…Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. MaasMy Profile

  8. Ughhhh, Jeannn!! What are you doing to me?? 🙁 Dark, psychological thriller? A 5 stars? A mystery seen from the perspective of 5 people other than Copper? DUDE. DUDE. I WANT THIS SO, SO, SO BAD LIKE YOU WOULDN'T BELIEVE. I need this like fishes need water. I need this like we need air. I WANT IT!!! It has that Dangerous Girls vibe going on…
    Faye @ The Social Po recently posted…ARC Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas – “A Bit of Rants, a Bit of Fangirling~”My Profile

    • Haha I couldn't help it, you know how addicted I am to thrillers! I am sorry Faye, this is only available in Australia at the moment but Beautiful Damage by the same author is now available worldwide I think 😀

  9. Is this set in Australia? I really need to start reading more books written by Aussie authors. I notice some are set elsewhere – so I'm really interested in those that have an Australian setting. It's interesting how this is marketed as YA but sounds like it has more explicit sex than mine – and I was worried about how I would pitch mine! I'll be ordering this from the library. I am a little worried about getting attached to Copper though – it will be like watching Titanic…
    Lorelle Page recently posted…Writing is like dietingMy Profile

    • Yup, this is a book by an Aussie author, I recommended it to you to check out on Twitter because the characters are at uni. I found it interesting that it was marketed as YA and women's fiction – we'll see where it actually ends up going. I AGREE with the Titanic, Cooper was such a nice person T_T

  10. Wow, I was not planning to read this one anytime soon but after your review, I'm really eager to pick it up at the book store because I trust your judgement 😀 I like mysteries, but I often get too eager and try to figure it out, which ruins the ride and ending so me. So it's great to see that this story moves between a few characters, and you have to piece together more than one perspective to get the truth. I've heard only good things about this book, so hopefully I get around to it soon! Lovely review Jeann xx
    Joy @ Thoughts By J recently posted…ARC Review: Cherry Bomb by Jenny ValentishMy Profile

    • Hehe thank you Joy I really love these types of books! I hope my recommendation won't let you down hehe! I urge everyone to pick up her thrillers, I've loved every single one of them 🙂

  11. Beautiful review, hun! I've been wanting to read this for a long time… The cover is so captivating, and so is the summary! 5 stars? That must be so amazing, Jeann! I'm so so excited—living in the lives of scandalous university students? YES, PLEASE!

    • Thank you so much Mich, glad to hear you love the sound of it! I love all of Rebecca James' novels, they are really unique and yes, university is quite different to college for us in Aus.

    • Hehe it's still to be released in Australia, and probably wont' be available outside for a while yet. But her first 2 novels, Beautiful Malice and Sweet Damage are out and they are awesome! Thank you Lily 🙂

  12. I really feel bad as this is the first time I hear of this author and her books, but Cooper's story seems like a really interesting one. I don't read thrillers that much, but psychological ones are the best that for sure. I also love how this book is divided into Before and After her death. I'm so happy you loved it. I'll have to check it out. Great review, Jeann 🙂
    Tanja recently posted…ARC Review: The Perilous Sea by Sherry ThomasMy Profile

    • Ohhhh Tanja you are in for a treat if you love thriller books as I really loved all 3 of this author's writing, and the first 2 are available outside of Australia too. Especially psychological thrillers! Thank you lovely.

  13. I didn't even have to scroll down to see who today's reviewer was because as soon as I saw this cover I knew it was Jeann 😀 Muhaha. It sounds like a good and captivating story, but I just don't do well with multiple POVs. I'm even having trouble with two sometimes let along 5 O_______O But I guess it could work well for this particular story. So happy you liked the writig style and seriously? The characters sound so diverse and I'm glad that the author explores so many different topics. Really happy you loved it so much, lovely!

    Siiri @ Little Pieces of Imagination

    • Haha yes I have an obsession with psychological thrillers at the moment! Ah, it's a shame the multiple povs don't work for you, they aren't for everyone. I like how they are used to show different perspectives from characters though but as long as they aren't thrown in randomly. Thank you lovely!

  14. I so could NOT put it down!!! XD I'm a bit ticked off that it's being marketed as YA though….totally misleading and I got a bit of a shocker. I'm not opposed to NA, particularly, but I prefer YA so I was miffed when they were all in college, yet my ARC cover specifically said "perfect for YA audiences". No. No it's not. >_< STILL! I definitely loved the thrill aspect and it was boring. I'm so so sad Cooper is dead though. THAT GUY WAS THE NICEST THING OF EVER.
    Cait @ Notebook Sist recently posted…Guest Post: Emily @ The Loony Teen Writer || Do you believe in skim reading?My Profile

    • Oh Cait, I'm glad you enjoyed it as well, and I could see why you thought it would be purely YA from the marketing! I was shocked at the drug use and strong sex scene too especially when it had YA plastered over it. Cooper was a really nice guy and it was just a shame

  15. Now that I've read Dangerous Girls, I want to read ALL the thrillers – it's such an exciting genre and I don't know how I haven't read more!! Just having a quick look at my TBR, it appears I have Sweet Damage by Rebecca James, so I'll have to move it up the pile. Also, I love that there's a university setting that seems quite Aussie – not many people I know live on campus, it seems to be a very American thing.
    Emily @ The Loony Te recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: characters I’d want at my lunch tableMy Profile

    • I know, I think this genre has really taken off in YA but not so much that everything reads the same you know? I loved Sweet Damage, as well as Beautiful Malice by the same author. Exactly, it's a lot more relatable for us I think!

  16. Eugenia @ Chasm of B

    Awesome to see that you loved this one Jeann! Rebecca James is certainly an amazing writer when it comes to psychological thrillers. She pulls off the dark tones in the writing style and complex characters so well which make for an addicting read. Fantastic review!