Nerdlocker Book Review: Scarlett Dedd

Scarlett Dedd
Cover Art by Cathy Brett

Scarlett Dedd is dead, like, for real. And so is her family, and it’s all her fault. Kind of. Now they’re stuck together haunting their old house and it’s so. totally. lame. At least, it is for Scarlett. Not that her life when she was alive was all the great. She was as embarrassed by her hippie artist parents as any teenager would be, and because they were poor she was always stuck wearing ill-fitting thrift store clothes that did nothing for her extremely pale complexion (and they live in England so when she says pale she means pale-like-a-corpse pale). And then there is the unfortunate case of her last name, a source of endless ridicule considering her corpse-like pallor. But she had finally found a group of like minded kids that became her friends, and they did all kinds of fun stuff together, like making zombie films. And one of them she really really liked, and the whole being dead thing kind of put a damper on their relationships. And now that she’s a ghost she’s finding that she is more lonely than ever. Desperate times call for desperate measures though, and in her time of need she makes a very poor choice… she decides to kill her friends so they can all be ghosts together.

scarlett dedd text
terrible text design idea…

There is so much to like about Scarlett Dedd, from the absurdly macabre premise to the Tank-Girl-gone-goth illustrations. In fact, author Cathy Brett is an illustrator by trade. Scarlett Dedd is not quite a graphic novel but her illustrations and design play an integral part in the book, which lends a great deal of charm and some much needed depth to the story. The prose is not what I would call sophisticated but I don’t think that was ever her intention. Though told in the 3rd person, it is still told from the perspective of a fifteen year old, and it most definitely reads like it (albeit, an intelligent and insightful fifteen year old). There were, however, two issues I have with the design of the text specifically. Mostly I like the design of the text, the wobbly or skewed or wavy text works in the context of the story. But there is one instance where the texts spirals around itself for two whole pages, forcing me to turn the book over and over to read it. Sorry, but despite the fact that it mimics what is happening in the story, that is just not cool. It was almost annoying enough for me to just stop reading. Almost. Fortunately that happens only once.  The other issue is the lack of adequate space when there is a change in scene or jump in time. All of the sudden I would be reading about something happening hours later and wondering if I had skipped a page, but I hadn’t. There had just been no indication of a change in scene. It’s a completely forgivable thing, but again, slightly annoying. It’s akin to reading a paragraph with no punctuation. A valid stylistic choice, but an annoying one none the less.

On another note, there is a blog you can visit that is a continuation of the blog Scarlett has in the book. Check it out HERE!

I’m going to give this book 3.5 nerdskulls. I would necessarily recommend it to my adult friends as it’s really more suited to the tween age group. But if any of you have a particularly bright ten year old, or a particularly unusual, artistic, or culturally aware thirteen year old, they would probably totally dig this book.

The Dedds
The Dedds

Here’s a trailer for the book:

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I grew up on Kung Fu theater movie weekends, a lot of Top Ramen Noodles, G.I. Joe's, Evil Knivels Stunt Cycle and Stretch Armstrong. My Movie reviews and Artist Interviews have been a regular around Follow me on Twitter @arainbolt. or email me