After intrepid high-school reporter Millie Ostermeyer and the friendly janitor accidentally stumble across the recently murdered corpse of the unlikeable football coach, all clues point to Millie’s father being the murderer. Desperate to clear his name (and prevent her arch-nemesis Vivienne from getting the scoop), Millie begins to investigate with the help of mysteriously handsome classmate Chase and her local librarian, who are both struggling to hide their own secrets.
Beth Fantaskey’s Buzz Kill was billed as a Nancy Drew meets “Clueless” kind of book, but both Nancy and Cher are far superior to Millie, who comes across as self-absorbed and slow-witted. She spends the book bumbling into near-death/illegal situations, far more concerned about her childish rivalry and blooming crush than her own father’s impending imprisonment. The real (unsung) hero of the story was Baxter, an adorable basset hound, who deserved far better than being adopted by Millie and does more detecting than she does. Chase wasn’t terrible, but he and all the other supporting cast, including Vivienne and the librarian, were basic high school caricatures.
The writing style also felt very young, with copious use of sanitized teenage slang and a plotline that meandered like a toddler. The story was neither funny nor fresh, more suited to a middle-grade than young adult audience. Overall, Buzz Kill quickly buzzkilled my enthusiasm for a light mystery. It wasn’t even mediocre, it was as actively annoying as a lingering fly.