Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Thomas Allen and Son)
From Goodreads: "Sixteen-year-old Lex Bartleby has sucker-punched her last classmate. Fed up with her punkish, wild behavior, her parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape. But Uncle Mort’s true occupation is much dirtier than that of shoveling manure.
He’s a Grim Reaper. And he’s going to teach her the family business.
Lex quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated entirely by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. Along with her infuriating yet intriguing partner Driggs and a rockstar crew of fellow Grim apprentices, Lex is soon zapping her Targets like a natural born Killer.
Yet her innate ability morphs into an unchecked desire for justice—or is it vengeance?—whenever she’s forced to Kill a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again. So when people start to die—that is, people who aren’t supposed to be dying, people who have committed grievous crimes against the innocent—Lex’s curiosity is piqued. Her obsession grows as the bodies pile up, and a troubling question begins to swirl through her mind: if she succeeds in tracking down the murderer, will she stop the carnage—or will she ditch Croak and join in?"
I must admit that prior to reading this book I thought hat it would be a more serious take on the paranormal, not unlike Lilith St. Crow's "Strange Angels" series- however, it was anything but. If I had to describe this book I would say that it reads like how Stephanie Perkins (author of "Anna and the French Kiss" and "Lola and the Boy Next Door") would write a paranormal (or how I imagine she would)- an intentionally humorous book chock full of fun and feisty paranormal beings.
While I did enjoy the humor of the book (I can't recall ever having rolled my eyes at it, finding it to be too cheesy/ overdone, something I admittedly do quite often), I did find myself rolling my eyes at Lex on multiple occasions primarily because I found her to be a bit too feisty/ quick on the draw with her "Look-at-me-the-wrong-way-and-I-will-beat-you-to-a-pulp-while-a-smile-adorns-my-face-the-entire-time" attitude. During many of these times she didn't feel real to me- she almost felt like a parody of a 'tough chick' character or that she had an impenetrable wall built up around her. While the circumstances surrounding the end of this book were quite sad I must admit that I liked seeing said wall come down, letting us see the real Lex.
Furthermore, I also had a bit of a problem with the villain. I not only wish that they had been less obvious, but that they had been more developed/ complex (in fact, now that I think about it, I believe them to be one of the least developed characters in the book).
That being said, I LOVED the additional secondary characters of this book- from Uncle Mort to Driggs (seriously, all of the awkwardness between Driggs and Lex made my heart SO HAPPY), to the rest of the junior reaper gang. Each of them had well developed personalities, helped to perpetuate the storyline (unlike with other books where the secondary characters, especially the best friend characters, are just there for the sake of being there), and were people I'd like to know in real life.
All in all, I think that if Lilith St. Crow's "Strange Angels" series, Rachel Vincent's "Soul Screamers" series and a little dash of Stephanie Perkins books were to have a baby, this book would be the result. Despite my complaints I eagerly away to see what the next book in the series, "Scorched", has in store for us!
I received this book from the publisher to read and honestly review. I was not compensated in any way for said review.
Memorable lines from the book:
"Tyrannosaurus Lex, as they called her, was an equal opportunity predator" (1%).
"She wished, as almost all kids wish at one point or another, that she could turn into a pterodactyl and fly away and never come back" (3%).
"You know, on most planets, guardians feed their kids three meals a day."
"The seems excessive" (22%).
"You guys are best friends?"
"We prefer the term heterosexual life mates" (31%).
"Lex, in the space of two months, you've punched me in the face, kicked in the nuts, and permanently demolished my kidneys. You really think I believe you need my protection?" (85%)
"Why did you just kiss my ear?"
"Because you turned your head."
"I thought that the tree... moved."
"Do you mind if I try again?" (86%).