Monday, September 28, 2015

Book Review: The Sweet Dead Life by Joy Preble

Book #1 of the The Sweet Dead Life Series
Genre: YA Paranormal Mystery
Publication: May 2013 by Soho Teen
Acquisition: Received an ARC at BEA 2012

Synopsis:
I found out two things today. One, I think I’m dying. And two, my brother is a perv.

So begins the diary of 14-year-old Jenna Samuels, who is having a very bad eighth-grade year. Her single mother spends all day in bed. Dad vanished when she was eight. Her 16-year-old brother, Casey, tries to hold together what’s left of the family by working two after-school jobs— difficult, as he’s stoned all the time. To make matters worse, Jenna is sick. When she collapses one day, Casey tries to race her to the hospital in their beat-up Prius and crashes instead.

Jenna wakes up in the ER to find Casey beside her. Beatified. Literally. The flab and zits? Gone. Before long, Jenna figures out that Casey didn’t survive the accident at all. He’s an “A-word.” (She can’t bring herself to utter the truth.) Soon they discover that Jenna isn’t just dying: she’s being poisoned. And Casey has been sent back to help solve the mystery that not only holds the key to her survival, but also to their mother’s mysterious depression and father’s disappearance.
(from Goodreads)

2.5 / 5 Stars

This one was...weird? I don't even know.

I'm gonna have to say I didn't really like it much.

I wanted to like it and I did enjoy parts but once the nitty-gritty story really got going I found myself rolling my eyes more and more.

The story is implausible. And yes, I understand that almost ALL books with even a hint of the paranormal could be implausible.

With The Sweet Dead Life, it was the non-paranormal stuff I just couldn't get my head around. Family dynamics, character motivations, plot...it was all a little thin to me.

The format of chapters as diary entries threw me off too since I'm not a fan of this style unless it's done in a particular way.

There was also a big case of the MC Jenna's inability of realizing that A+B=C. It took her way too long to figure things out. Maybe it's because she's only 14? But then, her voice was much older and sometimes it wasn't young enough...if that makes any sense.

Overall, not a horrible book - but for me - the elements I didn't like outweighed the elements I did.

Wouldn't flat out not recommend this one as I do think it's another case of the 'not for me but maybe for you'....with perhaps more emphasis on that 'maybe'.

If you read it let me know what you think!

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