Friday, November 8, 2013

The Sweet Dead Life by Joy Preble Review

“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."

And I'm lying some more. It's yet another book with angels, this time Casey is the angel with wings but no halo.  

The Sweet Dead Life may raise some eyebrows because of this question: Who wants to kill Jenna Samuels? And why? She's only a young girl, with a father who has abandoned her and a mother who can't remember anything. She looks like a normal girl from a sad, yet also tragically normal family. But she's being poisoned by a snake's venom. It's definitely not the works of Voldemort's snake. 

After a car accident, Casey dies and becomes holy like an angel. (Even though he doesn't have the characteristics of an angel). It turns out he's Jenna's guardian a-word. (BTW, the next book's title is The A-Word, according to recent news. Definitely referring to Jenna's way of calling angels, angels. She hates saying angels, but instead calls them "a-word" or by their names). 

The mystery behind the The Sweet Dead Life nearly cause me to hit the roof. I was like, really? Did that...? It turns out that the mystery isn't as impressive as what you'll think. And Voldemort is not, in any way, involved with the poisoning of Jenna. (Sorry about the Voldemort and his snake references. I've been rereading Harry Potter lately.) There's three things (I think and I hope I name them correctly) that motivates the villain: fear, desperation, and sadness. Readers who already read The Sweet Dead Life, I ask you this question: did I get them all?

The Sweet Dead Life is an above average book, but not too flashy or anything. I was like (beginning expression) eh, (middle of the book feeling) okay, and (end of the book feeling) what in the world!?! To me, this book was pretty dramatic, when you look at the growth of my feelings and thoughts. 

And the ending. Let's not go there, because I'm pretty sure that I will talking (and repeating) about how the book didn't make an ending with huge drama. 

Rating: Three out of Five

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