TITLE: The Sweet Dead Life
SERIES: Sweet Dead Life #1
AUTHOR: Joy Preble
PUBLICATION DATE: May 14, 2013
PUBLISHER: Soho Teen, An imprint of Soho Press Inc
PAGES: 244 pages
RATING: 4 stars
Jenna Samuels’ eighth grade year isn’t going exactly how she planned. She’s dying and the doctor’s cannot figure out what’s wrong with her. Then she has a seizure and on the way to the hospital, gets into a car wreck where she is sure she sees her brother die. But when she wakes up in the hospital, Casey is just fine, better in fact. He’s hair and skin have visibly improved and he’s belly has magically transformed into six pack abs. What the fuck, right. Apparently Casey is an A-word (Jenna cannot bring herself to say “angel” just yet) and he was sent back from heaven to find out who is poisoning her and why.
I’ve been avoiding writing this review just a little. It was partly because I was already caught up in another amazing book and wanted to continue with it and partly because I’m not exactly sure what to say. This book was very good and entertaining, but I can’t seem to pinpoint exactly why, even in my disconnected thoughts so having to put it into words is a bit difficult. I liked most of the characters. Jenna’s smartass attitude and slight potty mouth (she does cuss some, but never says anything truly foul, in my opinion) had me relating to her within the first few pages. She is a bit repetitive, but let’s face it, what 14 year old girl isn’t? Casey was a very interesting character and I loved that becoming an angel didn’t just magically solve all his problems. He still has to work and go to school and try to kick his pot addiction, but with the added bonus of being much more attractive. I loved the obvious affection between the two of them. In the beginning, Jenna complains about him quite a bit, but it’s clear that she loves him a great deal.
I think the reason that this is so hard for me is because it was intensely interesting and then quite a bit boring and then interesting again. In the beginning, when they were trying to figure out what was wrong with Jenna, I was addicted. Call me a House MD addict, but I loved that. Once you find out that she is being poisoned, which is pretty early on, I was bored. Who was poisoning her? Sure, I was curious, but it wasn’t a driving need. She whole plot sort of slowed and the self-deprecating death humor disappeared because Casey was in fact dead now. Then, you start to unravel the mystery of why her dad left and what’s wrong with mommy dearest and things got very interesting again, if a little predictable. ****SPOILER****I mean, let’s be honest, when they figure out mom is being poison as well, but with a different poison than Jenna and go into the search to discover what Mom consumed that Jenna and Casey didn’t, who didn’t know exactly what was poisoning her and who was behind it?****END SPOILER**** The ending was good, with all the mysteries solved, but I was so highly disappointed with their dad and even more disappointed that Jenna wasn’t angrier with him. ****SPOILER****Yes, his disappearance was beyond his control, with the whole memory erasing drug thing, but he started remembering MONTHS ago and didn’t even bother checking on his wife or kids. Not once did it cross his mind that mmm maybe my wife can’t afford all the bills and they are living in the gutter or maybe my son had to give up the things he loved just to keep them afloat? Worst. Father. Ever. Man the fuck up dude!****END SPOILER****
Really, this was an interest story with great characters and pretty amusing writing. If you want a pretty good mystery, this is for you!
****Thank you to Soho Teen, An imprint of Soho Press Inc for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****