Author: Gina Damico
- Series: Croak #1
- Published: March 20, 2012
- Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
- Reading Level: Young Adult
- Pages: 311 pages (Paperback)
- Source: Bought
Fed up with her wild behavior, sixteen-year-old Lex's 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 shoveling manure. He's a Grim Reaper. And he's going to teach Lex the family business. She quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. But Lex can't stop her desire for justice--or is it vengeance?--whenever she encounters a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again. Will she ditch Croak and go rogue with her reaper skills?
This book is such a unique interpretation of the Afterlife! I love reading things such as this, but if you are a firm believer in Heaven and Hell and everything of the sort, this is not a read for you. This is an entirely different Afterlife where John Wilkes Booth arm-wrestles Abraham Lincoln on a daily basis while Edgar Allen Poe and Teddy Roosevelt are in a constant battle of pranks that ends when Quoth the bird poops on Teddy's face. Yeah, this is a pretty awesome Afterlife, but one where all the baddies and goodies get sent to together to decide what to make of the rest of eternity.
Lex used to be a straight-A student. She was ideal and perfect, but she's done a complete 360 in the last two years. Now, she's full of an uncontrollable rage that causes her to punch, kick, and maim everyone on campus, even the football players. Her mouth is foul and everyone knows to run away from the girl in the black sweatshirt. But the Summer before her Senior year, her parents send her off to Uncle Mort's farm to get her attitude in check. What they didn't know is that Croak is actually a small town full of brilliant Grim Reapers, and Lex is one of the best they've ever seen. But Lex starts struggling with her job, knowing that she can't stop the bad guys who hurt her innocent victims. When a reaper begins crashing and killing individuals that should not be dying yet that have committed heinous crimes, all fingers point to her and though Lex agrees with whoever is doing this, she knows it's up to her to stop them before too many innocent people and Grims are killed.
Can I just say that this was an amazing and hilarious read? It was full of such imaginative destinations and Damico's writing style is brilliant. I easily immersed myself in Croak and I hated the thought of leaving it. I fell in love with pretty much every character that we came across in Croak besides a select few like Heloise, Zara, and Norwood! Zara is jealous of Lex's natural ability and Heloise and Norwood are just mean people, but, hey, you can't love everyone! The entire crew in Croak is lovable, especially Driggs, who is certainly an awesome love interest. He's just as infuriating as Lex is, so they make a good match, though their romance is barely existent in the book. (My fingers are crossed that it is more prevalent in the sequel that comes out in September!)
I had trouble getting into the book in the beginning, before we got to Croak. Lex's outbursts were completely uncalled for and I had trouble liking her, but as I began to understand the reason for such outbreaks and I learned more about her as a person, they were easily forgotten. Still, a mother having to restrain her 5 foot daughter with a jump-rope is a bit silly, don't you think?
Either way, I am anxiously awaiting the sequel to this 4 star novel. This interpretation of death, the afterlife, and what happens to a soul is both fascinating and attention-grabbing. I do recommend this to any fantasy lover that likes a decent mystery with a whole ton of hilarious jokes thrown into the book (most at the expense of Ferbus who is always the one that ends up with a lampshade on his head.)
The cover is shiny! SHINY! That's definitely a plus. Lex looks incredibly badass, the title is adorable, and the scythe is wickedly awesome. I adore this cover, there's nothing to hate about it!