It’s a Wonderful Death
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Release Date: October 6th, 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fantasy, Paranormal, Supernatural, Teen
Rate: 4 out of 5 stars
Seventeen-year-old RJ always gets what she wants. So when her soul is accidentally collected by a distracted Grim Reaper, somebody in the afterlife better figure out a way to send her back from the dead or heads will roll. But in her quest for mortality, she becomes a pawn in a power struggle between an overzealous archangel and Death Himself. The tribunal presents her with two options: she can remain in the lobby, where souls wait to be processed, until her original lifeline expires, or she can replay three moments in her life in an effort to make choices that will result in a future deemed worthy of being saved. It sounds like a no-brainer. She’ll take a walk down memory lane. How hard can changing her future be?
But with each changing moment, RJ’s life begins to unravel, until this self-proclaimed queen bee is a social pariah. She begins to wonder if walking among the living is worth it if she has to spend the next sixty years as an outcast. Too quickly, RJ finds herself back in limbo, her time on Earth once again up for debate.
RJ is a snarky, unapologetic, almost unredeemable, very real girl. Her story is funny and moving, and teens will easily connect with her plight. Prepare to meet the Grim Reaper, who’s cuter than you’d expect; Hawaiian shirt–wearing Death Himself; Saint Peter (who likes to play Cornhole); and Al, the handler for the three-headed hound that guards the gates of Hell. This cast of characters accompanies RJ through her time in the afterlife and will do their best to gently shove her in the right direction.
(I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review).
(This review may contain spoilers).
I thought this book was a particularly intriguing one, even though I didn’t feel like I really liked RJ to begin with. I did think she was quite a selfish character… at least to begin with. At the same time, she was clearly determined and not willing to give up, which actually made her grow on me eventually.
I thought it was interesting to see the way the afterlife was run. I felt a bit sorry for Yeats and Hazel, having to deal with the mix-up. I would have liked to see more details about Gideon. His interactions with RJ were interesting and it would have been good to see how the whole Reaper thing worked. I didn’t see the gypsy as a character, but just from what was detailed in the narration, I really didn’t like her.
Although I did feel the summary did give away a good portion of the start of the book, I still found it interesting to see the different points in her past where RJ had the opportunity to change her life and the choices she had made.
I thought it was interesting to see the way souls travelled to the afterlife, as well as the whole lobby area. I had a lot of sympathy for Sandy. It was nice to see her as a strong person and one who was supportive of RJ… even despite the problems she herself was having.
It was interesting to see the stark contrasts between RJ at the beginning and RJ at the end. I liked seeing her interactions with Daniel and even though she’d had a lot of problems with the good people in her life, it was really nice to see how things turned out with Madeline. And even though RJ had changed… it was good to see how she kept the core of who she was.
I found this book really easy to read. I was drawn into the storyline with no problems and although I didn’t like RJ for a while, I was emotionally invested in her. The ending of the book was satisfying, if a little sad, and I’d be interested in seeing more of RJ and the other characters… especially given how amusing Death Himself was at times.
This book was a nice, refreshing change to the protagonist who suddenly finds herself the chosen one in some prophecy. I’d recommend this as an entertaining read with a character who does grow and mature as a person by the end.
Sarah J. Schmitt is a K-8 school librarian and Youth Service Professional for Teens at a public library who, in addition to planning a variety of events, enjoys opening up the world of books to reluctant readers. She runs a teen writing program that combines Skype visits from well-known authors and screenwriters and critique group style feedback.
Prior to immersing herself in the world of the written word, Sarah earned her Masters of Science in Higher Education Administration and Student Affairs from Indiana University where she worked with first year college students as they acclimated to college life. Sarah lives outside of Indianapolis with her husband, two kidlets and a cat who might actually be a secret agent. She is an active member of SCBWI, ALA and the Indiana Library Federation and is a regular participant at the Midwest Writer’s Workshop. Her debut novel, IT’S A WONDERFUL DEATH, comes out Fall 2015 from Sky Pony Press.
One winner will win (US ONLY):
A SIGNED copy of The Heir by Kiera Cass OR a SIGNED copy of HOOK’S REVENGE by Heidi Shultz
A Handmade bracelet in RJ’s favorite color: purple
A IT’S A WONDERFUL DEATH swag pack
A Funko Pop! Pocket Keychain (Game of Thrones Daenerys Targaryen)