Monday, December 10, 2012

Sweet, But Dead

Expected Publication:  May 14th, 2013
The Sweet Dead Life 
By: Joy Preble
Soho Press
ISBN-13:   9781616951504

“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.


     Jenna Samuels has a pretty sucky life, watching out for herself ever since her Dad disappeared and her Mom lost her mind.  Her older brother Casey isn't much help either, with his pervy tendencies but he has a good heart and is trying his best to support them by working two jobs.  But lately Jenna has been deathly ill and when Casey is rushing her to the emergency room one night, they get into a car crash and Casey is transformer - into an angel!  Soon Casey and Jenna figure out that she was being poisoned, by someone who doesn't want a dark secret to be uncovered.  To help their Mom regain herself, the two need to figure out who wants her to stay crazy.  Also, their Dad is out there somewhere and it may be closer than they ever dreamed.  Will they succeed, or will Jenna's family stay broken?  This book was FUNNY.  I was so surprised that I was really into a book with a 13 year old protagonist.  Although her life really sucks and she might be dying, Jenna knows who she is and what she wants.  She refuses to compromise.  The description for the book makes you think that Casey is some deadbeat pervert.  But really he's just dealing with their Dad being gone in a very different way than Jenna is.  I enjoyed the brother-sister interactions.  But the whole angel thing was slightly confusing.  Also the identity of the villain, and why they were hurting Jenna and her Mom, was extremely predictable.  I saw it coming from within the first few chapters.  If there is a sequel I will most likely read it, but I wasn't in love with this book.  It was a well-written, fun read though and I would recommend it.

VERDICT:  3.75/5  Stars

**I received this book as part of Around the World ARC Tours, run by the lovely Princess Bookie. No favors or money were exchanged for this review. It will be available for purchase on May 14th, 2013.**

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