Friday, March 16, 2012
Croak by Gina Damico
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Lex Bartleby is a 16 year old hellion. She’s about to be expelled, but the fact that there are only 2 days left of school kind of defeats the purpose. So the principal lets it slide with the promise from her parents that she will straighten up over the summer.
Summer. This Summer will be spent working on her Uncle Mort’s farm. Apparently when Dad was sharing with his younger brother all the trouble Lex has been causing, Mort said, “send her here, I’ll take care of it” and that’s what they did.
Only good Ol’ Uncle Mort isn’t a farmer….nope, he is the mayor of Croak. What is croak? Well that’s the town in upstate New York where the grim reapers who work the Eastern third of the US live, and work. And Lex is about to become their newest rookie.
This was such a fun read. I loved the town of Croak which really took all the death clichés and ran with them. With cocktails like the Yorick that is served in a skull! The main street is called “Dead End”. Going through the ether made me think of Space Mountain on an acid trip. And the absurdity of the afterlife…Former Presidents giving newcomer orientations and everyone picking on Edgar Allan Poe.
Lex starts out really rough around the edges…but the whole reaping thing softens her a bit. That is until she reaps her first murder victim and she can see exactly who the murderer is. That when she starts pushing back. Looking for guidelines…boundaries. This is also the same time where a series of murders start showing up as “unknown”. Any reaper with a little experience can tell you exactly what someone died of…but not these people who have all white eyes. The more Lex questions and pushes the more she sinks into the mystery, up to her eyeballs, and the more the townspeople start to blame her arrival for all the troubles.
You have to read this book! If for no other reason than to find out about the world of grim reapers! The gallows humor was just the right amount. The explanations for how the reaper world works were completely plausible. I can’t speak highly enough about this funny and highly imaginative read. I so hope there will be more from Gina Damico and Lex.
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Posted by Pam Steinke at 8:18 AM