Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Croak by Gina Damico
"Sixteen-year-old Lex Bartleby has sucker-punched her last classmate. Fed up with her punkish, wild behavior, her 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 that of shoveling manure.
He’s a Grim Reaper. And he’s going to teach her the family business.
Lex quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated entirely by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. Along with her infuriating yet intriguing partner Driggs and a rockstar crew of fellow Grim apprentices, Lex is soon zapping her Targets like a natural born Killer.
Yet her innate ability morphs into an unchecked desire for justice—or is it vengeance?—whenever she’s forced to Kill a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again. So when people start to die—that is, people who aren’t supposed to be dying, people who have committed grievous crimes against the innocent—Lex’s curiosity is piqued. Her obsession grows as the bodies pile up, and a troubling question begins to swirl through her mind: if she succeeds in tracking down the murderer, will she stop the carnage—or will she ditch Croak and join in?"
Croak was so much better than I expected. And I'll tell you right now, I had high expectations for a novel that focused on a topic such as this one does.
Lex Bartleby spends her days at her high school kicking some serious ass. She punches everyone--she is not discriminate on who is deserving of her fist in their face. But...only two years ago, she was a model student. Hell, she was the Hall Monitor for chrissakes!
That's the question you'll be asking yourself--along with Lex, her sister, her parents...everyone who knows her...
Until her parents come up with what seems like a brilliant idea. Lex is to spend the summer in up-state New York with her absent Uncle Mort. She's angry, of course. Thinking she's going to be spending her summer shovelling horse shit and stacking hay.
But when she arrives, and is greeted by her Uncle Mort who rides a motorcycle and has purple hair, she realizes that something is entirely wrong with the town of Croak.
Uncle Mort explains to her that Croak is a special town. In fact, it's a town that caters to nothing but Grims--people who help transition souls from our plane to the next, appropriately deemed the Afterlife.
Okay, summary over, peeps.
Lex is a very, very strange and odd character. I mean, she punches people, wears black hoodies seemingly every day, and has no qualms about talking shit to anyone, about anyone.
To sum her up: She's my new favorite character. She's gutsy, ballsy, and she's totally kickass.
Her friend, partner and roomie, Driggs, is also an interesting kid. Their first meeting is hilarious (no, I won't tell you, cause then you'd be prejudiced and not laugh, probably!), and I think it set these characters up for a hilarious dialog and time together. Which it was. Their conversations are wonderfully entertaining.
The Afterlife is a wonderful place, too. Liz spends a bunch of time talking to a hilarious and morbid Edgar Allan Poe. (Him and Teddy Roosevelt are...not quite friendly (in fact they hate each other)...But that's just the most interesting pair in the world!)
But the book isn't all fun and games. In fact, it deals mostly with death, seeing as how Lex Kills (with a capital 'K') people and Driggs contains them until they can deposit them in the Afterlife. Their friends all do similar things.
The underlying plot is that people who are not set to die and be sent to the Afterlife are turning up dead, revealing that one of their own has gone rogue and is killing people. Even though they're deserving of it, which Lex seems to agree upon.
As I said, summary over.
The book was odd, interesting, intriguing, morbid, hilarious, and gave me a very entertaining Saturday while I read it.
Loved the premise, the characters, and the creepy/adorable cover. Can't wait for more from this series. 5/5 stars.