Paperback, 384 pages
Published September 18th 2012 by HarperTeen
Pop quiz: What would you do if you had to solve your own murder to get anywhere in death?
Maybe if I hadn’t slept through my alarm, slammed into Kristin (my high school’s reigning mean girl) or stepped in a puddle, destroying my mom’s new suede DVF boots (which I borrowed without asking), I wouldn’t have been in the wrong place at the wrong time, and I wouldn’t have been pushed in front of that arriving train. But I did, and I was.
When I came to, I was informed by a group of girls that I’m dead. And that because I died under mysterious circumstances, I can’t pass straight over to the Other Side. But at least I’m not alone. Meet the Dead Girls Detective Agency: Nancy, Lorna, and Tess–not to mention Edison, the really cute if slightly hostile dead boy. Apparently, the only way out of this limbo is to figure out who killed me, or I’ll have to spend eternity playing Nancy Drew. Considering I was fairly invisible in life, who could hate me enough to want me dead? And what if my murderer is someone I never would have suspected?
In my culture we believe that forty days before you die, you get visited by the angel of death every night. Now, on the one hand, it’s pretty cool that I know so that I will be able to get my life sorted before I hit the bucket but on the other hand, being visited by the angel of death is creepy and likely to contribute to my death before the date. When Charlotte is murdered, she is flummoxed. She didn’t even know that she had enemies – also, being pushed off the train platform to become roadkill? Scares the crap out of me considering the number of times I take the train in one day.
Anyway, the main character is definitely likeable. She manages to balance her emotions wonderfully; she’s dramatic without being melodramatic and cool without being cold. I liked the pacing and the mythos surrounding death is, while not crazily original, innovative enough to retain its freshness. I loved the gradual appearance of friendship between the girls – female friendship does not get enough face time in YA novels – a trend that sorely needs to change. It is fun to see such different characters putting their differences aside or working together despite their differences. Some of their investigative “techniques” are hilarious and make for really fun reading.
The romance, after death, is interestingly mysterious. There is no definite closure or confessions at the end which is awesome for the sequel if it ever gets written. I liked that the love interest and Charlotte have actual conversations and that he actually helps her survive her death (as weird as that may sound). The romance before-death – well, we don’t get to see much of it. We only see it in its unraveling and while the truth is harsh, I liked how Charlotte took it.
Also, I was rather surprised by the denouement. I didn’t expect it to be who it was. Which was interesting.
All in all, this is a pleasantly fun novel to read. If you liked Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday, then you will definitely like this. Recommended.