Saturday, July 21, 2012

Croak by Gina Damico

This is one of the books that I got at BEA, autographed of course!  It was a little further down in my stack to get read until I found out I will get to host the author during August, the Authors Are Our Rock Stars Hop month!  (And also my 3rd blogoversary month, stay tuned for fun!)  And I have to say I'm glad I went ahead and picked it up, and that I get to host Gina Damico, because it was a good, fun read!
I actually used to love the show Dead Like Me, a story about reapers, so this book about a similar type of storyline, reapers, really was a good one for me to read.  This is a bit different though.  In Damico's story, the reapers are still alive, although they do tend to live together in different towns throughout the world.  The main character of this story is Lex, she is 16 years old and has a twin.  But over the last few years she changed, all of a sudden she just started punching people and cursing, and just all around violent behavior.  Finally, it is the last week of school, and the principal would kick her out, but her father promises he's going to send her to her uncle in upstate New York to work on his farm. Now, the funny thing is they tie her down with jump ropes to tell her this.  She of course is not happy about this, but kind of sees that she does need to do something as she is not even sure why she has all this rage and is behaving this way.  She gets to the small town, her uncle shows up, and right away things are weird and crazy!  Then, she finds out he is a reaper, living in a town full of reapers. And he has figured out that her behavior will make her a perfect "Killer"/reaper.  There are partners, a killer, who touches and pulls the soul out of the bodies, and the culler, who collects the soul into a container to be taken back to the afterlife.  Now when they go to do their job, it is like they are frozen in time, and so everything in the scene is stopped.  Lex sees the murderer in one of her first jobs, and wants so bad to be able to kill the bad guy. But that is against the rules.  You can only kill who is supposed to die.  However, they soon find some strange killings are going on, deaths with the cause unknown both by their sources, as well as the people in the real world.  And while Lex kind of understands why this person is doing it, she also knows she really needs to find who is doing this kind of vigilante reaping.    Even when she kind of sees why they are doing it.
First, let me touch on the one thing I had a problem with.  The way Lex was at the beginning, violent and all that, I have trouble identifying with a character like that.  Kind of like I did with Wildefire by Karsten Knight.  But again, same as with that book, once I got into the story, and understood why they were the way they were.  And I grew to really like Lex.  Her sense of humor was awesome.  And I just loved when she'd go to punch people or something similar.  I really liked all the people and their sarcasm in this story.  I really liked the town, and I can't wait to go on and read the next in the series, Scorch.  This was a book I read in basically a day, I didn't want to put it down when I had to, and was always thinking about picking it back up and reading constantly.  The "romance" in the story was so tongue in cheek, without being sappy and silly, and I loved it, seemed so realistic and perfect for the the character of Lex.  There were even a few bits that reminded me a bit of Lemony Snickett's Series of Unfortunate Events, in how something would be explained, that really you probably already knew, but the way it was done was funny and fit perfectly.
Me with Gina Damico at BEA 2012
Oh yeah, one last thing I have to complain about with the book.  On page 141, one of these explanations says that "As everyone knows, the offer of an onion ring is not to be taken lightly."  Okay, I can go with that, onion rings can be pretty tasty, but the next line is where I beg to differ, "Onion rings are far more valuable than their throw-away side dish counterparts -- french fries and potato chips..."  I would so take french fries over any other side dish.  So, a little disagreement there.  :-)