Review Blog

Jan 24 2013

Croak by Gina Damico

cover image

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. ISBN 9780547608327.
(Age: 13+) Recommended as a humorous paranormal read. Lex's behaviour has become violent, so her parents have sent her off to live with her Uncle Mort to try and get her to calm down. She thinks she is going to be staying on a farm, but when she gets there she is shocked to find that her uncle is a Grim Reaper and he is going to teach her the family business. She discovers that she fits in really well in the town of Croak, but her sense of justice doesn't allow her to disregard the action of murderers.
I picked this title up from a best book of 2012 list and really enjoyed its originality and humour. Damico has the ability to write not only very funny dialogue but she keeps the reader grinning with her descriptions and the names of the town of Croak, its streets and surrounds. Her conversations with Edgar Allan Poe and the games of US presidents in the Afterlife are also hilarious. However there is also a dark side to the story and the mystery surrounding the unexplained deaths is riveting and there is also some heartbreak that will bring a tear to the eye.
Lex is a fabulous heroine. She is smart and fits in well with the Reapers, but finds that she cannot subdue her sense of justice. It becomes imperative that she discovers the killer who leaves victims with strange eyes but no cause of death. This of course gets her into trouble in the town of Croak and her adventures with Driggs and a group of young misfit reapers are a great read. The love interest with Driggs will keep young readers interested but it is her character, her forthright manner and her quirky sense of humour that will remain in the reader's mind.
This is a good book to offer teens who would like a break from the saccharine paranormal romances that abound at the moment.
Pat Pledger

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