The Life and Death Parade by Eliza Wass
Quercus Books, 2018. ISBN 9781784295271
(Ages: 12+) Highly recommended. An exquisite painting of the stages of grief and acceptance following the death of a loved one. Eliza Wass shares a breathtaking story of love, loss, and the lengths people go to to preserve their loved ones.
Nikki met his fate after meeting a psychic who told him he had no future. The Bramley family have been wallowing in their grief for a year. Kitty's boyfriend is dead and yet he haunts the family home - his death causing Kitty to feel even more out of place than before. A third-generation orphan, Kitty believes that her greatest talent is in losing people. But can she turn that around and help the people who have sheltered her and cared for her since her mother's death?
In her desperation to discover the truth of Nikki's death, Kitty finds herself at the Canal where, a year ago, it had all changed. But this time the psychic's boat is different - a boy sits on deck. His name is Roan and he claims he can speak to the dead. Thinking it might help, Kitty takes Roan back to the castle to speak with Holiday and Lady Bramley. While Roan makes quick progress helping them with their grief, Kitty discovers that while most of The Life and Death Parade is a farce, Roan is the real deal, talented in many things, including resurrection. Faced with the most difficult decision of her life, Kitty must decide if Nikki should stay dead, or return to life.
Beautifully written, Eliza Wass presents a book that deals with the grief of losing a loved one gently, a testament to her own experience. She includes excerpts of poems written by her late husband which break up the work. I read the novel in one sitting and would highly recommend to readers twelve and up.