Seventeen-year-old Cassidy Haines is on a quest to unravel the mystery of her own death, about which she can remember nothing except for the fact that it might have involved kissing someone other than her boyfriend.
The police suspect that it was a suicide, but this doesn’t ring true to Cassidy or to her best friend, Aimée. Intriguing? Perhaps. Neal’s debut is much like a soufflé that collapses upon being served. Though not particularly groundbreaking, the premise is promising enough, but it simply can’t support the meandering plot and disappointingly flat characters. Unfortunately, the limits on Cassidy’s ability to sleuth from the afterworld create an awkward distance between Cassidy and the action—and readers. Cassidy is often a passive observer, spending the bulk of the novel looking on as Aimée scrambles to find out who was responsible for her death. The only person Cassidy can communicate with is her boyfriend, Ethan. This means that in order for her to play an active role in Aimée’s investigation, she must go through Ethan first, making her twice removed from the action itself. Finally, there is far too much importance placed on secondary characters that are either never fully developed or developed far too late. Maybe Cassidy should have stayed in the morgue and let Aimée tell the tale.
Less of a whodunit and more of a who cares. (Paranormal mystery. 13-17)