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THE SWEET DEAD LIFE by Joy Preble

THE SWEET DEAD LIFE

By Joy Preble

Age Range: 13 - 18

Pub Date: May 14th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-61695-150-4
Publisher: Soho Teen

For 13-year-old Jenna Samuels, things have been going really badly: She’s pretty sure she’s dying, her father has mysteriously abandoned the family, her mother is nearly catatonic with depression, and then her brother dies and becomes an “A-word.”

Her life—and health—rapidly disintegrating, Jenna is convinced that she is dying. Through her journal entries, she recounts what she knows for sure as she tries to piece together a month’s worth of her life turning upside down. Jenna and her anything-but-cherubic brother Casey work together with the help of another angel, Amber, to determine what exactly has happened to the Samuels family and why. Soon they discover a sinister plot and realize they must save their family before it’s too late. Jenna’s sarcastic and sassy tone will easily resonate with readers, and her keen observations are derisive and laugh-out-loud funny. While the refreshing lack of romance is a welcome change from the usual angel fare, some conventions of the trope remain (will we ever get away from paranormal beings who sparkle?). Certain plot aspects, however, seem not entirely fleshed out: Amber’s character has a shadowy past that’s never addressed; it’s never really clear how humans can see and interact with angels and never guess that they’re otherworldly; and then the book abruptly ends—perhaps a sequel waits in the wings?

Hallelujah! A paranormal tale of angels that’s not a romance, making it a novel that breaks the mold. (Paranormal fiction. 13 & up)