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DEAD RULES by Randy Russell Kirkus Star


by Randy Russell

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: June 21st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-06-198670-3
Publisher: HarperTeen

Not your usual paranormal romance.

Romeo and Juliet meets Daniel Waters in folklorist Russell’s wry teen debut. After a deadly freak bowling accident on a double date, high-school junior Jana Webster (of Webster and Haynes, regional champions in Duet Acting, as she’s quick to mention) finds herself in Dead School, right in her hometown of Asheville, N.C. As in real high school, rules and cliques govern Dead School. Jana, a Riser (with a promising placement after graduation), is supposed to avoid Sliders (whose fates are on a downward spiral). Since Sliders still have an attachment to Earth, she asks Slider Mars to help her communicate with her boyfriend and love of her life, Michael Haynes. While Jana plots to kill Michael so they can be together forever, Mars believes Dead School is a chance to learn how to change their destinies. The pacing intensifies as Jana discovers the truth about her death, and the real star-crossed lovers emerge. Sarcastic quips and double entendres drive the story’s humor, but it’s the sensitivity of the supporting characters (like Beatrice, who after inviting her crush to her church picnic and sneaking off to the woods with him so he can feel her up, dies when a stray lawn dart strikes her head) that allows Jana (and readers) to see laughter within tragedy.

Wickedly clever. (Paranormal romance. 14 & up)