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Read and Reviewed

Merin is a teacher, a book blogger, a baseball addict (Go Cardinals!), lover of music, movies and TV crime dramas, and YA/MG connoisseur. Follow me on my blog at http://ahandfulofconfetti.wordpress.com!

Currently reading

Her Highness, the Traitor
Susan Higginbotham
Progress: 23/323 pages
Jane Eyre
Ruben Toledo, Charlotte Brontë
Progress: 162/453 pages
The School for Good and Evil
Soman Chainani
Progress: 40 %
Rainbow Rowell
Progress: 46/433 pages
Croak - Gina Damico I've been in a bit of a slump regarding books, having a really hard time finding something that really drew me in and held my attention (seriously, I have four that I've started and set aside just in the last couple of days). That was cured by Croak; I started this book and didn't even THINK about reading anything else until this one was done. This book is very charming and has a wonderful sense of humor about it - sometimes sarcastic, sometimes just LOL-funny - which is especially interesting for me personally considering the subject matter. I mean, Grim Reapers and death isn't really all that laugh-worthy, right? But in the world of Croak, and especially in the narration of our main character, Lex, it totally is. I loved every single second of this book.First off, Lex is probably not what you would consider a charming main character, considering that when we first meet her, she's in the principal's office with her parents after getting into yet another fight. But the fact of the matter is that her inner monologue is simply hysterical; there's really no other word for it. She has a very dry outlook on life, and it shows in her inner musings. She says exactly what she thinks, and doesn't really care of her opinion bothers other people. And while she's suddenly given in to these violent tendencies, the truth is that she doesn't know why, she doesn't know where the anger has come from, and she doesn't know how to stop herself from lashing out. You can tell that she's just as confused as everyone else. So when her parents decide to send her to her uncle, she is of course hurt that they'd send her away, because they're her parents and they're supposed to love her unconditionally and put up with all her crap.But then she meets Uncle Mort, and things suddenly become crystal clear: she's angry and lashing out because she's hit the age where her Grim Reaper blood has stirred. And this is when things got really fun and exciting. She meets a whole group of Juniors - kids around her own age who all have their own stories and histories and can exchange stories about their own falls into delinquency - and it's at this point where I was just completely charmed by the entire world, all the characters, and the story itself. Lex is thrown headfirst into the art of Killing and Culling souls, and of course is paired with a ridiculously attractive guy named Driggs (who was also taken in by her uncle, who, by the way, the family thinks is a farmer) and t~e~n~s~i~o~n starts to form between them, but it was done in such a way that it didn't feel ridiculous or overdone and definitely couldn't qualify for insta-love (which, thank God, seriously, because I would have hated to take away any stars!). On top of all of this, Driggs and Lex start to realize that something weird is going on, in that people are dying who aren't supposed to be. And this is where the mystery and danger start to come into play.Now, I have lamented the fact that I have read several books already this year that use the "teenage girl tries to solve the crimes instead of leaving things up to the proper authorities" trope, but, again, this was done in a way that was different and refreshing, and, yes, I'm going to use that word again, just utterly charming. Mixed in with the strange deaths are all of these humorous asides like how random people have died (shooting themselves in the chest with a nail gun to kill the mosquito that had landed there, choking on a hamster, getting run over by an airlines luggage cart, etc.), and the fun things that Lex and her fellow Juniors do for fun. It really helped keep the grimness (yes, pun intended!) of their occupation from getting too dark.And then you had the mythology of the Reapers, and the story of that one frightening Grim who took his powers and disobeyed the laws and killed for fun, which turns out to be a main focal point of the book and the overlying mystery. I probably should have seen the "bad guy" before it was revealed, but was so caught up in Lex and Driggs' adventures and growing relationship that I didn't. Needless to say, that part of the book - just like the rest of it - was well done.The ending's a little achy-breaky, though, and definitely sets itself up for the second installment (anyone know how many there are going to be total?), so be forewarned about that. But this was just such a good, fun and different book that I was utterly captivated from beginning to end, to the point where I could hardly put it down. If you're looking for a book that's a bit different but utterly charming and hilarious, give this one a read. I would highly recommend it!