The Sweet Dead Life by Joy Preble is a “YA mystery,” but I definitely feel this one is geared more toward middle schoolers (even if it does drop the “F Bomb” a few times).
Jenna’s dad disappeared when she was nine, her brother smokes too much pot, and her mom has basically checked out. But what’s even worse? Jenna is pretty sure that she is dying. She pukes too much, has weird headaches, passes out at random, and has bright green pee.
One fateful night, as Jenna’s brother Casey rushes her to the ER after she collapses, he ends up crashing their tiny Prius. When Jenna finally comes to in the hospital, she discovers two things: 1) Someone has been poisoning her beloved boots that she wears every single day. 2) Her brother looks good. Too good. The stoner gut and greasy hair have miraculously been replaced by rock hard abs and perfect movie star waves.
With Jenna’s brother sent back to Earth to be her guardian angel, the sibling duo band together to solve not one, but two mysteries: who has been poisoning Jenna (and possibly her mother, too) and what happened to her dad all those years ago? Did he really leave them, or was something more sinister at play?
This book definitely had some great snark, but all in all I feel it was a little lack luster. Perhaps this is because the main character is in eighth grade, but the whole time I just kept thinking what idiots they were. The mystery really wasn’t all that mysterious, and the book read really slow. It took me a week to finish, because I just wasn’t interested
I give this tale 2 out of 5 stars.