“The Sweet Dead Life”—A Book Review

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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 The stoner gut and greasy hair have miraculously been replaced by rock hard abs and perfect movie star waves.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.

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“This is W.A.R.”—A Book Review

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This is W.A.R. by Lisa Roecker and Laura Roecker was an intriguing tale about murder and retaliation.

The novel starts off from the prospective a young girl drowning— fighting for her life, but failing.

“Willa Ames-Rowan never gave up and welcomed death. Willa Ames-Rowan simply died.”

All of the members of the Hawthorne Lake Country Club witness the police pulling the lifeless, blue-lipped, body of teenage Will Ames-Rowan from the moonlit waters of the club. Many individuals are interviewed by the police. And even though several people saw club heir, James Gregory, ride off in a motorboat with Willa and return alone, no dare says anything. Because when nothing else will, money speaks volumes.

 “Esteemed members of the Hawthorne Lake Country Club handled the tragedy much like they handled rare bone cancers and childhood diseases with no cure: they threw money at it.”

Four teenage girls are completely outraged that the Captain (the owner of the Hawthorne Lakes Country Club) thinks he can help his grandson get away with murder by paying off everyone involved. Thus, they decided to take matters into their own hands. For these four girls, a safety deposit box containing $75,000 in cash, an overwhelming since of guilt, and a striving need for vengeance translates to three little words. This is war.

Told in alternating narratives, this book gives insight into the lives of the rich, the not-so-rich, and the burden overbearing parents can cause. Though you think you can know someone by their social status, their grades, or their appearance, this definitely isn’t so.

Overall, I would give this book three out of five stars. It wasn’t amazing, but it wasn’t horrible either. It kept me intrigued enough to keep reading to see if the girls’ plans would work and if justice would finally be served.