By: Gina Damico
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Published: March 20, 2012
Barnes & Noble
Fed up with her wild behavior, sixteen-year-old Lex’s parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape. But Uncle Mort’s true occupation is much dirtier than shoveling manure.
He’s a Grim Reaper. And he’s going to teach Lex the family business.
She quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. But Lex can’t stop her desire for justice—or is it vengeance?—whenever she encounters a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again. Will she ditch Croak and go rogue with her reaper skills?
Does Croak have the fundamentals of the average YA novel? Lets see shall we?
Is the protagonist wimpy and winy? Nope! She's actually the bully at her school. She has random fits of rage where she just wants to hit something. When her parents break the news to her that they are sending her to her Uncle Mort's for the summer they actually tie her up to the kitchen chair first and remove all the sharp knives from the dinner table. For good reason too since when they tell her the news, she flips out.
Is there a love triangle or a love interest with an unattainable bad boy? NOPE! In fact Lex wants nothing to do with the opposite sex. Yes she thinks her reaper partner is hot but she doesn't dwell on it. Heck, on the first day she punches him in the eye and then later kicks him in the balls. She is clearly not boy crazy throughout the book.
Does the cover have a female in a ball gown? Nope! It's a picture of Lex in her reaper gear which is a black hoodie with her scythe. Besides, I couldn't even picture Lex in a ball gown. I don't know if you could even force her into one let alone have her prance around in it. She just isn't the girly girl type.
I loved that this story was unlike the mainstream YA books out there. Lex is what most would consider the bad guy. She's rude, abusive and just a psychotic mess. She swears so much that she has probably put enough pennies in the swear jar to cover her college tuition. And I love her! She doesn't have a filter, she says what's on her mind and more often than not it offends people. Lex is a breath of fresh air.
Lets not overshadow the names that Gina came up with for her characters. You won't find Sarah, Brad or a Jimmy in this bunch. Nope you get Lexington (Lex), Concord (Cordy), Briggs, Ferbus, Elysia, Kloo and Zara and that's not even all of them.
The whole story was entertaining. The world of Croak, a town that is run by Reapers and is the central hub for the portal for the afterlife, was in my opinion... genius! Whenever a tourist wanders in, they squeeze them of their money by gouging prices or charging for services such as offering directions and then douse them with amnesia and send them on their way. The various people that you get to meet in Croak are all entertaining and I must say that I am a huge fan of Uncle Mort's. I was picturing a balding heavy set man but instead we get a thin man, with a full head of hear who rides a motorcycle and swears just as much, if not more than Lex. The only thing that took some getting used to was the fact that the book is in third person. But after a while you get used to it and you hardly even notice. My only complaint is the ending. After what happens with Lex, you would think that she would go ballistic and kill the traitor but instead she has a conversation with the person. Yes, afterwards she beats herself up about it but considering how volatile Lex was before going to Croak you would think she'd have a stronger reaction than she did.
Everyone thinks that Uncle Mort is a farmer so when Lex goes home for a visit she tries to keep up the pretense that she's been working on a farm as apposed to reaping. She's going on and on about the different animals on the farm.
"Yeah, there's this one rooster who's really awesome. He's always, like, strutting around and displaying his plumage."
"His plumage?" her doubting father repeated.
"Yes." She slapped on the most innocent face she could muster. "His plumage."
Cordy crossed her arms. "What's his name?"
Her parents stared. Cordy coughed.
"Well," their mother said after a moment, "I think that's wonderful. You seem to be doing marvelously, you haven't gotten into any trouble, and you made friends with a chicken!"