SOHO Teen Presents…The Sweet Dead Life by Joy Preble
“I found out two things today. One, I think I’m dying. And two, my brother is a perv.”
So begins the diary of 14-year-old Jenna Samuels, who is having a very bad eighth-grade year. Her single mother spends all day in bed. Dad vanished when she was eight. Her 16-year-old brother, Casey, tries to hold together what’s left of the family by working two after-school jobs— difficult, as he’s stoned all the time. To make matters worse, Jenna is sick. When she collapses one day, Casey tries to race her to the hospital in their beat-up Prius and crashes instead.
Jenna wakes up in the ER to find Casey beside her. Beatified. Literally. The flab and zits? Gone. Before long, Jenna figures out that Casey didn’t survive the accident at all. He’s an “A-word.” (She can’t bring herself to utter the truth.) Soon they discover that Jenna isn’t just dying: she’s being poisoned. And Casey has been sent back to help solve the mystery that not only holds the key to her survival, but also to their mother’s mysterious depression and father’s disappearance.
Let’s give some mad props to Joy Preble for setting this book in Houston, Texas! I love Southern settings for books that aren’t total overkill. So, woot for Texas.
Now, let’s also give some mad props to one of the most talked about books amongst myself and other librarians because everyone is wanting to read this book, they all love the cover, and for those who have read it, RAVE about it.
I love it because it is finally a MG mystery that isn’t Gilda Joyce. Don’t get me wrong, my teens read Gilda Joyce books but this is one that looks YA and is just as easily enjoyed by MG readers as older adult readers. Jenna is funny without being overly sarcastically annoying and the whole concept is fresh. Order it now and read an excerpt…you’ll love it!
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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