Sarah J. Schmitt
Seventeen-year-old RJ always gets what she wants. So when her soul is accidentally collected by a distracted Grim Reaper, somebody in the afterlife better figure out a way to send her back from the dead or heads will roll. But in her quest for mortality, she becomes a pawn in a power struggle between an overzealous archangel and Death Himself. The tribunal presents her with two options: she can remain in the lobby, where souls wait to be processed, until her original lifeline expires, or she can replay three moments in her life in an effort to make choices that will result in a future deemed worthy of being saved. It sounds like a no-brainer. She’ll take a walk down memory lane. How hard can changing her future be?
But with each changing moment, RJ’s life begins to unravel, until this self-proclaimed queen bee is a social pariah. She begins to wonder if walking among the living is worth it if she has to spend the next sixty years as an outcast. Too quickly, RJ finds herself back in limbo, her time on Earth once again up for debate.
RJ is a snarky, unapologetic, almost unredeemable, very real girl. Her story is funny and moving, and teens will easily connect with her plight. Prepare to meet the Grim Reaper, who’s cuter than you’d expect; Hawaiian shirt–wearing Death Himself; Saint Peter (who likes to play Cornhole); and Al, the handler for the three-headed hound that guards the gates of Hell. This cast of characters accompanies RJ through her time in the afterlife and will do their best to gently shove her in the right direction. (taken from Goodreads)
Why I picked it up: Ok, I confess, I’m a big fan of It’s a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart, so this title caught my attention. When I saw that Mike Mullin, author of the Ashfall trilogy (and one of my favorite authors) said it was “a snarky joyride of a book with a deep moral core: long after you’ve finished laughing you’ll still be thinking about RJ’s journey and perhaps asking yourself: What defines a life well lived?” I knew I wanted to read this book!
Why I finished it: Ok, I’ll be honest – at first I had a difficult time getting drawn into the story, which could have been because RJ isn’t a very likeable girl. I kept reading though, and I am SOOO glad I did! I really enjoyed the humor, and the bantering/bickering between RJ and her otherworldly friends was very enjoyable. The story definitely had a serious side, when RJ had to make choices that were morally right but cost her the popularity she so desperately wanted.
I’d give it to: Anyone who likes books that are a bit different. This read is both fun and thought provoking. Enjoy!
I’d give it: 4 Stars
Reviewed by: Melanie, Parr Library