Today (*ahem* tonight) I'm reviewing Croak by Gina Damico! Gina is made of win (and she's one of those lucky people with a url that fits her name: check her out at ginadami.co)
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?
tl;dr version: Hysterical with a super unique voice and original plotline, Croak is an #epicwin
Full version: Croak was a really, really, enjoyable read. It takes some time to get into, but once you do, it's amazing.
I really loved them all. Lex and Cordy (named by their history-obsessed mother after the two famous battles of the revolutionary war, Lexington and Concord) are super cute, together and apart. Though it did bother me a bit that they were best friends. *Not all twins are alike.* The two aren't identical, and the only difference between them and a regular set of sisters is that they're the same age. The same way I wouldn't want to spend all my time with my sister, even if we were the same age, Lex and Cordy shouldn't be so close, either. It didn't make any sense to me.
All of the side characters were great too. Though Driggs, our local love interest, did have the annoying two-different-color-eyes thing. And Lex kept bringing up his blue one. (What's wrong with brown eyes?!) I appreciated the lack of insta-love greatly, though I didn't ship them so much. I cared more about Ferbus and Elysia, two of the side characters who pretended to hate each other, but were made for each other. (They're awesome. And Ferbus has lots of loving nicknames for Driggs--like "D-bag." I kid you not.)
I enjoyed most of the other side characters in some form or another. Uncle Mort was fantastic, and Kilda reminded me of Effie Trinket. (Mostly because there was a mention of a mahogany table right before she was introduced. I read all of her lines in the Voice.)
The world-building is brilliant. The book has an entire town, with a way-too-accurate "Population: 85" sign, and stores with fantastic names. There's a flower store called Pushing Daisies, and the local cafe that everyone eats at is called The Morgue. Most of the characters are Grims--Gamma Removal and Immigration Ministers. But they're not at all grim. The world-building is genius. There are no other words.
I loved the writing style. It took a while to get used to, but after the first forty-fifty pages, you get used to it, and you begin to appreciate it. It grows on you. Like mold. The voice itself is snarky, like there's a super hipster teen girl telling you the story, using bizarre phrases for the sole purpose of annoying you. And it works. In a good way.
The dialogue was awesome, too. Very snarky and cutting, kind of Wildefire-esque.
I'm really excited for the next book. =D
Rating: 4 stars out of 5