Review: Croak by Gina Damico

Source: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt– I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I received no compensation.
Publisher: HMH
Edition: Paperback, 311 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Post Apocalyptic
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository
Rating: 4/5

Sixteen-year-old Lex Bartleby has sucker-punched her last classmate. Fed up with her punkish, wild behavior, her 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 that of shoveling manure.

He’s a Grim Reaper. And he’s going to teach her the family business.

Lex quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated entirely by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. Along with her infuriating yet intriguing partner Driggs and a rockstar crew of fellow Grim apprentices, Lex is soon zapping her Targets like a natural born Killer.

Yet her innate ability morphs into an unchecked desire for justice—or is it vengeance?—whenever she’s forced to Kill a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again. So when people start to die—that is, people who aren’t supposed to be dying, people who have committed grievous crimes against the innocent—Lex’s curiosity is piqued. Her obsession grows as the bodies pile up, and a troubling question begins to swirl through her mind: if she succeeds in tracking down the murderer, will she stop the carnage—or will she ditch Croak and join in?

I want to thank Houghton Mifflin Harcourt  for sending me a copy of this!

When I first saw this I was pretty intrigued, I’ve never read a book about a reaper before and the cover is super shiny so I had a immediate attraction to it. (I mean who doesn’t like shiny things?) Not to mention the first sentence of the summary talks about her suckerpunching someone, that’s pretty different. So when I saw HMH’s twitter giveaway I jumped all over it.This was actually my second read during the April 2012 Dewey Readathon, and it was absolutely perfect for it.

This is an interesting book in the fact that it kind of makes fun of the things you see in YA so often, and yet it still manages to be a great book in itself. Gina really knows how to balance out the humor and the serious quite well through out it so even though parts can be downright silly she can reign it back without it seeming forced. The visualization is pretty nice as well, and the details give you a good sense of what every thing is like. The town of Croak was pretty awesome and really unique, I loved the set up and the people that Lex meets. It really is a place of character and it seems like a really fun place to be. The technology of the town is beyond weird and totally unique, and it goes great with the odd storyline. The reaper aspects were really cool and well thought out. I loved the concept of the scythe being more for transportation than actual reaping, and I also loved how they tend to represent the one who owns it.  The pace of the story is pretty quick and you enter into the story running, which at first was a bit weird for me but once I got into it I loved how quickly everything flowed.  I think the most surprising aspect of the book was the serious nature of some of the topics and situations that come up. Such as death, loss and abuse. Nothing is harped on in any immense detail, but there is a darker side to this story and while it is discussed in great details in does give you a sort of human connection to the characters. I think the only problem with this book is the age rating and the amount of cursing. I personally didn’t get offended by any of it but I know that if a parent buys this for their 10 -13 year old they may be a tad alarmed by the frequency. That being said I didn’t find it to be terrible and the worst curse words are never used.

The characters are also pretty unique and also pretty cliche, if that makes any sense. They seem to be set in the cliche but they also seem to poke fun of it as well, so none of it really bothered me. Lex is a pretty out there main character, she’s tough and loud…and kind of pushy but it works. She’s perfect for the role she has to play and she actually reminded me of a few people I went to high school with, so even though I personally had nothing in common with her I totally got what she was like. Driggs was alright, he’s the perfect counter point to Lex and he’s kind of adorable but at times he came off as an over excited 3 year old. It made me laugh but it was a bit odd. He also has an insane appetite and I envy it a bit. The relationship between the two is pretty funny at times and overall the whole thing didn’t seem rushed at all. The other Juniors are also pretty entertaining in their own right, each with a personality that is completely their own and makes for an interesting mix of friends for Lex.

Overall it’s a great book for those wanting a unique story and a good laugh or two. For those looking for books for younger kids I’d be a bit wary of this one, or at least make sure to read it first and then decide.

4 stars

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3 Responses to Review: Croak by Gina Damico

  1. sashandem says:

    So glad you enjoyed it!! I absolutely adored this book. I was actually really surprised because I was a bit put-off by the cover at first because it seemed so odd. But it definitely fits the book really well!
    Great review!

    -Em

  2. I plan to read this during the bout of reading read-a-thon and your review hasme excited. I am hoping for a few good laughs

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