Well, I don't text dead people - I talk to them, but don't text them. Annabel Craven, on the other hand . . . In her defense she doesn't start out trying to text dead people, it's just easier to get a 13 year-old girl's attention with a text.
She has several strikes against her when she starts her new school - she's the new kid at school, the new kid in town, she lives in the spooky old mansion of her recently deceased uncle, who was known as Mad Maddsen and her house is adjacent to the oldest graveyard in town;
and it's around the corner from the local mortuary;
and her mother is a hairdresser (practically a servant!);
and (worst of all) she doesn't have a cell phone!
Well, of course she does, how else could she text people you say - well, she doesn't have a cell phone when she moves to town, but she finds one in the woods next to the cemetery, so then she does.
This book has everything -
a vibrant cast:
- Olivia and Eden, a pair of twins straight out of Sweet Valley High who lead the posh girls, one of whom has a dark (literally!) secret life;
- Annabel, the new girl trying desperately to hide where she lives, get in with the cool kids, and survive the Gifted and Talented classes she accidentally tested into;
- Johnny, the romantic interest (of nearly everyone) who has a disarmingly weird older brother;
- Spencer, the school photographer;
- Millie, the quiet girl no one ever notices;
- Lucy, the desperately shy nervous girl everyone notices;
a tragic accident:
- a Jane Doe in the local cemetery whose death is only referenced in passing;
- a fatal accident from a prank gone bad;
- a brilliant presentation - a text font that is equal parts gothic and cheerful and slightly manic drawings that reinforce the 'this can't be happening' mood of the book.
I loved nearly everything about this - good foreshadowing, charming mix of characters, and did I mention the presentation? It's lovely when a book is written by an artist - it just looks and feels good.
And not-quite-spoiler - Jane Doe isn't who I thought she was - which means I am now eagerly looking forward to the release of The Ungrateful Dead next year!