Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Wrap-Up List by Steven Arntson

"Sixteen year-old Gabriela has just received a disturbing letter, sent by a Death—an eight-foot-tall shimmering creature with gills. The letter is short and to the point: Next Wednesday her Death, Hercule, will escort her into the afterlife whether she’s ready or not. Gabriela is devastated. Dying is bad, but dying without ever having kissed Sylvester Hale is even worse.

Gabriela isn't the only one in need of a first kiss—three of her friends would love theirs too. She’s determined to put their romantic affairs in order before her time runs out. There is one last hope, though: Gabriela might be able to trick her Death into letting her go...

It’s a week of firsts for best friends, but Gabriela has to play it smart. Otherwise, this week will be her last."

I really wasn't sure what to expect when starting this book--the summary's not great at answering all the questions. I was able to learn more about it when starting: it's set in a world where Deaths are routinely seen among the human population, and they're in charge of taking people away when they die. Only 1% of all deaths are "departures" like Gabriela, where the person is notified beforehand. Okay, so for my actual thoughts. It was a pleasant surprise to find out that the book's not actually all about the first-kiss drama. It's kind of a part of it, but more of the story and plot is focused on working out Hercule's clues about her pardon (her get-out-of-jail-free card, if you will) and about unraveling unanswered questions about her family history. Sure, some relationship stuff's in there too, but it's extremely weak. The general plot's not straightforward at all, either, it takes you on a little ride. An unexpected thumbs up, for surprisingly likable and funny characters and a good storyline. It's at Sitka High.

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