Wednesday, March 27, 2013

In Which Kirkus Says "Hallelujah!" for THE SWEET DEAD LIFE

One of the scariest/exciting/vomit-inducing moments in publishing a new book is when the pre-pub reviews roll out. And Kirkus--well, they're known for being tough. The toughest, some say. Even nice sentences followed by 'but.' That kind of thing.

And in general, you just never know. You write this book. You love this book. You think it's awesome. Your editor edits. He thinks it's awesome. And then you send in out in the world to strangers who haven't invested hours discussing the main character's emotional arc and discussing how yes, there are a lot of angel books out there but this one is different! And it's set in Texas! And on like that.

So let me say that last Friday while I was still in NYC the day after fabulous Soho Teen Night at Books of Wonder as part of David Levithan's Teen Author Festival week, I was over the moon to get an email from Soho Press publicist Meredith with the following review of THE SWEET DEAD LIFE. To paint the full picture for you, I was standing in the subway at 50th street, waiting for the 1 train and casually glanced at my phone and then casually glanced at the email and then I got so nervous and thrilled and overwhelmed that I actually couldn't read it until I got to my room. Seriously -- this is how I roll. Such good news that I couldn't look at it. Also the signal died. But whatever.

The word Hallelujah is my favorite!! And the short version: They loved it!!!

Here is what Kirkus says about THE SWEET DEAD LIFE:

For 13-year-old Jenna Samuels, things have been going really badly: She’s pretty sure she’s dying, her father has mysteriously abandoned the family, her mother is nearly catatonic with depression, and then her brother dies and becomes an “A-word.”

Her life—and health—rapidly disintegrating, Jenna is convinced that she is dying. Through her journal entries, she recounts what she knows for sure as she tries to piece together a month’s worth of her life turning upside down. Jenna and her anything-but-cherubic brother Casey work together with the help of another angel, Amber, to determine what exactly has happened to the Samuels family and why. Soon they discover a sinister plot and realize they must save their family before it’s too late. Jenna’s sarcastic and sassy tone will easily resonate with readers, and her keen observations are derisive and laugh-out-loud funny. While the refreshing lack of romance is a welcome change from the usual angel fare, some conventions of the trope remain (will we ever get away from paranormal beings who sparkle?). Certain plot aspects, however, seem not entirely fleshed out: Amber’s character has a shadowy past that’s never addressed; it’s never really clear how humans can see and interact with angels and never guess that they’re otherworldly; and then the book abruptly ends—perhaps a sequel waits in the wings?

Hallelujah! A paranormal tale of angels that’s not a romance, making it a novel that breaks the mold. (Paranormal fiction. 13 & up)


Bidisha said...

That's my fave word from the review, too. Congratulations, Joy! Can't wait to read it :)

Janet Fox said...

Hallelujah, Joy!!! That's awesome!

ChihuahuaCharms said...

Yay! I really can't wait now!!! But I swear Jenna was 14? Or am I being an idiot? Either way, hallelujah! If there's one thing you do amazingly as a writer -- it's break the mould. I can't say I've ready any other books that combine ballet with time travel with Russian folklore with IHOP ;)