Friday, April 19, 2013
Me on Life After Theft
Author: Aprilynne Pike
Release Date: April 30, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen (HarperCollins imprint)
Moving to a new high school sucks. Especially a rich kid private school. With uniforms. But nothing is worse than finding out the first girl you meet is dead. And a kleptomaniac. No one can hear or see Kimberlee except for Jeff, so, in the hopes of bringing an end to the snarkiest haunting in history, he agrees to help her complete her "unfinished business." But when the enmity between Kimberlee and Jeff's new crush, Sera, manages to continue posthumously, Jeff wonders if he's made the right choice.
Life After Theft is a light, cute, and fun high school ghost story. There are touches of tragedy, but also of humour and of maturity. Sometimes, you have to help someone right the wrongs they caused, even if that person is dead and quite often doesn't share the whole truth.
Jeff is quite possibly the averagest of average guys. He's seemingly forgettable, not necessarily good at anything but interested in some things, and suddenly he gets wrapped up in this strange and slightly creepy situation. Since he is a nice guy, he's willing to help her out, but he never expected all the things Kimberlee's ghostly hands dump straight into his lap.
Kimberlee certainly has her issues, the least of which is that she's dead. She's also self-centered, a kleptomanic, a liar, and hugely unreliable. When she figures out that Jeff is all she has in terms of help, she complains like mad. But underneath all the polish and sparkle is a scared, sad little girl who died too young and with a lot of regrets. Yes, she's abrasive, controlling, and shrewish, but being dead still sucks.
There are times when you make choices and regret them, especially in high school. But what if you die in a freak accident and you're left haunting the halls of where you did most of your harm? Then you're trapped between life and the afterlife, seeing the faces of the people you hurt, the people you stole from, knowing the only way out is to make things right. But no one knows your there because they want to forget all the damage you did. Until someone who's never heard of you shows up.
As a retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel, I didn't notice it until I looked up the book itself. In the original, there is someone working in the shadows righting wrongs and saving innocents from harm. Here, I suppose that's true, but as I've not read The Scarlet Pimpernel I can't attest to anything more.
Death is a curious thing, and it sucks, dying when you have regrets and you've made mistakes. But knowing you have to make it all better in order to move on is the turning point, and then comes the most difficult decision of them all: whether or not you actually want to suck it up and fix those mistakes.
(I acquired an advance copy of this book at ALA Midwinter.)