Sunday, March 24, 2013

Review: Dead Girls Never Shut Up

Sarah and Toni are twin sisters, but their looks aren't the only things that aren't alike. They each have very different problems. 

Sarah is dead. A ghost. Stuck haunting her sister in the hopes of saving her life. Toni is in danger of being manipulated into giving her body up to host a not so nice ghost with devious intentions. It's going to take some serious planning to spare Toni, but it may mean not everyone she loves will come out on the living side of the barrier between worlds. 

Susan Stec is a very funny writer, and this book does not disappoint on that front. Every chapter is filled with hilarious situations, witty dialog, and character clashes that leave readers laughing. Some of the humor does tend more toward the adult side of the spectrum than young reader, but I was laughing through most of the book. Sarah dies in the beginning pages of the book, and it's not pretty. Somehow, Stec still puts a humorous spin on the situation. I enjoyed Sarah's reactions, especially in the beginning, when she is trying to cope with her death. Her fixation on the mundane details of her mortal life provides plenty of comedic relief. The side characters provide a lot of humor and fun to the book as well. I enjoyed all the characters and though they were very well written. 

There is also a more serious side to this book. Toni is much more sensible than her sister. She is living through Sarah's death as a grieving sister, struggling to come to grips with what happened. She also faces the nastiness of teenage drama, as well as manipulation by friends and family at every turn. Her emotion is felt throughout the book as she faces a variety of struggles. I enjoyed her character on her own and as a contrast to her sister. They kept the emotional tone of the book well balanced with their different personalities. 

The storyline of this book was fun and interesting. Multiple parties are interested in Toni, and none have her best interests involved. This wasn't so much a mystery of who was behind everything, because that is laid out fairly clearly early on. The tension comes from whether or not the girls will find a way to work everything out. At several points, I wasn't quite sure how they were going to escape all the claws trying to get at them. I enjoyed the story as a whole and I would be interested in reading the next installment. 

I do have a few warnings for readers, though. This is a YA book, but there are some issues that keep it from being appropriate for all teens, especially younger readers. There is a fair amount of profanity throughout the book. There are sexual discussions as well, and one sex scene that wasn't overly graphic, but it was described. There are also several characters that are homosexual, and their relationships are discussed. 

Overall, this was a fun book with great characters and humor that kept me laughing. However, I wouldn't recommend it to every teen because some of the themes are more mature in nature. 


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