The Sweet Dead Life is told from the point of view of an 8th grade girl named Jenna Samuels. Jenna’s family is falling apart and she is too sick to do anything about it. Her father left five years earlier with nothing more than a short note and a coupon to a Mexican restaurant to explain his absence. Her brother, Casey, is left picking up the pieces as Jenna has a mysterious illness that no doctor can explain and his mother never leaves the house and is slowly losing her memory. After a car accident, everything changes. Casey didn’t live through the accident and was sent back to earth to figure out what is happening to his family. The story revolves around Jenna’s illness and what really happened to their father five years earlier.
The voice of Jenna is very believable throughout the story. The way she acts, talks, and behaves is exactly as a real 8th grade girl would act. She is tough but vulnerable as well. I loved seeing the characters’ transformations throughout the book. Casey goes from being a total stoner to a guy his family can count on, while Jenna learns to forgive and move on with her life. There are many humorous scenes throughout the story where you can’t help but laugh at the situations they are going through. I also enjoyed the character of the mysterious Amber Velasco and see the transformation in Jenna as she slowly comes to accept Amber as a part of her life. The coolest part of the story, in my opinion, was the mystery that is being investigated throughout the whole book. Casey, Jenna, and Amber have to figure out what is happening to Jenna and her mother and how their father is involved in everything that is happening around them. In the beginning the plot was a little slow moving but overall I really enjoyed the story. It has a little bit of everything. There is fantasy, mystery, and teenage angst all rolled into one Texas tall story that will have readers enamored.
-The Sweet Dead Life by Joy Preble
Published May 14, 2013 by Soho Teen
Learn about the Author, Joy Preble!
Joy Preble is the author of the popular and highly acclaimed Dreaming
Anastasia series. A former English teacher, Joy grew up in Chicago and is a
graduate of Northwestern University. She is now a full time writer and lives with
her family in Texas, where she has learned to say "y'all" without any hint of irony.
A tireless advocate for literacy and great books, she is at the center of the allimportant Texas YA scene.
Joy Preble Social Media and Website
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