Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Book Review: Croak

Sixteen-year-old Lex Bartleby has sucker-punched her last classmate. Fed up with her punkish, wild behavior, her parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape. But Uncle Mort’s true occupation is much dirtier than that of shoveling manure.

He’s a Grim Reaper. And he’s going to teach her the family business.

Lex quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated entirely by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. Along with her infuriating yet intriguing partner Driggs and a rockstar crew of fellow Grim apprentices, Lex is soon zapping her Targets like a natural born Killer.

Yet her innate ability morphs into an unchecked desire for justice—or is it vengeance?—whenever she’s forced to Kill a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again. So when people start to die—that is, people who aren’t supposed to be dying, people who have committed grievous crimes against the innocent—Lex’s curiosity is piqued. Her obsession grows as the bodies pile up, and a troubling question begins to swirl through her mind: if she succeeds in tracking down the murderer, will she stop the carnage—or will she ditch Croak and join in?

**ARC courtesy of publisher via NetGalley

Goodreads: 3/5 stars

My review:

This book, in my mind, is like Whoville meets Halloweentown. Whaaaat. I know. Crazy weird, yet amusing.

Lex is completely out of control when it comes to fellow classmates, and she won’t hesitate to throw a punch or land a kick. Her parents decide it’s best if she lives with her Uncle Mort for a while, to get some fresh air and relax. Little do any of them know that Uncle Mort is actually a Grim Reaper in a town called Croak.

Within the first few chapters, Lex learns she has the makings of a Killer; she has the power to zap a dead person with one touch to free their soul. But this means she also has to have a partner, a Culler. That’s where oh-so-hot Driggs comes in. His job is to trap the newly-freed souls so they can take them back to the Afterlife (where people like previous presidents and Edgar Allan Poe hang out). The banter between Lex and Driggs is hilarious. I especially loved when Lex hauls off and punches Driggs, and then he punches her back. I laughed out loud.

There were many more laugh-out-loud moments, actually. Lex quickly befriends the local Junior Grims, who are all around her age, and they all have unique personalities. All entertaining. But what I liked most about this book wasn’t the funny dialogue between characters; it was the minute details of how everything worked. From the jellyfish who detect when someone is going to die to how the Killers and Cullers scythe to how they bottle up souls and release them into the Afterlife. And, surprisingly, it all made sense.

There is a villain, of course. And there is an overall story arc featuring Lex and her relentless thoughts on how to kill criminals, murderers, rapists, etc., leaving their souls forever in our world so all they can do is haunt. Also, Lex has a certain power that hasn’t been seen since a very dark time in the Grim world, and it’s up to her to figure out how she wants to use it—good or bad.

Overall, if you enjoy humorous paranormal stories, then you'll enjoy this book.


  1. Thanks for your thoughts! Have been wondering about it cause it appeals to me and...I know a few kids who might like this one. Will be sure to check it out.

    1. It was definitely an entertaining read! I loved how it made me laugh. Not a lot of books make me do that; they come off as a little cheesy. Hope you enjoy it! :)


What did you think about this post?