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“A fearless and brutal look at friendships...you will laugh, rage, and mourn its loss when it’s over.” —Justina Ireland, New York Times bestselling author of Dread Nation
“Simultaneously hilarious and moving, weird and wonderful.” —Jeff Zentner, Morris Award–winning author of The Serpent King
Six Feet Under meets Pushing Daisies in this quirky, heartfelt story about two teens who are granted extra time to resolve what was left unfinished after one of them suddenly dies.
A good friend will bury your body, a best friend will dig you back up.
Dino doesn’t mind spending time with the dead. His parents own a funeral home, and death is literally the family business. He’s just not used to them talking back. Until Dino’s ex-best friend July dies suddenly—and then comes back to life. Except not exactly. Somehow July is not quite alive, and not quite dead.
As Dino and July attempt to figure out what’s happening, they must also confront why and how their friendship ended so badly, and what they have left to understand about themselves, each other, and all those grand mysteries of life.
Critically acclaimed author Shaun Hutchinson delivers another wholly unique novel blending the real and surreal while reminding all of us what it is to love someone through and around our faults.
Death isn't much of a mystery for 17-year-old Dino DeLuca, whose family owns a funeral home. Although he's a dab hand at preparing bodies for burial, he'd rather be doing anything else, especially now that the newest body waiting for prep is his former best friend, July Cooper, who died of a brain aneurism. Dino regrets that their last words were harsh, but then July comes back to life, or unlife (she has no heartbeat and doesn't breathe). Together, the teens scramble to find the reason for July's return while keeping her under wraps, which isn't easy: she smells of decomposition. Additionally, people all over the world aren't dying after incidents that should be fatal. Dual narratives and a tight timeline, set over a few days, help to keep the pace brisk. Hutchinson (The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza) has his trademark humor on display, but messages about the necessity of death and letting go feel overly emphasized, while Dino and July never completely emerge into fully rounded characters. Dino's tentative romance with kind-hearted trans teen Rafi is sweet, but caustic July's shabby treatment of Dino makes it hard to fathom why their friendship lasted so long. The conceit is arresting, but this mostly surface-level exploration of friendship and grief fails to emotionally connect. Ages 14 up.