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The synopsis for this book is pretty convincing and I was sold as soon as I read it We don t read as much about brothers and sisters as we should or perhaps I should, possibly because I have two older brothers and I ve lived the experience in real life and do not seek to repeat it in fictional life Big brothers are often gross, coarse and mean They are also unexpectedly sweet and caring, protective and warm They scare away prospective boyfriends with a glower and have the weirdest tastes in music and movies I have some questionable music tastes thanks to my brothers.What makes The Sweet Dead Life so sweet is the relationship between Jenna and Casey They are in a terrible situation where the adults of their lives have checked out leaving them to fend for themselves Their father possibly pulled a runner and their mother seems to be sinking further and further into depression Oh and Jenna is on her way to dying She s almost there when Casey crashes the car on their way to the hospital and the game changes dramatically.Despite the presence of a feathered human being not a werebird , there is very little holiness present in the novel It is funny, poignant and disarmingly real Jenna s familial situation is narrated without romanticizing anything From the mold growing in her mother s bathroom to her brother s uh recreational activities under his blanket, Jenna narrates everything in an authentic fourteen year old voice When her life takes a turn for the weird, she manages to convey disbelief without going overboard and her gradual acceptance of the A word is believable.The weakest part of the novel is the so called mystery and the resolution of it While it is not terribly done, it could have been stronger I wish the mystery portions of the novel had been better woven into the rest of the narrative However, I appreciated that the resolution is not neat and tidy There is a sense of time having past and that some irretrievable losses have occurred I liked that the ending is ambiguous in certain details and that though there is an emotional payoff, it is not in your face and explicit.I really liked this one, you guys I recommend it. How can I articulate how amazing this book is It s the book I never realized I was missing in my life First off, the protagonist Not only does Jenna possess a wickedly hilarious voice, but she is also thirteen That s right She breaks the typical YA mold by being on the younger spectrum, and she works it super well Maybe her age changes to fourteen though I m a little thrown by how the description here has her older Jenna is pretty much all you could ask for in a protagonist I loved being in her head and spent a majority of my time grinning The writing itself is fun and spunky At its heart, this is a book about family Siblings Parents The Samuels family hasn t had the best luck, but they re still managing to hold the threads together Casey and Jenna s relationship is compelling and realistic Oh, and their mom Seriously, you ll just want to make them all come over for a group hug Possibly some cookies I adored how Preble handles family, especially when it comes to tackling the usual parental issues devices that show up in YA.All of the characters are fairly entertaining and believable From the teachers to coworkers to ohmygoodness Casey I ll attempt to keep the adoration to a minimum, but Casey Samuels is a fantastic big brother He is flawed Immensely Oh, teenage boys, they simply cannot help themselves But he cares about Jenna, and when it comes down to it, that is what matters.There were a couple minor issues along the way Very minor Sometimes, the reader can put the clues together faster and is stuck doing the impatient figure it out guys dance But things click together soon enough, and overall, this is a book that earns its stars. I m getting too old for this.I could not connect with this book It tries to be sweet and cute and entertaining, but by the end of it, I just found it annoying The main issue I had is that this book doesn t know what it wants to be middle grade or young adult Jenna is fourteen and a straight A student in the eighth grade, something that the author really should have thought about a little I spent much of the first half of the book wondering why she d been held back a year I eventually decided that her grade level was to try to shoehorn this book into the middle grade category And it s a weird choice, considering the language Jenna uses she alternates between swearing and using phrases like apropos of nothing seriously, what 14 year old says apropos of nothing , the fact that the boys in her middle school are potheads, and her best friend dresses like a hooker Have things really changed that much since I was in the eighth grade Are 14 year olds really that grown up Or did the author just get it very wrong I thought about the characters in another middle grade book as I was reading this The narrator of Ingrid Law s Savvy is thirteen, just a year younger than Jenna but Mibs reads like a child, relatively innocent and homespun, all excited about her yellow birthday dress with the purple sash There is a huge difference in the apparent ages of Jenna and Mibs and I m not sure that there should be, considering it s only one year separating them I also wasn t impressed by the story It was a little far fetched, but that wasn t what bothered me What drove me nuts was the fact that the villain was so obvious that I figured it out very early and then had to slog through the rest of the book, waiting for these knuckleheads to catch up I also wasn t impressed with the whole angel angle Jenna s brother died trying to save her, and it was really of little consequence because he was still around Sure, he can make poop noises and have wings sprout from dark nubs on his shoulder blades this was probably the most disgusting angel wing description I ve ever read , and he s supposedly now swoon worthy for the readers benefit, obviously , but I thought a pretty heavy situation was glossed over and made light of Casey is dead view spoiler And even by the end of the story, we still don t know much about what s going to happen to him For the moment, he s still in high school What are angels required to get high school diplomas hide spoiler This book was really adorable It wasn t even on my radar until Joy met my mom while waiting on line for the Justin Cronin signing of The Twelve When I went to join my mom on line, she made me promise to stop by her signing of this book even though I had never heard of her before Not I own the first in her Anastasia series I m so glad that I didn t skip out on it, and I instead chose to go and get this book.It was really cute I ordinarily wouldn t go for something about a 14 year old because usually reading MG books, while adorable, seem too young for me the way the narrator talks In this case, while she seemed young, she was incredibly funny and witty I found myself wanting to hug Jenna as she faced the though of being poisoned with such a cavalier attitude It was this horrible thing that her family was going through Not only was she sick, but her mom was also sick, and her father was missing and then all the sudden her brother is an angel.I loved how she puzzled out his angel behavior The way that he would touch her and then all the sudden she would feel calm, and how he went from this stoner to this attractive young man I loved the interaction between Mags and Casey as she suddenly recognized him in his new and improved state I felt bad for Casey as she had to abandon everything that mattered to him so that he could take care of his little sister and his mom by getting another job.Jenna was adorable Her commentary on what was happening around her was funny Between her judging Dr Renfroe s chest hair to not trusting Amber and to her thoughts on Nurse Ed and his Crocs She had me laughing out loud as I read thorough this book The writing style carried me though the story with ease Even though this book took me a while to get through I blame my boyfriend being home for Christmas break it was so easy to read and enjoy.I think that this book would for sure fall into the Young Adult category over the Middle Grade categorization because some of the content is a little stronger There is a scene where Jenna decides her brother is a perv and she uses some strong language as she discovers that her brother is an angel I can t wait for the next book to find out what Preble has planned for Jenna and Casey and Amber I loved how Casey cared so much for Jenna and how he wanted so badly to take care of her and make her life better This is definitely one to check out. I ll admit, angel books are not normally my thing I m wary of them because they tend to be a bit too self righteous for me THE SWEET DEAD LIFE is a refreshing relief from the typical angel book, in that you won t find characters with a superiority complex or overly preachy moral messages that make you want to chuck the book at the wall in disgust No, instead, you ll find angels and non angels that smoke pot, cuss like sailors, masturbate, and generally behave like, well, humans This is where the book exceeded my expectations, and at the same time, fell short of what I thought it could have been Allow me to elaborate by focusing on what I felt was good in this book First, the characters Jenna Samuels was so refreshing She has a sarcastic, witty voice that kept me in splits for a good chunk of the book This girl says what she thinks and is not quick to censor herself, which is typical of most 14 year olds Similarly, the other characters, from Jenna s older brother, Casey, to her best friend, Mags, and even ol Nurse Ed with the purple Crocs, all had depth and personality that just jumped off the page The humor sprinkled throughout the pages, both within the scenes and the dialogue, made THE SWEET DEAD LIFE an easy, entertaining read, and is a big part of what kept me going until the end If Joy Preble s night job isn t as a stand up comedian, it should be I also enjoyed the overall mystery of the plot, and though I did recognize who the villian would be early on, the way everything unfolded was very satisfying Finally, I give Joy high marks for including so much of the Houston Texas I know and love within the pages of THE SWEET DEAD LIFE It s so neat reading about places and street names with which you are familiarHey, I was just thereNow, on to the things that didn t quite work for me I mentioned earlier how I liked that THE SWEET DEAD LIFE doesn t beat you over the head with a moral message While this is true, I also thought that the almost constant mention of pot and porn, as well as the excessive cussing, were just too much I know some teenagers do and say these things, and I think I understand what Joy was going for that is, no one is perfect but it seemed that the inclusion of these ahem activities was for shock value or in an obvious attempt to avoid the heavenly being cliches The main character is 14, yet I would not feel comfortable giving this book to any middle grader, so while it is a bit of a cross over between Middle Grade and Young Adult, I d say this book is forolder Young Adults The pacing of the story was decent to good, but I did have an image in my head of wheels spinning but getting no traction for several portions of the book Finally, the ending fell flat for me It s not a happily ever after, and it really can t be, since there s going to be a sequel, but it was an ending that didn t exactly inspire me to read the next book in the series Coming up with a final rating for THE SWEET DEAD LIFE was really hard I ve been trying not to split hairs with half stars, but in the end, this one demanded that I do It wasn t quite 4 star material for me, and honestly, I hate that because I love Joy and I especially love supporting local authors However, the good outshone the bad and this is why I gave the rating I did Overall, THE SWEET DEAD LIFE was a well written and fun read, and many of my good friends did enjoy it You may, too I recommend that you give it a try and see for yourselfAn advance copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This review was originally published on BlookGirl.com. What an unexpected page turner Clever engaging mystery that strung me along to the end I HAD to finish it in one sitting, I HAD to know what was going on I enjoyed the turn of events as Preble revealed the story Funny, sad, heartbreaking, warm, happy moments with the characters who snagged me into the story right from the beginning. It s really a 3.5, and it may change over time Jenna is a smart eighth grader with the mouth of a sailor, courtesy of her long missing father She was once a good athlete, daughter and sister, but her mother has spent the last 8 months in bed, her brother Casey quit the football team to carry the financially and emotionally depleted household with two minimum wage parts time jobs, surviving through grit and pot, and Jenna, well, Jenna thinks she s dying She can barely walkout of her house, and her pee has turned green Sometimes things just happen, your luck turns good or bad, but right now Jenna needs help, and catching her brother on his bed, laptop on lap, hand hidden away, well it s enough to make a little sister puke but Jenna faints instead Next thing you know, Casey is racing her to the ER, but doesn t quite make it, crashing along the way Bright lights assault her, her brother doesn t respond to her pleas, and the next thing she knows she s in a hospital bed, and her brother alive ishuh Clean, not bloody, coiffed, not a tangled mess, muscular, glowingwhat And the sexy EMT who pulled Jenna out of the wreck, why does she keep hanging around Casey is older, but not as old as this assertive EMT, who insists Jenna gets a blood test, and another, and another and Los and behold, something is amiss, and Jenna isn t sick, she s And so a mystery or two begins, and all wrapped in a sweet satire on a popular teen genre A very fun read, especially because we see our narrator, Jenna, figure things out a step or two behind or in front of us, always doubting herself, but knowing when she has to make a leap of faith. The Sweet Dead Life is a mix between YA and Middle Grade Forteen year old, sweet and funny sometimes downright hilarious Jenna Samuels believes she is dying, and with good reason Jenna is very very sick She thinks the worse that she may be dying and without being able to pay to see a real doctor she knows death is inevitable Her pot smoking brother is doing everything he can to make money for treatment While her Mother is lost in her own world is misery, heartbreak, and despair because of the disappearance of her husband Jenna is slowly getting worse When she passes out abruptly, her brother rushes her to the hospital only to end up getting into a bad car accident When Jenna wakes up things begin to change Casey, her brother looks very different, his acne is gone, he smells good, and has an almost glow about him A very pretty paramedic, Amber is weirdly hanging around and Jenna is not sure why Soon, Jenna finds out she is in fact NOT dying but being poisoned How, why and by who Jenna, Casey and Amber need to find out these answers before it s too late If that wasn t enough, Jenna keeps on wondering why her brother is acting and looks so different The truth, will blow you away As this mystery unravels, Jenna may end up getting a lot than what she bargains for Right from the start The Sweet Dead Life had me laughing Jenna is one of most funniest characters I ve read about in a while She is quirky, sarcastic, and her breezy attitude is everything I love about this book Even throughout her hardships, she was always making me smile The mystery side of the book was what I loved most The author always had me guessing Now, the paranormal side angels I ended up not liking as much It s not that this aspect was bad or poorly written but so I wanted of it in book one You don t even find out the truth about Cassie until middle end of the book Also, once you end up figuring out who s been poisoning Jenna and why the story begins to dry up a bit I just was not as impressed by the ending All in all The Sweet Dead Life was a fun, quirky read with a thrilling mystery entwined with paranormal mix A great read so for the middle grade crowd but still quite fun for adults 3.5 STARS Yes, I love it because it s mine And also because it s funny and bittersweet and set in Texas And I hope everyone enjoys it. `Download ☠ The Sweet Dead Life (Sweet Dead Life, #1) ↠ I Found Out Two Things Today One, I Think I M Dying And Two, My Brother Is A Perv.So Begins The Diary Of 14 Year Old Jenna Samuels, Who Is Having A Very Bad Eighth Grade Year Her Single Mother Spends All Day In Bed Dad Vanished When She Was Eight Her 16 Year Old Brother, Casey, Tries To Hold Together What S Left Of The Family By Working Two After School Jobs Difficult, As He S Stoned All The Time To Make Matters Worse, Jenna Is Sick When She Collapses One Day, Casey Tries To Race Her To The Hospital In Their Beat Up Prius And Crashes Instead.Jenna Wakes Up In The ER To Find Casey Beside Her Beatified Literally The Flab And Zits Gone Before Long, Jenna Figures Out That Casey Didn T Survive The Accident At All He S An A Word She Can T Bring Herself To Utter The Truth Soon They Discover That Jenna Isn T Just Dying She S Being Poisoned And Casey Has Been Sent Back To Help Solve The Mystery That Not Only Holds The Key To Her Survival, But Also To Their Mother S Mysterious Depression And Father S Disappearance.