Genres: Comedy, YA Horror, YA Paranormal
Source: print ARC from Amazon Vine
Sixteen-year-old Lex Bartleby is a teenage grim reaper with the bizarre ability to Damn souls. That makes her pretty scary, even to fellow Grims. But after inadvertently transferring her ability to Zara, a murderous outlaw, Lex is a pariah in Croak, the little town she calls home. To escape the townspeople’s wrath, she and her friends embark on a wild road trip to DeMyse. Though this sparkling desert oasis is full of luxuries and amusements, it feels like a prison to Lex. Her best chance at escape would be to stop Zara once and for all—but how can she do that from DeMyse, where the Grims seem mysteriously oblivious to Zara’s killing spree?
The second book in Damico’s Croak series brings just as many laughs as the first book, along with more shocking revelations, more action, and excitement readers won’t want to miss. I was a bit of a slow reader with this one due to some other stuff I had to do (pre-moving frenzy, buying more books, spending the night at a friend’s house, stuff like that), this fast-paced ride will make anyone who already read and loved Croak happy. If you haven’t read the first book, I suggest you get right to it.
The heavy presence of DeMyse in the jacket copy may imply that most of the book takes place there, but it doesn’t. DeMyse is a quick yet important pit stop in this novel’s road trip. Most of the action happens within Croak itself as unrest over Zara’s killing spree and Lex’s own abilities rise. Intrigue is abound, tensions are high, bombs go off, and everyone seems to be against Uncle Mort and the Juniors. It’s all very serious, but there are some good laughs squeezed in their too, especially when it comes to Uncle Mort’s attempts to interfere with Lex and Driggs’ love life since Lex’s dad isn’t there to do it. I keep flipping back to the Incident That Must Not Be Named because it never fails to get a laugh out of me. “WHERE are my PANTS?” I’ll be quoting that scene forever!
I like how Lex’s character is developing, but admittedly, I’m a big fan of Uncle Mort and everything he has going on behind the scenes. There’s always something he isn’t telling Lex and the other Juniors, and he’s got plans in place that no one knows about until he decides it’s time to enact them. Funny, smart, exactly the kind of adult this rowdy, nervous group of teenagers needs when they’re on the run… He’s easily the most dynamic character in the entire series and I’d keep reading just to see how he’ll surprise readers next.
If you think you can predict what’s going on in this novel, you might want to think again. I did see a few things coming, but other revelations that come in the last thirty pages or so gave me a serious shock. But he– And she– How did he— Argh! It makes my head spin just thinking about it, but I like that I was so surprised by all the twists.
Now then, what I didn’t like. Norwood and Heloise, the husband-and-wife team that hate Uncle Mort and all the Juniors, made me roll my eyes too many times to be healthy with their over-the-top behavior, and the way most of Croak’s citizens reacted was a little ridiculous to me too. If it were just that, this novel would be four stars, but the way Lex finds it necessary to call Sofi, a fellow Junior she and the other Juniors don’t really get along with, a tramp takes away another star.
Scorch ends on a pretty sizable cliffhanger and I’m looking forward to the release of the third book. Though my rating is lower due to some personal standards of mine, Scorch is just as good, if not better, than Croak. Definitely recommended!