Author: Jennifer Longo
Rating: ★★★★ 1/2
Synopsis: Leigh sells graves for her family-owned cemetery because her father is too lazy to look farther than the dinner table when searching for employees. Working the literal graveyard shift, she meets two kinds of customers:
Pre-Need: They know what’s up. They bought their graves a long time ago, before they needed them.
At Need: They are in shock, mourning a loved one’s unexpected death. Leigh avoids sponging their agony by focusing on things like guessing the headstone choice (mostly granite).
Sarcastic and smart, Leigh should be able to stand up to her family and quit. But her world’s been turned upside down by the sudden loss of her best friend and the appearance of Dario, the slightly-too-old-for-her grave digger. Surrounded by death, can Leigh move on, if moving on means it’s time to get a life?
Huge thank you to Random House Books for Young Readers and Netgalley for this ARC!
This book. This book is depressing as hell itself, and as long as you recognize that you are on a Debbie Downer depressing road, you’ll be able to get through this book. I loved this book, but boy did I feel miserable after finishing it.
The characters in this book have a lot of hardship. Considering the title of this book I expected some snark and quirk, which neither surfaced. Leigh is a very empathetic individual towards others, but when it comes to her own family, it’s an interesting can of worms. The adults in this book are pretty horrible for the most part and completely unsympathetic to the patrons they serve (even making fun of them), though thankfully many of them get a huge dose of reality.
There’s so much to this story — it’s views on life and death, mourning periods, what it means to have loss, what it means to be alive. It asks the reader a lot of questions but doesn’t shy away from these tough matters in any way, which is what I loved about this book. It has a very honest approach, and one that challenges its core themes inside and out. Furthermore, all the characters grow in such an organic way, there’s nothing forced in their maturity. Leigh’s voice really can capture a reader’s attention and she’s not afraid to say how she’s feeling. Plus her supporting cast, especially Dario, is just SO GOOD.
Like I said at the beginning of this review, this book is depressing, Leigh’s a bit of a Debbie Downer, but if you can get into the mindset of the story, it’s really quite fantastic. Those seeking a deep story to become emotionally connected to, this is one worth reading.