Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Ages 12 -17
Fed up with her wild behavior, sixteen-year-old Lex’s 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 shoveling manure. He’s a Grim Reaper. And he’s going to teach Lex the family business.
She quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. But Lex can’t stop her desire for justice—or is it vengeance?—whenever she encounters a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again. Will she ditch Croak and go rogue with her reaper skills?
Croak has one of the most unique premises of any book I've read in the past couple of years - a community full of grim reapers - teens whose job it is to collect souls from dead bodies and release them into the afterlife.
Damico's writing is witty and sharp, a definite page-turner. While the teen characters' snarkiness does get a bit old after a while, the fast-clip of the plot kept me engaged. There are a few details, such as the role of jellyfish in being able to track the nearly-dead, that felt a tad silly, but over all I really enjoyed this book and might even consider reading the sequel, Scorch.
A fun summer read, perfect for a trip to the beach or the pool. And a really nice change from vampires, werewolves and demons.