Waiting On Wednesday: Croak by Gina Damico

Sixteen-year-old Lex Bartleby has sucker-punched her last classmate. Fed up with her punkish, wild behavior, her 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 that of shoveling manure.

He’s a Grim Reaper. And he’s going to teach her the family business.

Lex quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated entirely by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. Along with her infuriating yet intriguing partner Driggs and a rockstar crew of fellow Grim apprentices, Lex is soon zapping her Targets like a natural born Killer.

Yet her innate ability morphs into an unchecked desire for justice—or is it vengeance?—whenever she’s forced to Kill a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again. So when people start to die—that is, people who aren’t supposed to be dying, people who have committed grievous crimes against the innocent—Lex’s curiosity is piqued. Her obsession grows as the bodies pile up, and a troubling question begins to swirl through her mind: if she succeeds in tracking down the murderer, will she stop the carnage—or will she ditch Croak and join in?

Why I Want to Read Croak:

A) Grim Reapers (and/or Death itself) are really, really awesome. Think about it: Supernatural’s reapers/Horseman, the chess-playing Death in Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, chess-playing William Sadler in Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey…

B) The premise kind of makes me think of one of  my favorite (and, IMO, one of the most underappreciated*) tv shows of all time: Dead Like Me. Lex sounds like a more juvenile delinquent but equally misanthropic version of George. Though, unlike George, it actually sounds like she’ll be good at and enjoy the whole reaping thing.

C) The idea of a Grim Reaper with a desire for vengeance and crisis of conscience is pretty intriguing.

* Seriously, if you haven’t seen Dead Like Me, do so. I mean, how can you pass on a show where the main character is killed when she’s hit by a toilet seat falling off of the Mir Space Station?

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