*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. *
Author: Neil Smith
Publication Date: May 12, 2015
Synopsis from Goodreads:
When Oliver “Boo” Dalrymple wakes up in heaven, the eighth-grade science geek thinks he died of a heart defect at his school. But soon after arriving in this hereafter reserved for dead thirteen-year-olds, Boo discovers he’s a ‘gommer’, a kid who was murdered. What’s more, his killer may also be in heaven. With help from the volatile Johnny, a classmate killed at the same school, Boo sets out to track down the mysterious Gunboy who cut short both their lives.
I LOVED this book. It’s a story about a thirteen-year-old boy who wakes up in a “Heaven” where only other thirteen-year-olds end up. It, like their lives on Earth, is only temporary. This place is called the Town and it functions much like regular society with rules, duties, and consequences. But Zig, a god-like figure, provides all that they need like food and tools to work, but also somethings that they might want, like toys.
Oliver “Boo” Dalrymple is a social outcast with his pale, pale skin and his penchant for memorizing facts and learning the science behind the world around him. In the Town, he transforms into a functioning member of society with close friendships that were impossible for him back in America. It is the death of another boy in his class, their subsequent friendship, and their search for a killer who might be lurking around Town to harm others.
Once I got into the story, I couldn’t put this book down. It’s surprising, and Boo is extraordinarily likeable. He’s quirking, but he learns to relate to the other kids around him, reaching out to make true friendships. He’s also a boy who was taken away from his life, his parents, way too young. His story is a book that he is writing to his parents, and his appeals to them, his cries for them, are devastating. Although somethings might be better in this strange afterlife, Oliver can’t help but miss the world he left behind, and the parents he loved so much.
My only criticism is that on the front cover, there is an endorsement with the statement, “never predictable.” This one tiny statement, so unassuming, had me hypothesizing what was NOT predictable, and in this manner I managed to guess every outcome in the story well before I reached the end. Had I not focused so much on this quote, things may have been a bit more surprising for me. This didn’t stop me from zipping through the story, unable to put it down.
5 stars. Without a doubt. Read it.