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Book Review: It’s a Wonderful Death by Sarah J. Schmitt


Title: It’s a Wonderful Death
Author: Sarah J. Schmitt
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Sky Pony Press (October 6th 2015)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Contemporary
Read: eBook
Stars: ****/5
Buy On: Amazon India | Amazon US




Seventeen-year-old RJ always gets what she wants. So when her soul is accidentally collected by a distracted Grim Reaper, somebody in the afterlife better figure out a way to send her back from the dead or heads will roll. But in her quest for mortality, she becomes a pawn in a power struggle between an overzealous archangel and Death Himself. The tribunal presents her with two options: she can remain in the lobby, where souls wait to be processed, until her original lifeline expires, or she can replay three moments in her life in an effort to make choices that will result in a future deemed worthy of being saved. It sounds like a no-brainer. She’ll take a walk down memory lane. How hard can changing her future be?

But with each changing moment, RJ’s life begins to unravel, until this self-proclaimed queen bee is a social pariah. She begins to wonder if walking among the living is worth it if she has to spend the next sixty years as an outcast. Too quickly, RJ finds herself back in limbo, her time on Earth once again up for debate.

RJ is a snarky, unapologetic, almost unredeemable, very real girl. Her story is funny and moving, and teens will easily connect with her plight. Prepare to meet the Grim Reaper, who’s cuter than you’d expect; Hawaiian shirt–wearing Death Himself; Saint Peter (who likes to play Cornhole); and Al, the handler for the three-headed hound that guards the gates of Hell. This cast of characters accompanies RJ through her time in the afterlife and will do their best to gently shove her in the right direction.


My Review:

Note: Thanks Sarah J. Schmitt and YA Bound Book Tours for offering me this book to read and review 🙂

Cover: Eye-catchy

Paper and font: Easy on the eyes!

Readability, language: Simple and easy.

Why did I choose this book: The title got me interested and once I’d read the blurb, I just had to read this book.

RJ dies accidentally, not by accident but rather due to the cunning gypsy who uses her to avoid dying. But it isn’t RJ’s turn so she raises hell up there. The powers that be give her 3 tests to prove she deserves to go back. Being the dudette RJ thinks the tests will be child’s play but each test changes her life completely, and she isn’t the dude any more.

The title had me intrigued and curious at the start and by the end of the book the title made perfect sense. The blurb piqued my interest and got me wanting to read the book. As for the cover, I really liked it, its simple and somber and yet resonates.

I haven’t read something like this ever before and found it fascinating. Yet at the core this isn’t an entirely new idea but rather an interesting approach to the old idea that every little change in the past makes a entire new future.

Set for the most part in the afterlife or rather in the lobby of the afterlife, Schmitt has done a good job of describing the place and the people. There is enough similarly to the conventional idea of heaven & hell to make it easy to recognise and yet it was different enough to pique my interest.

It’s a Wonderful Death has two fascinating sets of characters. One is a human set of characters who reminded me of school – it’s politics and group dynamics. The other I couldn’t help but laugh at as Schmitt describes Death Himself dressed in Hawaiian shorts, Saint Peter who likes to play odd games with Al the only one who can handle the three-headed dog who guards hells gate and so on.

RJ is the main character and at the start I sympathised with her, then as I got to know her I started to dislike her only to start liking her again as the story progressed. Schmitt does a good job of building the readers relationship with RJ so that at one point I found myself rooting for RJ and almost crying for her.

The story is well paced with a climax I just didn’t see coming and didn’t like, yet it seemed the most appropriate ending. There aren’t too many subplots and the story sticks together well with no loose ends left behind.

Narrated by RJ, It’s a Wonderful Death is written in simple language that did not require me to reach out for the dictionary for any of the words. Listening and seeing the tale unfold though RJ’s eyes helped in understanding her better and gasping her point of view as Schmitt explored the life of a teenage girl.

I enjoyed reading It’s a Wonderful Death and would recommend it for anyone over the age of 14-15. Even if you are in your 30’s like me, this book will be entertaining and will transport you back to school (well, some what). 🙂

Buy On: Amazon India | Amazon US

About the Author:

Sarah J. Schmitt is a K-8 school librarian and Youth Service Professional for Teens at a public library who, in addition to planning a variety of events, enjoys opening up the world of books to reluctant readers. She has a Masters of Science in Higher Education Administration and Student Affairs from Indiana University Sarah lives outside of Indianapolis with her husband, two kidlets and a cat who might actually be a secret agent. IT’S A WONDERFUL DEATH, is her debut novel.

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