Reviews

School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 8 Up-Lex has recently descended into delinquency, and her parents have had enough. At the end of her junior year, she is sent to stay with her Uncle Mort in upstate New York. She discovers that the people of Croak are dedicated to releasing souls at the moment of death and ushering them to the Afterlife. Lex becomes a Grim, but she isn't like all the others: Killing gives her a painful shock. She also struggles to resist pursuing murderers, making her a suspect when criminals begin dying for no reason. But her partner (and eventual love interest, once Lex stops wanting to pummel him) and the other Grims vow to uncover the real villain. The Grimsphere is creatively detailed-black hoodies are standard uniforms and the bartender pours Yoricks, served in a skull-but this world-building never takes itself too seriously. Silly humor and death-related puns undercut what might otherwise be a dark story. The structure is largely trope and the ending a bit fast, but Damico balances wrapping up loose ends with setting up a sequel (Scorch, due later this year). A formulaic structure embellished with creative details, sarcastic humor, and quick-witted dialogue makes Croak rise above other stories of its type.-Gretchen Kolderup, New Canaan Library, CT (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

In this spirited (no pun intended) debut, Damico playfully explores the nature of life and the afterlife. When 16-year-old Lex Bartleby's anger management issues and violent impulses land her in one fight too many, she is sent to live with her uncle Mort in the Adirondacks for the summer, in the hopes that it will straighten her out. Instead, upon arriving in the tiny town of Croak, Lex discovers that she, like the tattooed and motorcycle-riding Mort, is a Grim, responsible for drawing out the souls of the recently deceased to facilitate their passing on to the afterlife. Initially dubious, she soon discovers a natural talent for the work. Lex and her new partner, Driggs, with whom she has a fiery love-hate relationship, stumble across bodies with no known cause of death, sparking an investigation into one of the greatest, dirtiest secrets of the Grim organization. The morbid subject matter is kept in check by entertaining characters, clever twists, and a sly, self-aware sense of humor that pervades this promising series launch. Ages 12-up. Agent: Tina Wexler, ICM. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Teens looking for something new will find this scythe-swinging debut novel to die for. Lexington has reached the limits of her loving family's patience. Once a sweet straight-A student like her twin, Concord, Lex can't explain the reasons behind her furious, violent rampages, and she is packed off to Uncle Mort's farm for the summer. To Lex's shock, Uncle Mort reveals that he is a Grim Reaper, and Lex herself shows talent for the family business. Before you can say black hoodie, Lex learns that she is a junior Killer. Paired with Driggs, a hunky teen Culler, she is sent out into the ether to release and collect souls from the newly dead. Lex loves her new life, but when unexplained deaths crop up, and it looks as if a rogue reaper is at fault, Lex and her friends investigate with serious consequences. A killer ending sets the stage for the next book in this wacky, highly entertaining new series.--Rutan, Lynn Copyright 2010 Booklist