Saturday, May 04, 2013

Life After Theft

Life After TheftPike Aprilynne. Life After Theft.
30 April 2013, Harper Teen

Jeff starts a new high school after his parents move to California, and has a hard first day-- he is the only one who can see Kimberlee, a student at the school who drowned a year before. Tired of being a ghost, she's thrilled to see him and determined that he help her move on. She thinks the reason she's stuck is the massive amount of stealing that she did, due to her kleptomania. The school thought that there was a theft ring, and she has neatly labeled everyone's stuff and stored it in a cave on her parents' property. Jeff manages to return a few things, but gets distracted by Sera, a cheerleader who saves him from being the butt of a joke at a beer fest. Sera was bullied by Kimberlee, and there is some big secret between Kimberlee and Sera's brother, Khail. In fact, Khail is the only person Jeff tells about Kimberlee's ghost, and since Jeff knows odd details, Khail believes Jeff and helps get the possessions back to people. Jeff runs into some trouble with the police-- trying to return bags to stores at the mall gets him pulled in, and trying to break into the school to put stuff there ends in the fire extinguisher system going off. Sera and Jeff get closer, but there are problems when Kimberlee does not "move on" even after all the stolen items are given back.
Strengths: This was very fun, and a surprise after the Wings series. Jeff is a fun character; his ability to see Kimberlee is believably done. The high school dynamics are interesting, and the romance is top notch. I can even see Surly Teen Boy liking this one.
Weaknesses: ARGH! The beer drinking was at least instructional-- DON'T drink because it doesn't end well. Sera takes Jeff's keys away. But when (on page 185 out of  220 in the e version) the twodo the horizontal hokey pokey in a fairly graphic way, this makes the book inappropriate for middle school, even when Jeff's parents give him a talk about safe sex. Sigh. Sigh. I had such high hopes for this one. Nice romance, boy as a main character, ghosts and wrestlers. Drat.

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