Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Waking the Dead and Other Fun Activities

Lyall, Casey. Waking the Dead and Other Fun Activities
May 28, 2024 by Greenwillow Books
E ARC Provided by Edelweiss Plus

Kimmy is learning from her Grandma Bev how to bring people back from the dead, albeit briefly, so they can fulfill their last wishes. This is a service above and beyond what most funeral homes offer, and Kimmy is doing fairly well. She knows to have low lights and a soft voice, and to do what she can to assure the recently departed that all will be well, even if it means adopting Mrs. Waters' cat. Her mother knows about this, and Kimmy's father was killed by his own powers, so she is worried. When Granny Bev passes away suddenly, Kimmy is devasted at the loss of her beloved grandmother, and also at the loss of training which she still needs. She has her father's journals and some other family books to consult, but it's not the same. When a boy her age, Devon, dies in a local park unders suspicious circumstances, Kimmy gets involved with trying to solve his murder when she brings him back. Something goes wrong, however, and he stays alive. Not only that, but his family has no idea who he is. This is a huge problem, and Kimmy doesn't have the information she needs to solve it. When Mr. Kingsley and Mrs. Manning pass away at nursing homes, she brings them back as well... and they also stay alive! Tamsin, who works at the funeral parlor, has some insight into why this is happening, which has to do with families putting caps on magic, and Kimmy blowing right through those with her powers. Not only that, but there is an evil witch trying to take the three recently departed people! Kimmy at least knows she is over her head and seeks the help of her mother and stepdad Alex. Will Kimmy be able to break the connection with the people she has raised from the dead before it works to her detriment? And will she find out why she hasn't seen a spark from her grandmother?
Strengths: I loved the beginning, when Kimmy was learning from her grandmother, and I really wished we had been able to spend more time with the two of them. For purposes of the plot, however, it was important to move on. Tamsin worried me at first, but ended up being a good ally. Even Devon, Mr. Kingsley and Mrs. Manning were surprisingly okay with having died and been resurrected, and prove helpful in many ways. There is a good back story for the family powers, and a satisfying mystery with them. This moved along quickly.
Weaknesses: The publisher's blurb describes Kimmy as a witch, but her powers didn't seem very witch like. I'm not sure what labeled I would have used, but since she was battling an evil witch, I would have picked something different.
What I really think: This is a good choice for readers who enjoyed Ursu's Almost There and Almost Not, Yi's A Sky of Paper Stars, or Jones' Six Feel Below (but with a bit more paranormal twists).

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