Friday, October 9, 2015

Blog Tour: It's a Wonderful Death by Sarah J. Schmitt - Review (@SJSchmitt)

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Author: Sarah J. Schmitt
Publication Date: October 6, 2015
Published: Sky Pony Press
Reviewer: Lametria
Source: Netgalley

My Rating:
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.

Early Praise for It's A Wonderful Death 

"Fun, Funny and Full of Life" - Kirkus Review

"A snarky joyride of a book with a deep moral core; long after you've finished laughing, you'll still be thinking about RJ's journey and perhaps asking yourself: What defines a life well lived?" - Mike Mullin, author of Ashfall

"It's a Wonderful Death is a wonderful gem. Both snarky and uplifting, it sneaks inside you and makes you smile and cry at the same time." -Sarah Beth Durst, award-winning author of Vessel and Drink, Slay, Love

"It's A Wonderful Death is a great mix of mirth, myth and metaphysics; I enjoyed it greatly and I'm certain that YA readers will as well." - Daniel Waters, author of Generation Dead

"Mean Girls meets A Christmas Carol! Smart, sassy, and humorously original with clever world-building and a host of interesting characters, It's a Wonderful Death will have you laughing out loud and rooting for RJ from the first page!" - Amalie Howard, best-selling author of Bloodspell

"Just the kind of story I love -- full of snark, heart, and contemplation about the meaning of life! It's a Wonderful Death will get you thinking about what you want to leave behind and how you want to live until then." - Kristen Lippert-Martin, author of Tabula Rasa

"RJ's witty narrative had me both laughing out loud and weeping into the pages. It's a Wonderful Death is a delightful read that questions the butterfly effect of choices made...and unmade."  - Danielle L. Jensen, author of Stolen Songbird

“You know a story’s going to be good when Death shows up as a surfer! I loved every bit of this funny and heartwarming tale of second chances.”  -Lisa Maxwell, author of Sweet Unrest

The title may have wonderful in it, but the book does not. Don’t get me the wrong, it’s a good read, I just expected more from it. It all starts when the grim reaper makes a mistake and takes the soul from teenager, RJ Jones, instead of a gypsy woman. RJ, starts off as your typical, mean, self-centered girl, who really has a soft side but is too concerned with being popular than doing what’s right. So, when she gets to the other side, her fate is questioned and put on trial, after being given three chances to redo certain times in her life for the better.

To make a long story short, she goes back in time, changes past mistakes in her life, and becomes a better person. The trial l is long and there’s a lot of back and forth but they ultimately decide to let her go back to earth, and live her life. Big surprise? Not really. 

The rest of the book shows her life once she’s back on earth and how her life was changed, after redoing what she did the first time around, leading up to her death. I won’t say how fast it happens, but it happens fast. 

I’m not sure what I really expected from this book, but I do know everything that I expected to happen, happened, as much as I hoped it wouldn’t. I was hoping this book would prove me wrong, but it proved me right and that’s why I don’t think it’s wonderful. I wanted to be surprised, I wanted to feel some sort of remorse for RJ, I mean I did root for her to go back to earth, even though I knew she would be able to, but at the same time I was more curious to see what would happen if she was denied access to go back. 

What if she didn’t change her ways? What if she made the same choices she made the first time around? I know people can change, but come on, change the outcome once in a while and make a book with death in the title a bit more dramatic. It was a good read though, I did enjoy reading it, which is why I give it 3.5 stars.

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 runs a teen writing program that combines Skype visits from well-known authors and screenwriters and critique group style feedback.
Prior to immersing herself in the world of the written word, Sarah earned her Masters of Science in Higher Education Administration and Student Affairs from Indiana University where she worked with first year college students as they acclimated to college life. Sarah lives outside of Indianapolis with her husband, two kidlets and a cat who might actually be a secret agent. She is an active member of SCBWI, ALA and the Indiana Library Federation and is a regular participant at the Midwest Writer's Workshop. Her debut novel, IT'S A WONDERFUL DEATH, comes out Fall 2015 from Sky Pony Press.
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