Saturday, August 23, 2014

Book Review: Six Feet Over It

Six Feet Over ItAuthor: Jennifer Longo
Publication Date: August 26, 2014
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers

Home is where the bodies are buried.

Darkly humorous and heart-wrenchingly beautiful, Jennifer Longo’s YA debut about a girl stuck living in a cemetery will change the way you look at life, death, and love.

Leigh sells graves for her family-owned cemetery because her father is too lazy to look farther than the dinner table when searching for employees. Working the literal graveyard shift, she meets two kinds of customers:

Pre-Need: They know what’s up. They bought their graves a long time ago, before they needed them.

At Need: They are in shock, mourning a loved one’s unexpected death. Leigh avoids sponging their agony by focusing on things like guessing the headstone choice (mostly granite).

Sarcastic and smart, Leigh should be able to stand up to her family and quit. But her world’s been turned upside down by the sudden loss of her best friend and the appearance of Dario, the slightly-too-old-for-her grave digger. Surrounded by death, can Leigh move on, if moving on means it’s time to get a life?

I wish I was the kind of person who could look his shenanigans in the face and just be all, No. A smart person. A brave person. An Emily person.

My blame knows no bounds. Or logic. This Dario person is not just the messenger; he is the Grim Reaper. Or no, wait – that’s me.

In retrospect, kudos to Wade for dragging us to live in a graveyard, a genuinely logical next step in my already deathsoaked existence. Wade says I’m super dramatic. Wade is the one using headstones for a walkway.

Four years. College or circus or hookering can’t come soon enough.

I am unsure where to start with this debut novel because it was not at all what I expected it to be. I flew through the story because of the pacing and the main character’s voice, but this story is not a happy go lucky one. It’s about a girl, Leigh, who is surrounded by death. Her father bought the local cemetery and it is her job to try and sell the plots of land to people who have recently lost their loved ones. This is of course Leigh’s story, but it’s not just about death, it’s about Leigh learns to deal with the idea of death.

This book was very enjoyable for me, even after realizing that it would mostly be centered on death and the family’s cemetery business. However, as I mentioned before the main character’s voice was one of my favorite things while reading. There was so much dry, witty humor in this book and it helped to alleviate some of the harder scenes to read or when characters were in troubling situations. This book could have been extremely gloomy, but this is where I really praise Longo, especially since this is her debut novel. She kept the air light and humorous even when you would expect things to turn dark and dreary. I was so pleased by this; this showed how badly she wanted the overall message of the book to come across to readers.

Leigh was a believable teenager and I think this book would be a wonderful read for any teenager, or even someone older, who is dealing with some type of grief of their own. Leigh has her struggles, of course, like any other teenager and she feels very isolated and alone at times. This is all about Leigh’s learning process and the fact that by the end of this book so many things happen that Leigh realizes she was never as alone as she felt. There were so many realistic relationships in this book as well. Relationships that you would expect any angsty teenager to have. Longo definitely has a career in young adult fiction!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Random House Books for Young Readers in exchange for my honest review***

1 comment:

  1. I am almost done with this one and I agree that Leigh is a very realistic character. I really enjoy her voice.

    Kate @ Ex Libris