Life After Theft

By Aprilynne Pike
Published on April 30th 2013
Published by HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Moving to a new high school sucks. Especially a rich-kid private school. With uniforms. But nothing is worse than finding out the first girl you meet is dead. And a klepto.

No one can see or hear Kimberlee except Jeff, so--in hopes of bringing an end to the snarkiest haunting in history--he agrees to help her complete her "unfinished business." But when the enmity between Kimberlee and Jeff's new crush, Sera, manages to continue posthumously, Jeff wonders if he's made the right choice.

Clash meets sass in this uproarious modern-day retelling of Baroness Orczy's The Scarlet Pimpernel.

Jeff is the new guy at a fancy private school when he meets Kimberlee, a ghost that only he can see. Although Kimberlee is annoying and demanding, Jeff eventually agrees to help her “move on” to the afterlife, if only to get her out of his hair.

I’m a fan of both modern and fantasy YA , so I was a little nervous going into this book. Would the premise work? Would I believe the characters? For the most part, I was happy to discover, this book worked as a modern YA novel.

The characters: Kimberlee is by far the most vivid character. She has attitude and a depth of emotions one might not expect from a ghost. She steels the scene from main character Jeff, who for the most part is a nice guy who is just trying to get through high school. Jeff does turn out to have some depth to him, however. You’ll just have to read to see! Other characters, with the exception of Jeff’s love interest Sera, seem to just hang out in the background or become “insert name here” high school clichés.

The storyline: Putting aside the fact that Kimberlee is a ghost, the plot of this novel could never realistically happen, but that’s also what makes it so exciting. Parts of the story were actually slow, with a lot of talking and “telling,” but Pike made up for that in the second half of the novel, when Jeff and his friends help Kimberlee with a top-secret project that could potentially land Jeff in big trouble. There’s also a complicated love interest to keep things interesting and a little spicy. I won’t give away the ending, but I will say that I was pleased to feel some closure for Kimberlee. However, I still want to know what happens to Jeff after the book ends. After all, he’s the main character, and his transformation from “good guy” to “guy who does what’s right, no matter what” seems incomplete and not a huge change for 345 pages.

Overall, I liked this novel. I even teared up a little at the end, and a crying Crystalee is a universal sign that a novel is at least worth the read.

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