Croak, Book 2
Author: Gina Damico
Source: Publisher at BEA
Description from Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Lex Bartleby is a teenage grim reaper with the bizarre ability to damn souls. That makes her pretty scary, even to fellow Grims. But after inadvertently transferring her ability to Zara, a murderous outlaw, Lex is a pariah in Croak, the little town she calls home.
To escape the townspeople’s wrath, she and her friends embark on a wild road trip to DeMyse. Though this sparkling desert oasis is full of luxuries and amusements, it feels like a prison to Lex. Her best chance at escape would be to stop Zara once and for all—but how can she do that from DeMyse, where the Grims seem mysteriously oblivious to Zara’s killing spree?
First Sentence: "Carl Scutner wondered, for a brief moment, what it would feel like to punt his wife off a cliff."
1: Croak (review|Goodreads)
Gina Damico's Croak ranks as one of the funniest books I've ever read. She has this great, dark, absurdist sense of humor that I cannot get enough of. She has a way of making even the weirdest things sound believable. As such, Scorch was one of my most anticipated books and I was lucky enough to get an ARC at BEA. While, I didn't fall quite as in love with Scorch, though I cannot put my finger on quite why, it's still a wonderful sequel, hilarious and satisfying.
Something I had forgotten about the end of Croak was that someone died. Oh, my memory. Anyway, it surprised me all over again. Take that to heart, guys. Gina Damico's book may rank as humor first, but don't forget the dark part. She kills off and damages beloved characters when you're least expecting it and in ways you never could have anticipated. A lot of YA authors cringe away from things like that, even when turning their hands to dystopias, but not so Damico. This lends a darker, more serious feel to what, on the surface, appear to be lighthearded comedies about grim reapers.
Are you worried now about who will be killed? You should be, because Damico's characters are wonderful and just bursting with life. They're all, almost to a Grim, sarcastic, intelligent and people that I want to be friends with. All of our old favorites are back: Lex, Ferbus, Elysia, Driggs, Mort, and more, but there are also a few wonderful new characters added into the mix.
Lex, of course, is our indomitable heroine. She's clever, violent, and has a powerful sense of justice. She doesn't love easily, but, when she does, she will stop at nothing to protect the people she loves. Lex seems a bit softened by her time spent among good friends who understand her, but she definitely has not lost her hard edge just because she's happy with a boyfriend. Never will this girl stop being a powerhouse.
Driggs, her boyfriend, is just as charmingly rumpled as he was in the first book. Lex and Driggs are a bit of a disgusting couple, though that may be due to the gross-out descriptions of their make out sessions (Damico's not going for swoons here). The two of them spend pretty much all of their time together, and are surprisingly lovey-dovey and open about their feelings. I would be totally icked out by them, but they're just so weird and perfect for each other that I can't help but wish them the best. Rather than being stereotypes of perfection, they're just these two strange people who seem to be belong together.
Ferbus and Elysia continue to do their snarky banter back and forth. He grumps about completely everything. She has all of the perk and love of parties of Pinkie Pie. The new additions to the group, two new Juniors, I was initially skeptical of, but I came to love them just as much as the rest of the crew. Pip and Bang are step siblings. Pip talks constantly and drives Ferbus batty. Bang doesn't talk at all, instead communicating via arm gestures. These too seem obnoxious at first, but turn out to be every bit as capable and endearingly kooky as most Croakers.
The plot of Scorch follows Zara's reign of terror, as she Damns innocent people left and right, demanding that Lex and her gang fork over The Wrong Book, which contains the secrets to unmaking the world as they know it. Unfortunately, Lex isn't sure where or how to get the book, and most of Croak blames her for everything that's going on. Croak used to be idyllic, but not so much anymore.
The Croak series can best be compared to the television show Dead Like Me, sharing the quirky, dark humor as well as subject matter. If you, like me, love shows like Dead Like Me and Pushing Daisies, you NEED to read Gina Damico, because she wrote these for oddballs like us, and there are more coming!
Favorite Quote: "'Here's the thing,' he said, his face strained. 'It's just that I've been treading really carefully around you and this whole Cordy thing all day, just like Mort told me to. And I had to make sure you saw her and were okay with it and got home safe — again, just like Mort told me to. And as much as I'd love to continue exploring the implications of Damning roadkill, the truth is' — he plunged his hands into his hair until it stuck up even more than usual — 'you've been back here in my presence for two agonizing hours now, and if we don't properly make out soon, I'm going to hurl myself off the roof.'"