A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend, by Emily Horner (2010)

Genre: Contemporary Realism
Interest level: 15-adult
A Love Story Starring My Dead Best FriendOverall, I liked this story of Cass, a teenager coming to terms with the sudden death of her best friend Julia while at the same time working out issues of loyalty, sexuality and trust. There are two storylines: one in which she is attempting to cycle across the country with Julia’s ashes, and another, after her return, in which she and friends are staging Julia’s unfinished play, Totally Sweet Ninja Death Squad. The timeline swaps back and forth, and that is what weakens this book in my view. I like authors who can play with time, but it has to be done well. This isn’t. It feels like Emily had two plots and couldn’t decide, so she wrote them both and just flipped between them. The odd part is that I loved the bike trip, and grew to quite like the current plot, so in more skilled hands I think this might have been quite good. But I still liked the novel. I liked how Cass wavers about her sexuality, how joyous she is over her first kiss, and the realness of her selfishness and her grief. And how can one not adore a character who explains why ninjas, though powerful, simply cannot divide by zero?
More discussion and reviews of this book: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6725896-a-love-story-starring-my-dead-best-friend

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About Michelle Mallette
I'm just trying to keep track of the books I've read - what I liked and what isn't worth re-reading. My work as a librarian has included youth services so you'll find a wide range of interests from picture books and teen dystopia to adult sci-fi, road trip novels, and nonfiction. Comments and communication is always welcome.

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