Saturday, August 23, 2014

Early Review: Six Feet Over It by Jennifer Longo

It's always a delight delving into genres you don't always read and finding out that they're actually good. This was such an instance. The cover looked interesting enough, but the synopsis proved that this book wasn't my usual read, so I wasn't sure how I would like it. Reading the first chapter only proved my point; it wasn't bad or anything, but the story had a slow start. Still, I liked the main character, Leigh, and so I decided to keep reading.

About a few more chapters in, I found myself getting sucked into Leigh's life. I just felt so bad for her, and found myself wondering how she functioned at all. If I was her, I would have thrown temper tantrums and refused to work, and yet she just took everything that life threw at her. Her best friend, her only friend, dies and she has to ignore it and take care of her newly cancer-free sister? Okay. She has to move away from her beloved ocean into a town she's never heard of? Fine. She has to live in a graveyard and sell caskets and grave plots? Sure. She hates every second of it, and it's secretly destroying her, but still she stands it all and keeps her emotions contained. She puts everyone before herself and lives life with no one caring about her, and I just had to find out where she would end up.

Though on the surface nothing alike, Leigh's story is reminiscent of 'Love Letters to the Dead' by Ava Dellaira. While the latter was more intense - and its main character non-relatable - 'Six Feet Over It' caused me grief, not depression, and Leigh was much easier to connect with. Nonetheless, both stories discuss two people dealing with death, and while each character deals with it differently, there's still a lesson to be learned, and that is that there is life after death, and more specific to this book, that a dead best friend won't judge you for making a new friend (I put that badly, but the way Leigh realizes this - and the time it takes her to do so - is what makes this book so great).

When Dario first showed up, I though for sure that they'd end up the romantic couple that's always so cliché, and I continued to think that until almost the very end. They had a great relationship, truly, but I guess now I realize that they're better separate than together. Still, I have to say, I'm not a happy girl when my girl doesn't get the guy. When I first figured out what was actually happening, I simultaneously wanted to lecture Leigh on how a 15-year old girl can live without a star-crossed romance, and I wanted to smack Dario, but of course I couldn't want that because he was still the best thing that happened to Leigh (Elanor, the girl with the potential to be Leigh's best friend, being second best).

I'm not sure how long I'll remember 'Six Feet Over It', but I'm so glad I took the chance on this book because it means so much than any normal romance could (plus the romances I've been reading lately have been pretty dull). This book is great for fans of YA and books that make you cry, but I'd also advise readers who don't usually check out this type of novel to give it a try.

Book Synopsis: 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?

Source: Received a copy from Random House for review.

Title: Six Feet Over It
Author: Jennifer Longo
Publication Date: August 26, 2014
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 352 pages