Review: The Death Catchers by Jennifer Anne Kogler

in a sentence or so: after Lizzie has an omen of her best friend's death, her grandma (better known as Bizzie) tells her she's part of the Hands of Fate. which means that for the rest of her life, Lizzie will have death-specters and her goal is to try and stop Vivienne le Mort from ending any lives before their time.

Lizzie and her best friend Jodi know their little town of Crabapple isn't usual. they realize that the guardian of the cemetery is a little off her rocker. they're even well aware that they shouldn't be snooping in her window in the middle of the afternoon...but that doesn't stop them from peeping in on the little old lady and finding a very tall, dark, and scary Vivienne le Mort inside of her cottage. you know, Vivienne from Arthurian legend fame? yeah, that crazy lady.

Lizzie's hopes that seeing Vivienne was just a bizarre dream flies out the window when she has her first death-specter. her grandma Bizzie fills her in on the family trait and points her in the direction she must go to fulfill her duty. and that direction just might be towards the gorgeous, artsy, incredibly sensitive boy-next door Drake Westfall.

i love Arthurian legend. a whole lot. while this book definitely loves up The Once and Future King Arthur Pendgragon as much as i do, i didn't mind reading the background of the legend, learning about the Hands of Fate or the feud between Vivienne and Morgan, or reading about a lesser known theory regarding the  relationship between Guinevere and Arthur. BUT if i hadn't read a single word about Arthurian legend before, i wouldn't have been overwhelmed by the explanations or felt like it bogged down the plot. the author integrates the Arthurian goodness within a plot fueled by friendship, crushes, family discoveries and personal responsibilities with bursts of nail-biting action scenes.

Lizzie is funny, sweet, courageous and silly. Bizzie, her grandma, is all of those things times fifty. i want to be besties with an old woman who is sassy from here to Sunday and rides a red scooter named Dixie. i did not know this about myself until i read this book, but the fact is totally undeniable.

the romance is a slow, sweet crush that doesn't dominate the plot - but rather weaves it's way naturally into the story. i love how this book balanced the contemporary with the supernatural elements and kept the Real Issues of family, best friends, and boys as such crucial pieces of the teenage experience. plus, it's written in the form of a letter to her English teacher so it makes all sorts of literary references which i found nerdariffic and totally charming.

for a funny, contemporary book with a genuine dose of Arthurian legend and undercurrents of mystery and suspense, check out The Death Catchers. you'll fall in love with Bizzie, cheer on Lizzie, and crush on Drake all while enjoying this solid read.

fave quote: "Normally, if Jodi accused me of having a crush on someone, I would probably go out of my way to prove I didn't by ignoring that person. Now, I couldn't ignore Drake. In fact, if I wanted to save his life, I'd have to do just the opposite. You'd probably call this whole situation ironic, Mrs. Tweedy. If you did, I think you'd be right." (126)

fix er up: reallllly hoping there is more to follow in the story of Lizzie, Bizzie, Jodi and Drake.

title: The Death Catchers
author: Jennifer Anne Kogler
publishing info: August 2011, Walker Books for Young Readers
genre: Contemporary, Fantasy

buy The Death Catchers by Jennifer Anne Kogler on Amazon

[ftc notice: i received an advanced review copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. i received no compensation for this review.]

Lisa is a gamer, crafter, fangirl, mother, wife and unabashed nerd who is pretty ridiculous and it's best you know that up front. When she's not binge watching Netflix or crafting into the wee hours of the night, you can find her spending a lot of her time on Pinterest and Twitter.

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