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{April 26, 2013}   {ARC Review} Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike

16065465From Goodreads: 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.

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Perhaps the most interesting part of this entire story is just how much of a modern-day retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel it really is.  From the scarlet badge to the daring feats, complete with betrayal and blackmail, Aprillynn Pike has it all, including humor and a happy ending.  I was pleasantly surprised as I read, especially as I was a bit skeptical when I first picked up the novel.  Not skeptical that it would be good, this isn’t my first Pike novel, but that it would really stay true to the classic it attempts to portray.  And it did.

Jeff is possibly the most unlucky person in the world, especially when it comes to being the only person able to see Kimberlee, a girl synonymous with pompous (and a few other choice words I won’t write).  She grated on my nerves throughout much of this story, which is unfortunate, but I think she was meant to be that type of character.  It didn’t make me feel badly for her, though, on any occasions, not even in the end, so that part may have missed the mark with me, but overall, the story itself is very good, and Kimberlee was characterized quite well, even if I didn’t care for her.

There is a little bit of instant love, to my initial chagrin, but Pike then goes back and fleshes it out quite nicely, putting substance behind the relationship between Sera and Jeff.  I really liked her, and as I learned about her past alongside Jeff, I just wanted to reach through the pages and hug her.  Yes, Kimberlee was a terrible person in life.  And learning about Sera’s past made me dislike Kimberlee all the more…

I can’t imagine a cave full of stolen goods, or being asked to redistribute them all, but Pike does a great job making the story funny and interesting, if a bit too far-fetched for my liking.  While it is a ghost story and I do love the paranormal, some of the feats Jeff and his peers complete, or attempt to complete, didn’t seem real enough to me.  I also never went to a large school (though I teach in one) and we never attempted to do crazy stunts like Jeff and his group do, so while it may seem far-fetched to me, it might not to another reader.

Overall, I thought this was a nice light read, and it ended on a happy note, which was nice, especially since I’ve read some darker novels as of light, and it was definitely time for something lighter.  Three stars.   

3 stars

I recieved an ARC of this novel from the publisher while attending NCTE in November 2012.

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