Published by J Taylor Publishing on 1/7/2013
Genres: Paranormal Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
There's no way sixteen year old Quincy Amarante will become the fifth grim reaper. None. Not over her shiny blue Mustang. Her Jimmy Choos. Or her dead body.
She’s supposed to enjoy her sophomore year, not learn about some freaky future Destiny says she has no choice but to fulfill.\r\nIt doesn’t take long for Quincy to realize the only way out of the game is to play along especially since Death can find her anyway, anywhere, anytime. And does.\r\nLike when she’s reassuring her friends she wants nothing to do with former best friend Ben Moorland, who’s returned from god-knows-where, and fails. Miserably.\r\nInstead of maintaining her coveted popularity status, Quincy’s goes down like the Titanic.\r\nMaybe ... just maybe ... that’s okay.\r\nIt seems, perhaps, becoming a grim reaper isn’t just about the dead but more about a much needed shift in Quincy’s priorities—from who she thinks she wants to be to who she really is.
I didn’t expect to like Reaper after I began reading it. What I thought would be cute and fluffy, despite some of the deeper connotations in the synopsis I clearly missed, turned out to be profound and soul-searching…something not as often found in young adult novels of the paranormal variety.
Quincy is your (less-than) average American teen: popular, blonde, on the dance squad and school and all the boys want her. She gets good grades, she and her friends play games and do a bit of backstabbing, and all in all, it’s basically farcical high school life. I say “farcical” because some readers might take issue with details of Quincy’s life, like getting a brand new sports car for her birthday, or being able to throw down $100 of her dad’s money when she goes shopping because she feels like it.
And at first, I was like, What?! This isn’t how real people live (okay maybe some of them). But then I realized (way late in the book) these basic details illustrate how far Quincy will have to go before becoming a Reaper, which is the main plot driver in this story. And that’s what I enjoyed the most about it.
It took me about 50% of the book before I decided I liked it. I was very ho-hum in the beginning, thinking that this was reading like young adult chick-lit, which I’m not opposed to, but just wasn’t expecting or wanting to read at the time. There were occasional appearances of a paranormal entity in the beginning and at the time, I felt like it was just a convenient way to call this a paranormal young adult story and cash in on that cow. But as the story progressed, the timing of his appearances became relevant and it all tied together nicely for me.
There was a larger message to be had and when it struck me, I finally just got it. Quincy struggles with who she thinks she needs to be and who she really is, and I think this is a very relevant struggle for anyone…not just the demographic L.S. Murphy is writing for. She has to struggle with this to make it to her destiny, the path that was laid out for her the day she was born.
I loved and loathed all the characters at one point or another, except for Ben Moorland. Ben’s my dreamboat, I never loathed him. Each character had something very important to give to the story, a specific driver to push Quincy closer to her destiny. I really can’t say more than that, because I might give too much away, and that’s something I don’t want to do.
There was one major plot point in the story that I wasn’t too fond of, and that’s Jordan’s relationship with Robert. Jordan is Quincy’s best friend and Robert is just a dickhead. You like my description? It’s pretty apt. He felt abusive and arrogant, and it didn’t make sense to me why Jordan, someone who seemed very strong and independent (to her detriment at times) would give in to a boy like that and let him strong arm her.
There is a love triangle in this, but I wasn’t completely enamored with it. Logan felt largely inconsequential to me, and put there to be a plot device. I don’t know….I just wasn’t feeling it. I didn’t hate him though, and I liked how it all wrapped up…
Normally, in stories like this, parents are conveniently left out of the plot for a large portion (like the pesky human beings they are!), but in Reaper, Murphy explains away absences with job conflicts, school, and family duties, not leaving it to the reader to take their absence for granted. And it’s not like they weren’t there…they had facetime in the story, more than other YA books, for sure. Kudos for that, it’s actually nice to see for a change.
Reaper also broke my heart. I very nearly cried at the ending, and then again in the very last chapter (stupid feelings!). It stuck with me through the following days as the author’s messages rang clear and true: Patience is a virtue, and the strong forgive. At least, that’s what I took away from it.
Stick with Reaper through the uncertain beginning, because Quincy is redeemable, and she’s worth getting to know.
“I’d wait forever for you.”