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The Less-Dead

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  242 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
Noah Nordstrom has been dissing the religious beliefs of his father, who hosts a popular Christian radio show and whom Noah accuses of spreading hate. When two local gay teens are murdered, Noah’s anti-evangelism intensifies—he’s convinced that the killer is a caller on his dad’s program.

Then Noah meets Will Reed, a cool guy. But when he learns that Will is gay, Noah gets
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published January 12th 2010 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (first published December 18th 2009)
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So I am the first person to be write a review of this book in goodreads and am still thinking about how I felt. There are lots of good things about this book and a few not so great things. This is going to be long!

But first the basic premise, it is a murder mystery set in and around Austin involving a serial murderer who is killing gay, homeless teens in the name of god. It is as relevant and topical as it sounds.

The Good:

It is a pretty creepy mystery for most of the book, I thought it had go
The Rainbow Zebra
Jan 10, 2010 The Rainbow Zebra rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: YA, GLBT, Progressive Christianity, murder mystery
Recommended to The Rainbow Zebra by: Won from First Reads
I am so pleased that I had the opportunity to read "The Less-Dead". I enjoy Young Adult books, but even moreso for the subject matter: the struggles between Christianity and the GLBT community.

Noah's father is a famous radio broadcaster who preaches mainlline Christianity, especially the message that homosexuality is a sin. When 2 gay foster youth are murdered, Noah becomes concerned for a new friend, Will, who is living on the streets.

Although some of the book had that "afterschool special" tou
Mar 01, 2012 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbt
I started reading the book this morning, and was done with it in less than four hours. I'm a college student with a busy schedule, but I didn't want to put the book down.

Now, the book is not without flaws (no creative work, written or otherwise, is), and I will outline what I felt could have used a little more polish, but in my opinion, it wasn't enough to detract from the story line, or from the rating. As a reader, I try my best to ignore the writer inside, and the reader in me enjoyed the bo
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for

Raised in a strict evangelical home, author April Lurie explains in her author's note how closely she can relate to Noah Nordstrom, the main character in her latest book. THE LESS-DEAD is a compelling story of drama, religious frustrations, and murder.

Noah Nordstrom has been raised from birth to view religion and the Bible as the road map of life. His father is the well-known Bible Answer Guy whose radio talk show is extremely popul
Apr 17, 2016 Anna rated it it was ok
I. Finally. Finished! After.... like a month. It was a tough one to read, not because of the content, but because of the poorly conceived mystery, characters that were not developed well enough, and irritating writing style. (Still, I did not hate it enough to give it one star. Oh, and if I rant and act rudely, pardon my behaviour. I just want to point out some flaws that hindered my enjoyment.)

Let's start with the good. I appreciate the author's efforts in writing about such a topic, which isn'
Steve Duong
Nov 25, 2009 Steve Duong rated it liked it
Shelves: big-picture-201

I am not sure what to say about this book. So I'll start meagerly with the plot.

It's a mystery novel). And I'd like to point out that this is probably the first book that I've read revolving around homosexuality/Religion because I just never bothered picking a book like this. The plot, simply put is boy a meets boy b, boy a is at a disposition, rejecting his somewhat subconscious awkwardness around boy b, but boy b somewhere along the line is murdered so boy a, with all his cooped up guilt
Jun 02, 2013 Lyn rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1-ya
It's not easy being the Bible Answer Guy's son. His dad's famous Christian radio show is just one more reason why Noah Nordstrom is rebelling against his parents, religion, and the church.

At a youth church retreat, Noah and his girlfriend Aubrey slip away into the woods to further their sex education. They're only making out, but Aubrey is the pastor's daughter and when they're caught, she's forbidden to see or talk to him again. This is made easier because Noah and his best friend Carson are se
Jason Brown (Toastx2)
50 word review:

Teen Literature. A serial killer murdering homeless gay males. A Hetero rebellious youth fighting against bible thumping father. The killer begins communicating with said rebel. Interestingly, teaches tolerance, acceptance, introspection, and that today's youth can change dogma.

Morality tale, semi-christian, wasn't sure what I was getting into, enjoyed it though.


Not needed, origination blurb was well written as was the novel.

Publishers description:

Noah Nordstrom has been
May 01, 2011 Alicia rated it it was amazing
What a unique and well-told story! The intersection of sexuality and religion mixed with murder and family is so rich with detail, vagueness when necessary, and evocative that I really couldn't put it down and if I had to, I was thinking about it-- not so much the mystery of who the murderer of these gay foster kids but of the religious fanatacism, family values, and caring. Will, the third boy to be murdered in the Austin, TX area, is befriended by Noah, who's father is the "Bible answer guy" o ...more
Sarah Rosenberger
Aug 23, 2010 Sarah Rosenberger rated it really liked it
Noah's beliefs couldn't be more different than his conservative father's. While his father is 'Bible Answer Man', the host of a popular religious radio show, Noah isn't sure he believes all - or even most - of what the bible says. He goes to church because he has to, and hangs out with the youth group because it’s the only time he gets to see the girl he has a crush on, but he can’t stand the hypocrisy of evangelical Christians, especially when it comes to gay rights. Noah thinks he’s totally ok ...more
Dec 26, 2009 Andres rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, arcs
Another reviewer on here has a more detailed but similar opinion than what I'll put down, but I'll drop my two cents worth anyhow. I don't read too many books aimed at the YA crowd, but this one struck me as different than the usual type of YA fiction that passes through my hands at work (vampires, fairies, girls with summer boy troubles, boys with summer girl problems, or even ones with weightier issues like anorexia, drug abuse, or teen pregnancy). At first glance this a "gay" story but really ...more
Jan 10, 2010 Audrey rated it really liked it
Noah's been raised in an Evangelical household. His father is the host of a popular conservative Christian radio show. However, Noah's rebellion against his upbringing has resulted in being placed in a special school for troubled teens. Lately, teen homeless gay boys have been turning up murdered, and Noah suspects one of the callers to his father's radio show as being the murderer. Noah has also met a new friend, Will, who is a young gay teen living on the streets. After Will is murdered (you f ...more
Jul 26, 2009 Elaine rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
Recommended to Elaine by: The author
Oh. My. God.
I don't think I have ever read a book that is more... awesome? Inspiring? Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious? I dunno. But whatever it is, it's the best book I have ever read.

The Less-Dead is about Noah Nordstrom, who's father is this big Evangelical radio host, famous across the country. But lately, the station has been getting calls from a disguised voice, saying how much he hates gay people. Then, gay teenagers start showing up dead. But not just any gay teens; gay teens in fost
Saleena Davidson
Feb 05, 2014 Saleena Davidson rated it liked it
The Less Dead was a thrilling suspenseful ride. Noah stumbles on clues to a serial killer who is targeting LGBT teens who are "less dead" due to having no family to care if they are gone. Lurie tackles some heavy issues along the way, mostly dealing with the evangelical community and their views of homosexuality. I usually avoid books with religion in them like the plague.....but the main character being angry and unhappy with his upbringing (he calls it brainwashing many times) struck a chord f ...more
Oct 07, 2009 Vanesa rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010

I felt like I was running out of air in this book….I wanted to jump in the story and help Noah resolved the whole plot.

Perfectly executed and with a pace that is beyond smooth “the Less-Dead” is incredible with characters with so many different “colors” and emotions…some you will love, some will creep you out and a few time you might want to smack them (just kidding) I enjoyed the music and poetry reference in the book.

I adore the surprise factor in the end and how during the entire
Nov 29, 2009 Sara rated it liked it
The positive: Genuinely moving at times, and a well-done ending (unusual for the things I've been reading lately, which tend to falter at the end).

The negative: Man, I had such high hopes for this. A murder mystery involving evangelical Christians and the GLBTQ teen community? And the foster program and the homeless and Austin? Such potential. But the writing was so clunky, and the characterization so heavy-handed, and the band references so overtly chosen to be "cool," that it couldn't stand up
Diane Ferbrache
Aug 09, 2010 Diane Ferbrache rated it really liked it
Noah is the son of the "Bible guy" on the radio, but he doesn't agree with his father's conservative interpretations. When someone begins murdering gay teenagers, Noah begins to think that it's one of his father's listeners. This is an interesting story with lots of thought-provoking ideas. There is a great deal of discussion about being gay and a great deal of criticism for the conservative religious positions. But in the end, it's a great story of questioning, friendship, growing up and making ...more
Jul 19, 2011 Jason rated it liked it
Not my favorite April Lurie book, but still a delight to read (if murder mysteries can be described as delightful!) I particularly love that it's set in Austin, so I know almost every scene's setting quite well...I wouldn't recommend that a person start with this one if they've never read Lurie (start with Dylan Fontaine or Brothers, Boyfriends, & Other Criminal Minds), but I'd still recommend it to anyone who likes the murder mystery thing, particularly some of my former 8th graders...I wis ...more
Ms W
Mar 28, 2016 Ms W rated it it was ok
MsW: I so appreciated this story; set in Austin, believable, centered around themes I believe are relevant and worth pondering. Why would Will, a likeable, gentle young street kid be brutally strangled? What is meant by "less dead" in a realistic novel? How are the two closely tied to the religious zeal and dogma that so many parents drill into their children? If these themes intrigue you, you'll really enjoy this one... WHS_lib call# Mystery_F_LUR.
Nov 24, 2012 Darla rated it liked it
Shelves: teen, teen-christian
I'm glad I read this book. What I really liked and would give it 4 stars is for the approach and handling of a subject so many avoid to read. How gently yet realistically the story unfolds to make a reader assess their own judgments. This is a story about homosexuality without "displaying" it. Ev
Forever Young Adult
Graded By: Meghan
Cover Story: The Less-Bad
BFF Charm: Yeah
Swoonworthy Scale: 2
Talky Talk: Preach It, Sister!
Bonus Factors: ATX, LGBTQ
Anti-Bonus/Bonus Factor: Poetry
Relationship Status: Show Buddy

Read the full book report here.
Jul 22, 2013 Amanda rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
Creepy, mysterious and bittersweet with a hint of religion, it's a definite spin on all of these especially when sex orientation is involved. I read this book non stop for 4 hours and Noah the son of the Bible answer guy brings it together from the poems to figuring it out and to the finale finding the culprit. Full of details and verses full of the bible it's a book to read.
Nov 14, 2012 Michael rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Noah’s friend Will is one of the ‘less dead’, an outcast with no family, no home, a gay teen on the outside. No one will really care for a nobody in a pauper’s grave once the headlines about his murder have passed. But Noah won’t have it. He’ll put it all on the line, his freedom, his family, even his life to acknowledge the bright light that was his friend, and maybe stop the next murder.
Stephanie A.
Jul 22, 2012 Stephanie A. rated it really liked it
Disturbing and upsetting in all the best ways. I loved the way it opened, perfect for grabbing my attention, but then as we got to know Will (who was the most likable character of all), those words really sank in. I had to read it again at the midpoint, whereupon I actually felt sick. The unraveling of the mystery was just as fascinating as the setup.
Cem Nesiri
Jan 21, 2015 Cem Nesiri rated it liked it
It's really exciting and this book hooks you to read. I really liked the mystery and the topic of the book. The end and also the main idea of the book is different than the other mystery-novels. This is why I think whoever likes to read mystery books should read this book. I recommend this book to Zorbey, Zeynep and Kerem E. because I think that they would like to read an interesting book.
Emma Grey
Aug 10, 2010 Emma Grey rated it it was amazing
It was a bit unusual in the beginning, but once you meet Will you're hooked. In the end you must remember and I quote:
"Jesus was betrayed by a friend!"
The main character Noah's father is The Bible Answer Guy and Noah must set out to find the killer of the less-Dead!
Nov 30, 2010 Jennifer rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010, grades-9-12
I liked this book, and read it fairly quickly, but at times it was just too much. I felt like it was a little too preachy to be completely enjoyable, and I even agree with much of what was said. It just felt as if the author was trying far too hard to gett her point across.
Sarah K.
Dec 13, 2013 Sarah K. rated it it was amazing
I couldn't put this book down. The storyline is great and well written. I've gone to some straight laced churches and I thought this book did a really good job at looking at some of the problems that happen in these types of churches.
Dec 30, 2010 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Just a note to encourage you to read the author's notes at the end and share the list of resources provided.
Overall, I felt this was an excellent novel, well researched, with deeply sympathetic characters from across the religious spectrum, as well as both gay and straight.
Kim Baccellia
Jul 25, 2010 Kim Baccellia rated it liked it
This book has a very important message that I feel very strongly about. I liked what the author did with showing this especially with the son who questions his father's anti-gay message. This book has stayed with me. Review will come soon!
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I have the best job in the world - I write books for teens. I'm a former nurse, a native New Yorker, a wife, and a mother of four. I live near Austin, Texas, with my family, and I'm currently working on my next novel.
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