Confession: I am ridiculously addicted to 80s high school movies. In a I've-watched-them-40-million-times kind of way. In a I-own-hideously-expensive-collector's-editions kind of way. In a I-would-love-to-be-Lloyd-Dobler's-honey kind of way. I mean, seriously, who could resist this
If someone had plucked Llyod Dobler off the sets of Say Anything, and stuck him in paranormal YA book, he would probably be called Sam LaCroix. Now this is Point 1 in Lish McBride's favour. You can keep your Michael Schoefflings and Rob Lowes. My heart will, forever and always, belong to John Cusack.
Sam LaCroix is the 21st century version of Llyod Dobler. He's a college dropout who works at a fast food restaurant. He's a drifter, with no particular aims or ambitions, until one day, he captures the attention of a creepy guy who tells him the truth about himself - he's a necromancer.
Now Sam (short for Samhain Corvus LaCroix) isn't exactly excited to find out that he has paranormal powers. He is even less pleased to have come to the attention of Douglas, the top necromancer in Seattle and head of the Council, especially since Douglas has an uncomfortable tendency to make threats, resort physical violence, and send hapless baby-necromancers talking heads of their best friends.
As Sam tries desperately to navigate through this new world, he is helped by his friend and fellow fry cook, Ramon, the hapless food service newbie Frank and the gorgeous-and-often-naked werewolf Brid.
Truth be told, I'm a little in love with Sam. He's self-deprecating, so very normal
, but in an oh-so-adorable kind of way, and he really stands out in the crowded mass of paranormal alpha super heroes. But even more, I love the dynamic between Sam, Ramon, Frank and Brooke. First brought together by food service-induced misery, this quartet forge strong bonds of friendship and humor that warmed the cockles of my heart (what the hell are cockles, anyway?*) throughout the book.
I also liked Sam's relationships with his mother and sister, with a special nod to his awesome-funny relationship with Mrs. W, his neighbour down the hall. The relationship between Brid and Sam was not a high point for me, but I'm glad he found someone, and they turned out to like each other without falling in twu wuvv 4 eva!
Much to my surprise, I found myself recognising most of the songs used as chapter titles, although I can't say I appreciate the soundtrack of 'Tiny Dancer' running in my head every time I read the title. A fan of Elton John, I'm not!
Lish McBride does a fabulous job writing a male voice, making Sam gentle and non-aggressive without being effeminate. The other thing I really appreciated about her writing was the way in which she switched tenses and POVs without making the transitions jarring. I know some people disagree with me on this, but I really appreciated the opportunity to see the story from several angles. The characters also became more fully fleshed-out and multi-dimensional that way.
All in all, this was a truly worthwhile read, and if you haven't read it yet, well, what are you waiting for?! Go now, or I'm gonna sick Michelle and her !!!!!s onto you! ;-) Thank you, Maja and Michelle, for hounding
me until I read this book! I can't wait for the next book, especially because I am dying
to see what happens to Ramon! May 2012 *cries* why, why, why?!!!
* Wikipedia tells me that "Cockle is the common name for a group of (mostly) small, edible, saltwater clams, marine bivalve molluscs in the family Cardiidae." Huh, who knew?!