Jake Rideout's Reviews > Croak

Croak by Gina Damico
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's review
Mar 27, 2012

it was amazing
Read from March 20 to 27, 2012

Here are some things I love:

-people with heterochromia (2 different-colored eyes)
-creative insults
-upstate New York (somewhat against my will)
-cool, badass uncles

CROAK has all of these things IN SPADES. It even has ramen, which, as a foodie, I probably shouldn't love but do.

The book begins with Lex Bartleby being almost-expelled, tied to a chair with jump ropes by her parents, and shipped off to rural upstate New York. Once there, her policy of Punch First, Fire Scathing Insult Later seems to fit in a little better than it did at home. Before she knows it, Lex is absorbed into the town of Croak, population 80. This is probably due to the fact that her uncle is Mort Bartleby, the mayor of Croak and a well-respected Grim Reaper.

It's not a relaxing summer vacation for Lex. She spends long days Killing people, and on top of that there are several unusual circumstances that she feels compelled to investigate with her partner, Driggs, a hot drummer with the aforementioned heterochromia.

The thing I love most about this book is the dialogue. Lex is a spitfire. She's a master insultmonger, and her repartee with Driggs is often hilarious. But the character I love most is Uncle Mort. I'm not sure if this was Gina Damico's intention, but I kind of have a crush on him. This is a relief. Sometimes I feel creepy swooning over the love interest in a YA novel. Gina has thoughtfully provided me with a more age-appropriate target for my readerly affections, which I appreciate.

Gina and I went to college together, and I've been a fan of her writing for many years--but she's really outdone herself with CROAK. I can't wait to see what else she has in store for us.

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