Wendy Lohr's Reviews > Croak

Croak by Gina Damico
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's review
Nov 29, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2012-dac, 2012-ya-paranormal-and-fantasy-chal, reapers
Read from April 19 to May 01, 2012


Lexington Bartleby has become too much to handle. After two years of punching anyone that annoyed her and causing her parents more grief than any teen should be capable of, Lex is being carted off to her Uncle Mort's farm in upstate New York for a summer of "rehabilitation", aka, shoveling cow manure. But, Lex stumbles into a world that no one but a select few knows exists and discovers that her "prison sentence" is actually the best thing that could have happened to her.

Living in the town of Croak, Lex discovers that she has the unique ability to Kill individuals when their time of death has come. Uneasy with the responsibility at first, she eventually comes to not only accept what she can do but realizes that she enjoys it because it finally gives her a sense of purpose. But when unexplained deaths begin to occur, Lex's gratefulness at having found a place where she feels she truly belongs (along with the fact that she won't have to shovel cow manure all summer) is short-lived and becomes channeled into stark determination to discover who is behind the mysterious deaths before one of her newfound friends or someone she holds even more dear gets hurt.


Lex Bartleby is a very strong-willed, angry teenager that is trying to make sense of why she is the way she is. She's intelligent and knows that her fits of unprovoked rage aren't normal, but she doesn't know how to release that anger except to punch anything or anyone that gets too close. Some would consider her loud, obnoxious, opinionated, and cruel (and all of these characteristics do describe her), but she actually does possess feelings, insecurities, and vulnerabilities hidden beneath the tough, loud-mouthed facade.


Croak is a unique town that isn't exactly invisible to normal humans, but it possesses the ability to make those humans forget all about it and it's inhabitants once they leave it's boundaries. With streets like Dead End and Slain Road, and businesses called Dead Meat and Corpps', it's a full play-on the whole concept of death that I thought was a nice touch. And the authors' description of the Ether that the Grims have to travel through to reach each appointed death was so surreal and fascinating. And I loved the addition of the Atrium for the Afterlife. Just the entire world that the author created was fascinating in and of itself and was woven so well with the plot. Major kudos to the author for creating such a unique and intriguing world!

Overall Impression:

Where do I even begin? I absolutely loved this book! It truly was so different from the typical YA paranormal genre that I'm still running the whole book through my head and grinning. I think the author took a risk in creating such an in-your-face, obnoxious heroine as Lex, but it was a risk worth taking. Lex just fit in so well with the chaos that was going on around her, that she became part of the chaos. And Driggs, her partner, was an absolutely perfect counterpart to her. In his own strange way, he managed to keep Lex grounded without completely smothering her or ruining the person that she was. Not to mention Uncle Mort - I totally loved that guy and wished I had an eccentric uncle like him!

As for the story, it flowed really well and kept me wanting to turn the page to see what would happen next. There was so much going on that I know I'm going to have to read this book again to make sure I didn't miss anything! And I loved the various activities that the author came up with for the Juniors to do to have fun. The interactions between Lex and her fellow Junior Grims, as well as her interactions with the different adults, were well developed and a hoot to read!

After all the chaos and intrigue throughout the story, the ending was somewhat of a shock and very sad. But it was a great ending to segway into the next book in this series. And I really can't wait for the next book to come out...I want to know what happens next with Lex, Driggs, Uncle Mort, and everyone else in Croak!

So, for anyone that likes YA Paranormal and likes stories about reapers, definitely check this one out! It has such a unique take on the reaper sub-genre that it is well-worth the read!

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Quotes Wendy Liked

Gina Damico
“For a moment she could have sworn she was standing in one of those history-comes-alive museums--the kind that feature animatronic robots, the narration stylings of James Earl Jones, and the sort of exhibits that invade children's nightmares for years to come. But instead of a cyborgish John Wilkes Booth discharging his deadly bullet into the back of a plastic Lincoln's head, a very real version of the assassin was engaged in a furious arm-wrestling match with Elvis Presley.

Lincoln was watching the tussle, amused. "Come on, John," he said. "You can do better than that."

"He's all talk," Elvis whispered back.

"Silence!" roared Booth. "I'm trying to concentrate!"

Lincoln rolled his eyes.”
Gina Damico, Croak

Gina Damico
“Let me tell you something right now, something that I don't want you ever to forget: Starbucks is an abomination."
Lex was speechless. She now believed that there was no way in a million years this man could possibly be a blood relative.”
Gina Damico, Croak

Gina Damico
“Seriously?" she said with a glance of skepticism. Driggs and this nerdlinger? "You guys are best friends?"
Ferbus looked up briefly to give her a smug look. "We prefer the term heterosexual life mates.”
Gina Damico, Croak

Gina Damico
“Let me go!" She tore off a mirror and brandished it in his face. "I mean it! I don't want to go to your godforsaken hellbarn, you retarded psycho farmer!”
Gina Damico, Croak

Reading Progress

04/21/2012 page 22
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