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The Sweet Dead Life

(Sweet Dead Life #1)

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  577 ratings  ·  132 reviews
I found out two things today. One, I think I’m dying. And two, my brother is a perv.

So begins the diary of 14-year-old Jenna Samuels, who is having a very bad eighth-grade year. Her single mother spends all day in bed. Dad vanished when she was eight. Her 16-year-old brother, Casey, tries to hold together what’s left of the family by working two after-school jobs— difficul
Hardcover, 244 pages
Published May 14th 2013 by Soho Teen
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Average rating 3.43  · 
Rating details
 ·  577 ratings  ·  132 reviews

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Apr 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Kurt by: Amazon Vine
This is a charming and engaging story of a tough-on-the-outside teenager as she adapts to her brother's transformation from a stoner to an angel. It's definitely geared to a teen audience, with just enough mild profanity to keep teenagers interested without slipping into anything too vulgar. It's not a sappy romance, and all of the supernatural elements are plausible within the context of the book.

The central mysteries are not tough to figure out (the book cover reveals the secret of the brothe
Jul 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Yes, I love it because it's mine! And also because it's funny and bittersweet and set in Texas. And I hope everyone enjoys it. ...more
La Coccinelle
Aug 17, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: middle-grade
I'm getting too old for this.

I could not connect with this book. It tries to be sweet and cute and entertaining, but by the end of it, I just found it annoying. The main issue I had is that this book doesn't know what it wants to be: middle grade or young adult. Jenna is fourteen and a straight-A student in the eighth grade, something that the author really should have thought about a little more; I spent much of the first half of the book wondering why she'd been held back a year. I eventually
Jun 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book was really adorable. It wasn't even on my radar until Joy met my mom while waiting on line for the Justin Cronin signing of The Twelve. When I went to join my mom on line, she made me promise to stop by her signing of this book even though I had never heard of her before. (Not I own the first in her Anastasia series.) I'm so glad that I didn't skip out on it, and I instead chose to go and get this book.

It was really cute. I ordinarily wouldn't go for something about a 14 year old becau
Jul 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
How can I articulate how amazing this book is? It's the book I never realized I was missing in my life. First off, the protagonist. Not only does Jenna possess a wickedly hilarious voice, but she is also thirteen. That's right. She breaks the typical YA mold by being on the younger spectrum, and she works it super well. (Maybe her age changes to fourteen though? I'm a little thrown by how the description here has her older.) Jenna is pretty much all you could ask for in a protagonist. I loved be ...more
Mar 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What an unexpected page-turner. Clever engaging mystery that strung me along to the end - I HAD to finish it in one sitting, I HAD to know what was going on. I enjoyed the turn of events as Preble revealed the story. Funny, sad, heartbreaking, warm, happy moments with the characters who snagged me into the story right from the beginning.
Aug 14, 2012 rated it liked it
I'll admit, angel books are not normally my "thing." I'm wary of them because they tend to be a bit too self-righteous for me. THE SWEET DEAD LIFE is a refreshing relief from the typical angel book, in that you won't find characters with a superiority complex or overly-preachy moral messages that make you want to chuck the book at the wall in disgust. No, instead, you'll find angels (and non-angels) that smoke pot, cuss like sailors, masturbate, and generally behave like, well, humans. This is w ...more
Mar 25, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Sweet Dead Life is a mix between YA and Middle Grade. Forteen year old, sweet and funny (sometimes downright hilarious) Jenna Samuels believes she is dying, and with good reason. Jenna is very very sick. She thinks the worse that she may be dying and without being able to pay to see a real doctor she knows death is inevitable. Her pot-smoking brother is doing everything he can to make money for treatment. While her Mother is lost in her own world is misery, heartbreak, and despair because of ...more
Apr 12, 2013 rated it liked it
The synopsis for this book is pretty convincing and I was sold as soon as I read it. We don’t read as much about brothers and sisters as we should or perhaps I should, possibly because I have two older brothers and I’ve lived the experience in real life and do not seek to repeat it in fictional life. Big brothers are often gross, coarse and mean. They are also unexpectedly sweet and caring, protective and warm. They scare away prospective boyfriends with a glower and have the weirdest tastes in ...more
Feb 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
It's really a 3.5, and it may change over time. Jenna is a smart eighth grader with the mouth of a sailor, courtesy of her long-missing father. She was once a good athlete, daughter and sister, but her mother has spent the last 8 months in bed, her brother Casey quit the football team to carry the financially and emotionally depleted household with two minimum wage parts-time jobs, surviving through grit and pot, and Jenna, well, Jenna thinks she's dying. She can barely walkout of her house, and ...more
Dana Wright
Joy Preble is an author that I am always confident in. Her Dreaming Anastasia series wowed me with it's mythology and legends and now this wonderful book is doing the same. The Sweet Dead Life is a totally different read and I love it! The funny and quirky voice of Jenna Samuels, the main character, is just perfect. She is a kid with problems, just like most of us. Except she has some doozies! Her mom is kind of missing in action, her dad has literally disappeared, her brother is dead and still ...more
Jun 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Jenna is sick all the time. Her mom is no help. She just sleeps all the time. Jenna’s father has disappeared and her brother is a pot head. Things get even odder when Jenna collapses and her brother drives her to the hospital. On the way they get into a car accident. Jenna awakes to find her brother is an “Angel” and he has been sent back to protect Jenna. Someone is poisoning her.

This is a really quick read. This book did have some comedic humor to it. This was nice. I am always in the mood fo
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 7d-l-a
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: rad, personal-library
I enjoyed this book from cover to cover. I did not read the synopsis so I wasn't quite sure what to think of Amber or what became of Casey but it doesn't take too long to find out. That's part of why I liked this book so much. It was written in the form of a journal and its fast pace kept the story going. So, let me get to what this book is about.

It's the story of Jenna, an 8th grade Texas girl from Houston and her family. Her dad mysteriously disappears, her mom has fallen ill, her brother Case
Jodi Pomerleau
Jul 16, 2019 rated it liked it
I didn't read the blurb at all so had no expectations of the hint of what was to come. I was really enjoying the story, and then, the car crashes and the story goes from engaging and cute to something else....Whoa....Casey is an "a-word". Maybe I should have expected it from the title of the book, but I thought it was going to be more of a coming of age story. I was wrong. From there, I felt it went downhill and became pretty implausible. The "bad guy" was pretty easy to figure out, an ...more
May 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Jenna Samuels is just a teenager trying to get through 8th grade and keep her family together. Her dad up and left them years ago, and their mother has started to become more and more detached and brainless lately. Even Jenna has started to become sicker and one night had a seizure that makes her older brother rush them off to the hospital. Along the way they get in an accident and her brother doesn’t make it, and Jenna starts finding out she might be poisoned.
It’s a wild mystery that’s kinda ha
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good supernatural YA

I enjoyed this book. It was really more of a YA-lite read, more froth than depth, but I enjoy the light read on occasion. The heroine was a likable teen girl. I wanted to bop her pot-head brother upside the head a lot. I thought Amber was a cool character. There wasn’t a lot of time spent on the peripheral characters, like Mom, Dad, BFF, etc, so I thought they all came out slightly card-board cut-outish. I liked the concept. I don’t know that I will continue the series, but I
Jessica Pratt
Sep 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2018
Good story, good twist. Could have cut back on the same 2 vocab words being used over and over and over.
Harry Delong
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

A world of lost memory, angels, drug experiments, missing people and during characters. Can't get much more unusual than this. It works.
Review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7

I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review

The Sweet Dead Life by Joy Preble is a very quick and quirky read that features a witty, and slightly neurotic 14 year-old protagonist. The storyline is considerably original, while the mystery promises to intrigue the reader until the conclusion. Preble's novel is a great light read for a hot summer day.

Jenna, the protagonist, tells us the story of how her brother became her guardi
Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews)
You may also read my review here:

Jenna Samuels is surely dying. After all, she has a rash on the bottoms of her feet, she can hardly walk ten feet without getting out of breath, her blood cell count is wonky, she’s always cold and thirsty, and her pee is green. Doctors can’t figure out what’s wrong and being fourteen is hard enough as it is without an unexplained illness as an added complication. Her brother, Casey, is a stoner, but he did quick sports to
Tabitha (Bows & Bullets Reviews)
The review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews

Jenna Samuels’ eighth grade year isn’t going exactly how she planned. She’s dying and the doctor’s cannot figure out what’s wrong with her. Then she has a seizure and on the way to the hospital, gets into a car wreck where she is sure she sees her brother die. But when she wakes up in the hospital, Casey is just fine, better in fact. He’s hair and skin have visibly improved and he’s belly has magically transformed into six pack abs.
Five years ago, Jenna Samuel’s father disappeared without a trace, and for the past five years she, her brother, and her mother have just barely been getting by. Her mother won’t get out of bed and her brother becomes dependent on marijuana to get through the day. Jenna has a hard time holding it together. Not to mention the fact, she believes she is dying. When a car accident changes her life drastically, and her brother becomes her guardian angel, they begin to unravel the mystery surr
Jennifer Clausen-greene
About the Book:

"I found out two things today: One, I think I'm dying. And two, my brother is a perv."

So begins the diary of 14-year-old Jenna Samuels, who is having a very bad eighth-grade year. Her single mother spends all day in bed. Dad vanished when she was eight. Her sixteen-year-old brother, Casey, tries to hold together what's left of the family by working two after-school jobs-difficult, as he's stoned all the time. To make matters worse, Jenna is sick. When she collapses one day, Casey
Judyth (Geeky Reading)

This was a rather pleasant read, and it surprised me by how much.

Jenna believes she’s dying, although she has no idea why, has been to the doctor several times with no results, and is sure of several things that it’s not. Her brother is an angel, literally, because he died when they were in a car crash (on the way to the hospital, actually). Her mother is depressed and is practically not around, hiding in her room all the time. Her father disappeared several years ago, with no trace of h
I was literally laughing out loud by the end of page 1 of this book! It has a really strong start, with a main character who has that snark that I love so much. However, I finished the book slightly conflicted.

The Sweet Dead Life reads as a series of journal entries by the main character, Jenna. She's 14, in 8th grade, and possibly dying. This journal (this book) is her way of recounting events that transpire. Jenna has been sick and getting sicker for a few weeks now. Unfortunately, her mom is
May 08, 2013 rated it liked it
'm not really sure what I was expecting when I picked up this book. I haven't read a ton of angel books and most of the ones I've heard of are romances. This novel is about a brother and a sister so romance really wasn't part of the equation. After finishing it I'm still not really sure about this one. It centers around Jenna, an eighth grader with a world of problems. Her father is missing, her mother doesn't leave the house and her older brother is a pot head. When she and her brother are in a ...more
May 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Such an original, funny and sad, mysterious story - a take on angels like no other!

Jenna has a lot going on in her life right now - her father has abandoned the family, her mother seems to be in a depression and hardly ever leaves her bed, and her older brother, Casey, is your typical teenage boy that tries to keep things together the best way that a teenage boy can. Which can be pretty difficult at times since Jenna is always sick with some sort of mystery illness that the doctors can never f
Stephanie Redwine
Apr 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Sweet Dead Life is told from the point of view of an 8th grade girl named Jenna Samuels. Jenna’s family is falling apart and she is too sick to do anything about it. Her father left five years earlier with nothing more than a short note and a coupon to a Mexican restaurant to explain his absence. Her brother, Casey, is left picking up the pieces as Jenna has a mysterious illness that no doctor can explain and his mother never leaves the house and is slowly losing her memory. After a car acc ...more
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