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It's a Wonderful Death

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  980 ratings  ·  266 reviews
Seventeen-year-old RJ always gets what she wants. So when her soul is accidentally collected by a distracted Grim Reaper, somebody in the afterlife better figure out a way to send her back from the dead or heads will roll. But in her quest for mortality, she becomes a pawn in a power struggle between an overzealous archangel and Death Himself. The tribunal presents her wit ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 6th 2015 by Sky Pony Press
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Sarah Schmitt I'd like to think so... I know it's not a horcrux and it won't kill you or trap your soul, so there's that.…moreI'd like to think so... I know it's not a horcrux and it won't kill you or trap your soul, so there's that.(less)
Sarah Schmitt Officially, it's a fantasy. But I like to think of it as a contemporary with a fantasy twist.…moreOfficially, it's a fantasy. But I like to think of it as a contemporary with a fantasy twist.(less)

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Average rating 3.78  · 
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 ·  980 ratings  ·  266 reviews

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Sarah Elizabeth
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Perseus/PGW/Legato and Edelweiss.)

“Stop it! This isn’t fair, and you know it. You can’t erase my future because you don’t think my past was good enough.”

This was a YA story about a girl who died too early.

RJ really knew how to complain, I wasn’t surprised that someone called her a spoiled princess because that was exactly how she came across! She did improve a bit as the book went on, but she still
Paula M
Sep 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

"Don‘t discount your importance to the world. Each moment of your life has a purpose, even the ones you think don't matter. And don't forget to make the unexpected choice. You never know how that one moment can transform your life"



Wow! Reading It's a Wonderful Death is such an adventure! And adventure that I know I'll remember forever. There's a lot in this book that I didn't expect but that turned out to be such a good thing. This better have a sequel because
Thank you Edelweiss for providing me a PDF version of this novel. This review is my honest opinion.

I'd like to think of myself as a perceptive individual, especially when it comes to books. So, I was expecting a lot from one of my Top 5 Most Anticipated Books of 2015 and It's a Wonderful Death didn't disappoint. In fact, it surpassed every expectation I had for it.

It breaks my heart to know that this book was at BEA 2015 and almost none of the hauls I've seen has this book in their vast collecti
I really enjoyed reading It's a Wonderful Death; however, it did take me a little while to get fully into it. Some parts of the book just felt like it was moving slow, and others just didn't hold much weight for me. But to that, I would say that overall this was a fun, entertaining, and pretty light read, that had some heart-touching moments--I may have gotten a little choked up at some parts--and also some laugh out loud scenes as well. What truly makes this book is the protagonist, RJ, and her ...more
Kate Ormand
A Christmas Carol style read with a Mean Girls twist? Yes please! This ended up being so much more than I expected, though. It delivered on the humour and fun, but also had some really heartwarming and thoughtful moments. The story is told with a lightness that doesn't detract from its subject matter. Memorable and clever, with a clear message at its core. ...more
Arch Bala
Do you believe in the afterlife? Do you believe in Heaven? In Hell? What about Angels? Well, this book surely has it all when it comes to these things. I’m not really good when it comes to discussing such stuff seriously but these are the things I’ve grown up with hearing from my friends, family and just about everywhere. I thought the blurb was interesting and it sounds real fun.

When seventeen-year-old mean girl RJ found herself in the afterlife by being accidentally collected by a distracted G
Jessica (The Psychotic Nerd)
This and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd

I received an ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

RJ has just been told that she's to have a long life when she dies. It's a complete accident. The Grim Reaper wasn't even supposed to collect her, but now she's on her way to the afterlife. She tells everyone there how she's supposed to be alive, but everyone says it's just not worth it to send her back. It's eventually decided that she can go back if she goe
This book is like the awkward love child of A Christmas Carol and Before I Fall. It features a queen bee teenage girl dying before her time, and having to relive three moments of her life and change the outcomes of those moments to prove that she's a person worth sending back to Earth to live out the rest of her life. So the concept was a pretty good one.

The execution, however? Not so much. RJ was a pretty awful character. The set up took way too long. The whole thing was RIDICULOUSLY Christian
Sarah (thegirltheycalljones)
Mar 12, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: puh-leeze, stupid-mc
In the words of the MC herself : "Wow".
DNFed around 70%, after skimming a lot.

This is completely insufferable. Despite the interesting and important topics this book approaches like bullying, learning to be honest with yourself and be able to face the truth, learning that growing some balls to do the right thing is necessary, that acts have consequences, redemption and well...death, I was completely unable to take it seriously.
The writing is very fanction-like and tries so hard to be fun and wit
Aug 20, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1-star
So to start off my review we’re going to have storytime! I’m not sure if you guys know this, but I’m a writer as well as a reader. I’ve been writing from a young age, and when I was about ten I had this one character I was always jazzed up to write about. Her name was Kaori, and her personality was basically that she was the most obnoxious person in the world. I thought she was an absolute riot, basically because every time someone talked to her I got to write whatever the rudest thing that popp ...more
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Can I just say I loved this book!!! So much! Yes...she was a mean girl, but everyone deserves a second chance and a chance to redeem themselves. So good!
Kim at Divergent Gryffindor
Actual rating: 4.5

It's a Wonderful Death is by far the best book I've read about heaven and hell and there wasn't even romance in it! For those people who know me, you should know that I rarely read books that contain no romance at all, and it's even rarer that for me to like those books. Clearly, this book is an exception.

It's a Wonderful Death is about a girl named RJ who was mistakenly collected by a Grim Reaper when it was not time for her death yet. RJ, a queen bee in her school who was use
Feb 01, 2016 marked it as d-n-f
DNF @ about 20%. Not in the mood for this kind of book and I doubt I will read the rest of it in the future.
Melissa (thereaderandthechef)
Peeps, I don't know if I should cry or laugh or shake my fist at the sky. This book, gosh, this book was so awesome. It's the kind of book that YOU KNOW right from the start that you'll enjoy and will probably remember for the rest of your life. It's sooooo beautiful. And funny and a million other great things.

Why I loved It's A Wonderful Death:

1. RJ. This girl is awesome. A handful to be honest, and at times so darn frustrating, but she's cool nonetheless. Since RJ was reaped by accident, she n
Caro [The Book Rogue]
Why I picked this story up:

A snarky heroine in some serious trouble, Death Himself in a Hawaii shirt, a power-hungry archangel, a first row seat to the mysterious inner workings of the afterlife -- tribunal style, the general chance of a do-over to make a life worth saving? SOLD! Seriously, how could I possibly resist that?!

What I found:

I want to get Schmitt's words right back at her: "humbling, but not preachy". It's a Wonderful Death is a truly dramatic, tragic, touching story about how the ch
Jul 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Thanks so much to Edelweiss and Sky Pony Press for providing me a copy of this book to review!

This book far exceeded my expectations! When I read the description I thought it would be a fun book to read. Man was I wrong! Not that it didn’t have it moment’s, but it was filled with so much emotions as well! It wasn’t just a fun read it was an emotional one that left me smiling and crying, and I’m just going to love it forever! It really left me thinking about life and how people’s actions and dec
Yzabel Ginsberg
[I received a copy of this book through Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.]

Cute in some ways, although I really couldn't get along with the main character, which is my main gripe with this novel: I get that RJ had to start with room to change in terms of personality and actions, since otherwise there wouldn't have been such a fuss about whether she should be allowed to go back to living... but she was seriously annoying. What she considered witty and snarky comebacks were ridiculous an
It’s interesting how some three star books are “good” three stars, and some three star books are “bad” three stars. This is definitely the case of a “good” three star. It’s a book that I genuinely enjoyed, and one that was funny, deep, and alternately light hearted yet heart aching throughout. I suppose this is the part where I admit to you, friends, that I have been in such a terrible reading slump for well over a month now. Nothing (other than Cara McKenna’s excellent romance novels it seems) ...more
Jan 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cute, funny and kind of inspiring.

(The afterlife seemed a little ridiculous, but I liked the moral).

Everything you do has a consequence. Good, bad, indifferent, there is always a price to pay. The question is: who pays? Sometimes making the right choice means you might lose something that seems important at the time.
Lauren R.
Huh, that wasn't what I expected. It was pretty comparable to a few other similar books I read but I did feel less emotional connection to the characters. The story was REALLY interesting, complex, and entertaining. Definitely glad I read it! ...more
Apr 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: paranormal, read-2016
I'm glad for the ending even if it was a bit cheesy ...more
May 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: drama, novels
Oh my gosh....

Where to start?

Positive points:
- The characters. They are heart-warming, sweet, sometime means but never vicious. Most of them warm up after a good debate.
- We jump straight into the story.
- The main character goes from mean girl to GOOD PERSON. And it is NOT CLICHÉ. I could've cried! It was so well done! The transition was so smooth.
- The Afterlife actually seems amazing.
- This book actually took some pain away from losing people that were dear to me. It made me smile, and crie
Ash Rocketship
Mar 27, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
This was initially conceptually interesting, but the execution was really bad with periods of middling and aggressively awful. It repeatedly set up potentially interesting characters and plot elements and then let them fizzle out unexploited. RJ is a hackneyed one-note ~mean girl who you end up dejectedly cheering for only because the people around her are acting like bigger assholes than she is, which I think is almost always a waste of my energy as a reader. It's super preachy and weirdly obse ...more
Nicole M. Hewitt
Sep 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.5/5 Stars

This review and many more can be found on my blog: Feed Your Fiction Addiction

It's a Wonderful Death is a fun, snarky take on the Afterlife.

What fed my addiction:

The humor in this book was perfect for me - just the type of tongue-in-cheek, snarky humor that I love. I always say this with this type of book, but I'll say it again - the humor reminds me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which for me is pretty much instant perfection. There was more of this type of humor at the beginnin
Jul 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I decided to picked up a book that's light and short in between reading The Six of Crows but as soon as a started It’s A Wonderful Death, I just can’t stop. So, obviously I finished this in just 3 hours. This was such a surprise good read for me. I didn’t expect to like this as much as I do. As I said I just wanted a breather from reading such a gritty fantasy that is Six of Crows but I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. It’s light,thoughtful and funny considering it tackles about death and second ...more
Jennifer  Ricketts (Donnie Darko Girl)
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. My stop on the blog tour can be found at Donnie Darko Girl.

You know how there are books with gorgeous covers that immediately attract your attention, so you check out the synopsis, and you're like, I've gotta read this book! It sounds too awesome to miss! And you're so excited, you even forget how beautiful the cover is because you're looking forward to diving inside to the story?

That's how IT'S A WONDERFUL DEATH was for me. I co
Oct 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Original review at

I received this book for free from Edelweiss via YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

♦I loved the show Dead Like Me featuring a snarky teenage grim reaper. So I was happily surprised that It’s a Wonderful Death reminded me so much of it. Not so much in the story, but in the tone. RJ and Georgia are both unapologetic about not liking their post-living situations and their f
A. Flores
Jun 16, 2016 rated it liked it
I went into this book because it seemed like a fun read, the kind of book you read when you don't really want to commit, a no-strings-attached kind of story.

I was not prepared for what it really turned out to be.

The beginning of the book was slow, a bit boring even; but it got better and better. The character started out as a whiny brat, but as the story went on, I grew to like her a lot. Madeline and Daniel were great characters and I really enjoyed them. The whole Sally and James story was als
Kristen Lippert-Martin
Feb 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite movies of all time is "Defending Your Life" and this reminded me of that quite a bit. I love the concept of the after-life being more-or-less like a continuation of what goes on back on earth -- with all the strife, differences of opinions, and political stuggles -- except with more at stake and super cool angels.

So this was just my kind of thing -- full of snark, heart, and contemplation about the meaning of life! "It's a Wonderful Death" will get you thinking about what you
Jun 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh, Terry Pratchett, you have spoiled me. Any DEATH character who DOESN'T SPEAK IN ALL CAPS just somehow pales in comparison. That aside, this version of Death Himself isn't all bad (the Grim Reapers get better lines, though). RJ's fight to correct her untimely death presents her in an unpleasant light and readers may actually root for her to lose her appeal. No spoilers, but if (like me) you like one of the death-based books (Denton Little's Deathdate or the Dead Is... series) this is one of th ...more
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Sarah J. Schmitt is a K-8 school librarian and Youth Service Professional for Teens at a public library who, in addition to planning a variety of events, enjoys opening up the world of books to reluctant readers. She runs a teen writing program that combines Skype visits from well-known authors and screenwriters and critique group style feedback.

Prior to immersing herself in the world of the writ

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297 likes · 192 comments
“Life is a series of decisions that define us.” 4 likes
“no matter what the Grim Reaper says about not meaning to collect my soul, it doesn’t change the fact that I’m looking down at my lifeless body while my friends stare at each other. Hello? Call 911. Or maybe someone could start doing CPR. Idiots. “Come with me,” the Reaper insists, tugging on my arm. “There isn’t much time.” I shake him off and shoot my best withering glare in his direction. “I don’t think so. You saw what she did. You were coming for her, not me. She’s the one you should be hauling out of here.” And then he shrugs his shoulders. Is he kidding? He rips my soul from my body and the next minute acts like I’m asking to change the station on the car radio.” 1 likes
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