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Once Dead, Twice Shy

(Madison Avery #1)

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  10,836 ratings  ·  907 reviews
My name is Madison Avery, and I'm here to tell you that there's more out there than you can see, hear, or touch. Because I'm there. Seeing it. Touching it. Living it.

Madison's prom was killer—literally. For some reason she's been targeted by a dark reaper—yeah, that kind of reaper—intent on getting rid of her, body and soul. But before the reaper could finish the job, Madi
Hardcover, 232 pages
Published May 26th 2009 by HarperCollins (first published May 22nd 2009)
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Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Aug 19, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the worst books I have read in a long, long time. And that is really saying something.

Possibly Harrison's biggest faux pas is assuming anyone who picks this book up has automatically read the short story she wrote for Prom Nights From Hell. Even though I have, it was a long time ago and the book just threw me in the deep end. It reads like the third book in a series instead of the first. Not fun.

Also, Harrison really, really sucks at teen-speak. What American teenage boy refers to
Rain Misoa
Feb 22, 2011 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Younger teens and people wanting a short read
Recommended to Rain by: Library
I really hate to do this to Kim Harrison's book because I am not one to give out one star ratings that much. But this book was just terrible. It took me a few days to finish because I was just not feeling this book. It was very hard to get into and a bit confusing since I didn't read Harrion's short story that's in Prom Nights from Hell. I don't know if it would have made a difference or not but seeing as how this book was written, I doubt that.

The writing was very juvenile. Harrison wrote this
Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller
[Trilogy Review - No Spoilers] If you can overlook a few flaws, the Madison Avery trilogy is a fun, light YA read.

However, I had a difficult time following my own advice. I have a lot of nitpicky things to talk about in this review and unfortunately, not a lot of positive takeaways.

Once Dead, Twice Shy, the first book, had a few glaring weaknesses – the most prominent being the main character’s propensity for making bad decisions. I don’t mind it when characters make mistakes – flaws and an occa
Mar 06, 2009 rated it did not like it
By page two, it's clear the author would rather mutter/complain/protest than use the word said.

"Don't be so scared of said," I exclaimed at that point, and then closed the book.
Mar 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
I'm not impressed.

Spoiler's ahead.....

Madison dies her prom night, but she steals an amulet off her killer, which somehow keeps her halfway alive. The amulet gives her a body. The Reaper she stole the amulet off of is now after her. Throw in a semi-love interest, a guardian angel, a dark reaper, a light reaper, timekeepers, etc. and you've got what would seem to be an interesting story. And the story is okay, but there is a disconnect (imo) with this author's writing. It's really matter of fact
LIA  Kh.
I really disappointed with this book. I'm a hollow series fans, and this book didn't do justice towards Kim.

The storyline actually unique but confusing. About a light reaper and dark reaper, turns out it is about 'choice' or 'fate'. And above that there's a time keeper in earth to maintain all the circumstances on about die or not. Well confusing riiiiight.

Madison have a similarities with Rachel, and this is the big disappointment, different book different story different audiences but still h
Mar 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this story. In general we have certain expectations of "good and evil". A light reaper and dark reaper would fall into their respective categories right? the story unfolds you find that not everything is as it appears at first glance. Just like in real life, there are shades of gray that the characters have to wrestle with when choosing which side their allegiance falls.
Jan 22, 2011 added it
Shelves: did-not-finish
It saddens me to throw this one into the DNF graveyard, especially considering how much I love Kim Harrison's Dead Witch Walking series. Unfortunately this book opened up right before an action sequence without providing much motivation for giving a crap about the characters or their intentions. By page 60 (out of 232) there still wasn't much to keep my interest. Writing, characters, world building ~ wasn't up to par with Kim Harrison's abilities. I considered sticking it out until Madison was g ...more
Apr 02, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Pierwszą i drugą część dostałam swego czasu na urodziny i najwyższa pora je przeczytać po kilku latach leżenia tych książek na półce.

Zmarnowany potencjał, ale tego raczej się spodziewałam po długo nieczytanych młodzieżówkach. Historia była na swój sposób oryginalna, lecz niezbyt dobrze zrealizowana i na pewno
można ją było fajnie ubogacić. Postać Madison była znośna, ale zahaczała o to, co dotyka większość nastolatek w tego typu książkach: dwie lewe ręce i liczne przeprosiny. Chociaż przyznaję,
Brooke ♥booklife4life♥

Basic Info

Pages/Length: 6hrs and 3mins
Genre: Young Adult; Fantasy

At A Glance

Love Triangle/Insta Love/Obsession?:
Cliff Hanger: eh.
Triggers: n/a
Rating: 1.5 stars

Score Sheet
All out of ten

Cover: 7
Plot: 5
Characters: 4
World Building: 3
Flow: 4
Series Congruity: n/a
Writing: 5
Ending: 4

Total: 4

In Dept

Best Part:
It ended!
Worst Part: "Spin off" not explained well.
Thoughts Had: What?!; I'm so lost.


Continuing the Series:
Recommending: no.

Short Review: So i really should have re
Jan 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Reading a couple of reviews about this book, I really didn’t know if I was going to enjoy this one. Almost every review begun with if you haven’t read “Prom Nights from Hell” you are seriously missing some details. They where right, but that didn’t mean I didn’t like it. I seriously LOVED it.

Madison is death. Yep, we get that. Not going to give much details but she was murdered by a dark timekeeper. But instead going to live her life in the afterlife she stole his amulet. With this amulet she ha
Feb 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
What a great read:

There once was a girl, Madison was her name,
After she got scythed back she came.
To change the world; and reapers and keepers of time
And blurr the lines between good and evil and sublime...

Still finding her way and how to do what's right
She's not succeded yet, but trying with all her might...

Imagine you wake up in a morgue and know you have died and you are only around as a solid, non breathing being (albeit without heartbeat) thanks to having stolen an amulet from the guy who s
Jeff Young
Jul 17, 2009 rated it liked it
It's Kim so I had to read it - the background of this story is pencilled in as we go along and it makes it a bumpy start. You can tell this book was based off of a short story and unfortunately while you get most of the story as recollections, I almost wish it was the first chapter, that would have made things smoother. Having said that, this is the usual round of characters including a cherubim who is annoyingly similar to Jenks. Its only in the last chapter when the interesting chaos of senior ...more
May 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: borrowed
---This review is especially for readers who don't know if they should read this or not---

*Dramatic speech effect*

There are some books in this world which you already know its a waste of time and money to buy or read them, you don't even mark them 'to-read' on goodreads but somehow or the other you get that book, through friends, though library in a most unexpected way and then you are like, "Pfft! Lets just over with you now."
Yup, thats exactly what happened me.

When I got this from my friend, I
Mar 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
I give this novel two stars, with indulgence. Contrary to all the good I've heard about Harrison's fiction, this attempt just doesn't quite rise to the task. The narrative is confusing and lacking in any sort of pacing, the characters aren't very engaging and the moral of the story is too convoluted to be interesting.

Madison, who died in a scene that is only referred to but never actually depicted, is the stereotypical, clueless heroine whose biggest concern is in balancing an unwanted angelic
Jan 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Kim Harrison's starting a young adult series! This first one comes out in May.

My review:

Kim Harrison is the author of the very popular adult paranormal fiction series known as "The Hollows" (it starts with "Dead Witch Walking" and the most recent addition is "The Outlaw Demon Wails") She's trying her funny charm and fiendish imagination on the teenage crowd now, still dealing with what I at least would call paranormal beings--angels. It's a very complex world full of Time Keepers (humans who can
Apr 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars

It's got an interesting/different sort of plot going with the Reaper thing, but it starts out in a fairly confusing manner. You sort of get dropped into the story midway through, which is normally a pretty good way to get my attention, but for some reason it didn't work for me with this book. By the time I figured out what was going on, the story was basically over.
Also, I didn't realize this was a YA book. That's my fault, however. Note to self: READ THE BLURB

I'm not trying to trash th
This was a YA PNR novel & not bad for the type, but not really my cup of tea. I should have checked it out before diving into it, but I like Harrison's Rachel Morgan series & thought it would be more of the same. It wasn't being intended for a much younger audience & would probably appeal to girls more than guys.

It had a neat type of 'magic' for lack of a better term. No vampires & werewolves, but a heavenly war between predestination & free will. An interesting subject in t
Jennifer Jensen (Literally Jen)
I absolutely adore Kim Harrison's urban fantasy series set in the fictional Hollows and starring witch Rachel Morgan, living vampire Ivy, and pixie Jenks. So when I found out Kim was going to start a brand new series for the YA crowd, I was thrilled. I've been reading her books since the very beginning (the high fantasy series written under the name Dawn Cook) and she has never failed to delight and amuse me.

I'm not sure why I wasn't as enamored with "Once Dead, Twice Shy", which is the first no
Jacob Proffitt
Good book. Kind of basic in setup, but the characters shine for all that.

Madison Avery is dead and has been for a while. She managed to snag an artifact from the reaper who killed her that keeps most people from noticing—including her dad. Her main motivation throughout the book is to get her body back, though she's not really clear what she'd do with it once she gets it. Josh Daniels is a truly nice guy that manages to get caught up in Madison's afterlife.

The dynamic between Madison and Josh is
Well, I read 155 pages and made it to the "final battle/confrontation"... or at least the penultimate confrontation and decided I would just stop right there. The reason...the only thing that compelled me to start reading this book is that Harrison is coming to the store I work at. And this is in my section... And from everything I was reading online about this particular book this is not the book to start with (and it's short!).

Don't get me wrong, I am intrigued with her writing... it's really
Tattered Cover Book Store
Jackie says:

Kim Harrison is the author of the very popular adult paranormal fiction series known as "The Hollows" (it starts with "Dead Witch Walking" and the most recent addition is "The Outlaw Demon Wails") She's trying her funny charm and fiendish imagination on the teenage crowd now, still dealing with what I at least would call paranormal beings--angels. It's a very complex world full of Time Keepers (humans who can bend time and control angels), Dark Reapers (angels who scythe humans when
J.D. Stroube
I was a little disappointed with the way the book began. In the synopsis, it talks about a reaper coming for her, and her stealing the amulet. I thought it would be part of the story, but instead the book takes place after she already took the amulet. Most of the characters were one dimensional, as though they were insubstantial. Through most of the book I felt like I was balancing on a teeter totter. Part of me enjoyed the story, and the other part of me was become more and more angry with the ...more
Holly Booms Walsh
Sadly, most of this book was formulaic (emo heroine who constantly refers to her tights, dip-dyed hair, and skull earrings as if they make her unusual and better than the "cool kids"), hot guy friend that stands up to the cool kids for her, parents that practically never show up in the story, etc.). What wasn't formulaic was pretty interesting - a world of Dark and Light Reapers, angels, and the classic story of good versus evil retold in the frame of Fate versus Free Choice with lots of grey mo ...more
Elaine Carass
Aug 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-version
I loved it. All of Kim Harrison's female leads are always strong, independent women and I love that.
I liked Madison's attitude from the very beginning and was glad she remained strong all the way to the end.
I loved the fact that she seemed to embrace all her differences and didn't try to fit in with the in crowd.
I found her a little whinny at times but then what 17 year old isn't.
Grace remineded me so much of Jenks but I will always prefer Jenks.

The story was faced paced, straight in there from
The premise is interesting, but I just couldn't get into it. The writing isn't quite as captivating. Granted, it could be due to the fact that this is YA with YA topics (ie: high school, coming of age, etc.)and day by day I inch further away from being a YA myself. Even still, based on my experience with the Rachel Morgan series, if I based my love for that series on the first book, it wouldn't rank very high. I had to sort of force myself to read the first book, and then Book 2 got way better; ...more
Mar 31, 2016 rated it liked it
I listened to this one as an audio book - the reading performance was entertaining and just perfect to listen while riding a bike... otherwise I would say is it really nice book for girls 11-13 years of age.. the main character is 17 years old girl, who acts like 12. She finds herself in number of situations she is not able to deal with and keeps explaining how gorgeously looking are all the angels (who all look like 17 years old to blend) she meets..
but at the end there was an attempt on a deep
First the good: I like Madison, she's a cute kids with a nice energy to her. But the rest is all bad. There was not enough story, it was very slow to build, and there was no real pay off. The world building was awkward and long-winded. When it finally got to the heart of the story, I just didn't care enough to stay awake to finish it. The worst problem was the language, this just wasn't a young adult book, it was a book written by an adult for adults that happens to have a teenage lead character ...more
Jan 25, 2010 rated it liked it
This was good, although I was a bit confused in the beginning. It would seem that this book is a continuation of a short story from a book called Prom Nights from Hell, which I didn't know or read, but it would explain the rushed beginning a bit more.
The characters were likable and I enjoyed the concept of light and dark soul reapers. Some of the dialog felt flat and came off short, but not enough to overly annoy.
All in all, Once Dead, Twice Shy was a quick and cute read, enough to get your fil
Nikinnia Smith
Mar 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
I almost did not read this because of the bad ratings, but I'm glad I did. I really liked this book. Madison is a sweet girl who somewhat escapes death by obtaining an amulet from a reaper. I liked that this book had some action in it, but I hope there is some romance in the other books in the series. I'm not sure if I want Madison to send up with Barnabas or Josh. Maybe Nakita can get with Barnabas and Madison with Josh.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • The Good Ghouls' Guide to Getting Even (Beth Frasier #1)
  • Circus of the Darned (Ben and Fran, #2)
  • You Are So Undead to Me (Megan Berry, #1)
  • Prom Nights from Hell
  • Angel Star (Angel Star, #1)
  • First Truth (Truth, #1)
  • Soul Enchilada
  • Crossing Over
  • Hell Week (Maggie Quinn: Girl Vs. Evil #2)
  • Give Up the Ghost
  • Reign or Shine (Demon Princess #1)
  • Tattoo (Tattoo, #1)
  • Dead Is a State of Mind (Dead Is, #2)
  • Future Imperfect (Future Imperfect, #1)
  • Original Sin (Personal Demons, #2)
  • Bite Me (Demon Underground, #1)
  • Dead Rules
  • Devil's Kiss (Devil's Kiss, #1)
Kim Harrison is best known as the author of the New York Times #1 best selling Hollows series, but she has written more than urban fantasy and has published over two-dozen books spanning the gamut from young adult, thriller, several anthologies, and has scripted two original graphic novels. She has also published traditional fantasy under the name Dawn Cook. Kim is currently working on a new Hollo ...more

Other books in the series

Madison Avery (3 books)
  • Early to Death, Early to Rise (Madison Avery, #2)
  • Something Deadly This Way Comes (Madison Avery, #3)
“God, if you ever loved me, open my eyes for me when I'm being this stupid! (Ron)” 88 likes
“Breaking rules isn't bad when what you're doing is more important than the rule itself” 64 likes
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