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Half Dead & Fully Broken

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Carter Colby is the most unpopular teen at Jefferson High. This would be easier to deal with if his identical twin brother, Marcus, weren't the hottest, most popular boy in school. When Marcus is killed in a motorcycle accident, Carter discovers the one thing more painful than trying to compete with Mr. Wonderful: wearing his dead brother's face. He felt invisible before the accident, but with Marcus dead, everybody turns away from him in mourning. How can he blame them? He can't bear to look in the mirror. When Carter begins to see Marcus' ghost, Mr. Wonderful's quest to save the world and spread happiness may not be over after all, even in death. Marcus knows that Justin Dewar, the boy who drove the truck that crashed into his motorbike, is struggling with the guilt of taking a life. Melanie, Marcus' mourning best friend, was also hit hard by the tragedy. Marcus wants to make things right before it's too late. With Marcus' help, Carter experiences love and friendship for the first time in his life. But is Mr. Wonderful's helping hand enough for Carter, Melanie, and Justin - three kids fully broken by the tragedy - to save one another?

235 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 19, 2015

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About the author

Kevin Craig

27 books230 followers
Kevin is the author of seven novels: SUMMER ON FIRE (MuseItUp Publishing, 2011),SEBASTIAN'S POET (Musa Publishing, 2012), THE REASONS (Musa Publishing, 2013), BURN BABY BURN BABY (Curiosity Quills Press, 2014), HALF DEAD AND FULLY BROKEN (Curiosity Quills Press, 2015), PRIDE MUST BE A PLACE (MuseItUp Publishing, 2018), and THE CAMINO CLUB (Duet Press/Interlude Press, 2020). Look for Kevin's 2 new YA novels; BOOK OF DREAMS (Duet Press/Interlude Press, 2022) and WHERE IS ETHAN SINCLAIR (Duet Press/Interlude Press, 2023)!

Kevin is a 5-time winner of the Muskoka Novel Marathon’s Best Novel Award. They are also a passionate and accomplished playwright. They've had twelve plays produced.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 35 reviews
Profile Image for Shannon.
2,330 reviews166 followers
July 4, 2020
Wow. I don’t know what I was expecting when I started Half Dead & Fully Broken, but I can tell you whatever it was was far exceeded. HD&FB is one of those stories that just kind of snuck up on me, with the way it made me feel. I don’t really even know how to put it into words! It probably doesn’t help that I’ve been overwhelmed lately thinking of Elijah McClain, so to say I’ve been all up in my feels is putting it mildly.

My heart really ached for Carter. I was going to say I can’t imagine everything he was going through after the death of his twin, but Kevin Craig made it so that I could imagine it, and even feel it. Carter is such an endearing character and I felt so sad for him- his twin has died and is he able to properly grieve? Not really, because he’s worried about how everyone else is feeling, having to see Marcus every time they looked at him. What that must have felt like!

When Marcus’s ghost starts to appear to Carter, he’s not sure what to make of it. What ensues is quite a journey, as Carter becomes involved with not only Mel, Marcus’s best girl friend, but Justin, the boy involved in the accident that killed Marcus. All three have been irrevocably changed due to Marcus’s death and it’ll take them relying on each other to get through it.

I NEED more! I feel like that about a lot of books, but it couldn't be more true here. Half Dead & Fully Broken left me half broken and I'm going to need more of Carter, Mel, and especially Justin, to put me back together!
January 26, 2015
Full review to be up on For The Love of Fictional Worlds :)

I recieved and ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review

Actual Rating 4.5 Stars

This story begins with Carter’s description of the day; the perfect day with the perfect weather and him with his perfect twin. What could possibly go wrong? Famous last words, really.
Carter loses his twin in a horrific accident, yet he is the one who is ostracised. Why? Because, he is the twin who lived. Marcus was the one who was well liked, the popular one, the one who got all the ‘hello’s’ in the school, while Carter was the one who went ignored.
Nothing changed after the accident, if nothing else, things became worse for Carter. Now being invisible would have been better, because now when everybody looks at him, they see Marcus (which would have been creepy, honestly speaking!)

And if things hadn’t being going weird for Carter already, he starts to see Marcus’s ghost as well. Marcus who doesn’t know why he is still hanging around, all he knows that the reason would be revealed only when the time was right!

Through the journey that Marcus takes Carter through, he gets to know Marcus’s girlfriend, Melanie and Justin, the guy who rammed the brother’s killing Marcus.

All of them are going through the mourning, and coping with the death of Marcus in different ways. And yet, it’s Marcus’s death that brings them all together.

This story is well written, and so beautifully imagined. The characters have such an amazing growth through the storyline (even ghostly Marcus) that it was actually quite a treat to read about them.

This book is different from other Young Adult novels that you find nowadays, especially since there is an overflow of Science fiction and fantasy genres (Not that I am complaining!). It is as real as it gets. It tackles real life problems in a way that you don’t get to see anymore. The tragedy of life is that what happened to Carter could happen to anybody, even you or me.
These three teenagers have gone through the worst of times, and have come through the burning fire, molded and better equipped for life. They have forged a strong bond of friendship that may have a foundation in loss but now serves as their anchor for loyalty.

This book has only whetted my appetite for more of Mr. Craig’s books, especially the sneak peak into the Burn Baby Burn Baby, which sounds all the more interesting now (Yes, Kevin, that was a hint to you :P).
The only thing I didn’t like was the fact the ending was abrupt. Maybe it’s just me, but I need to know what happens to my beloved characters, especially when they have just gone through a life changing experience.

Beyond this, the book was perfect in every way. The plot, the characters, the relationships and even the hint of paranormal was bought out wonderfully by the writing style of Mr. Craig. This book isn’t one to be missed out on! And I am glad that I didn’t.

Profile Image for Marjolein (UrlPhantomhive).
2,360 reviews50 followers
June 2, 2015
3.5 stars

Read all my reviews on http://urlphantomhive.booklikes.com

Carter is a social outcast and quite the opposite from his identical twin brother Marcus. After Marcus dies in a motorcycle accident, people really seem to be unable to be near him, as he reminds them of Marcus. Then Marcus' ghost starts visiting Carter to teach him some lessons and to get him to help with something important.

It was quite an entertaining, fast paced read. I finished it within a day. I found especially the beginning very strong and I immediately wanted to continue reading. After Marcus' ghost starts showing up, I was a bit less enthusiastic. He suffered from enormous mood swings, the whole flying things seemed unnecessary and - one of the things I really find annoying in books - there's talk all the time about something that's going to happen and Marcus knows what it is (that's why he's hanging around) but won't tell Carter 'because he can't'. *sigh*

*Some Spoilers Ahead*

Also, his projects with Mel, his brother's girlfriend and Justin, the guy who drove the truck that hit the motorbike felt a bit forced. Not that I didn't enjoy reading it, I did, but especially the relationship between Mel and Carter felt awkward. I understand they find comfort in each other, but to start their own relationship after like two months felt a bit weird. Justin was the typical hard guy that turned out to be okay kind-of guy which didn't really come as a surprise to me.

This all being said, I did enjoy it. The ideas were quite nice and the writing as well. I would read another book if this turned out to be a series.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Bee.
814 reviews209 followers
June 1, 2016

Istyria book blog ~ B's world of enchanted books

4.5 stars

I love it when you start a book, not knowing what to expect from it and you end up loving it! Half Dead & Fully Broken was a bit strange in some ways, but it was also very heartbreaking and sweet at the same time. Very weird.

Half Dead & Fully Broken is about Carter. His brother just died in a horrible accident. Not just his brother, his identical twin brother. Before the accident he was invisible, now everyone sees him, sees his dead brother. But his brother is not completely gone yet. He's still there and only Carter can see him. Marcus knows that his girlfriend took his dead hard and that Justin, the boy who crashed his truck into his motorbike, is drowning in guilt. And he wants Carter to help them.

I seriously didn't know what to expect with this book. It's contemporary, with a bit of a paranormal twist to it. It's subtle though and it works. Everything just made sense in this story. It was heartbreaking most of the time. Of course it was. But it was also very sweet. I can't really describe it. It was a perfect balance of everything and I really liked that. I couldn't stop reading either, I was hooked from page one. Seriously.

I loved Carter. He's always felt invisible next to his popular twin brother. But now everybody sees him. No, they see his brother in him. And it's even worse for him. He has to see his brother every time he looks in the mirror. And then he also sees his ghost and he feels real but he isn't. I loved how much he grew in this book. I also felt for Justin and Melanie. I loved Marcus too. I wasn't very fond of the romance at first, but it grew on me. In the end I did like it.

Half Dead & Fully Broken is heartbreaking, bittersweet and kind of wonderfully weird at times. I definitely want to read the sequel! Recommended to readers who love to torture themselves with a tearjerker that has a paranormal twist.

This review is also (or -soon- will be) posted on Istyria book blog
January 24, 2016
If an author uses offensive language in a book, I automatically deduct a star. That's if I can even finish. The main characters used retarded multiple times in this book. When are authors and editors going to learn that this is a offensive word? And yes, trolls, I realize that teenagers use this word. That's not the point. When someone in real life uses an offensive word like that, I can tell them that they're being a stupid jerk and then I can decide to never speak to them if they continue to use offensive language - I can't do that in a book. But I can knock off a star in the hopes that eventually authors/editors will realize that people don't want to read crap like this.

Besides the offensive words, this book was okay. It was just a bit too weird for me. And not in a good way. Carter's twin dies and it's weird for him because Marcus was super popular and they have the same face and it's weird. And I thought this would make for a really interesting and heartbreaking story. And instead, Carter starts seeing Marcus's ghost and then starts dating Marcus's girlfriend. Yes, 2 months after his twin brother's death, he starts dating said brother's girlfriend. That's just fucked up.
Profile Image for Tina.
320 reviews79 followers
March 23, 2015
I received a copy of Half Dead and Fully Broken from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion. This does not influence my opinion in any shape or form.

The beginning of this book is so strong. I was immediately sucked into it. I believe in ghosts, spirits, the whole unfinished business thing, the whole waking up at 3 in the morning is the mocking hour (okay maybe I’ve seen too many exorcists movies) but anyway I totally believe in this whole concept. I was anxious to see just what way Kevin was going to go with this story; I literally had a notebook by my side scribbling my theories and thoughts throughout the book.

Half dead and fully broken left me speechless and I do mean this in a good way.

Our Story
The story is told from Carter’s point of view. Carter is our main character. When we first meet Carter, he is going through a really hard time. His twin brother Marcus just died and the wounds are still refresh. His parents can’t look at him without bursting into tears because they see Marcus and not Carter. Everyone around him doesn’t see Carter, they see Marcus and so they avoid him. Before Marcus died, Carter was invisible. Everyone loved Marcus he was Mr. Do-Nothing-Wrong, Mr. Freaking Wonder. But after Marcus died, Carter finally becomes known only to be ignored he has the face of the dead guy and some are having trouble distinguishing between the two even him. He even has trouble looking in the mirror because he doesn’t see himself he sees Marcus.

The Guilt
Carter explains how the accident happened. Marcus who did nothing wrong or dangerous had this crazy idea of riding his motorbike to school. It was this idea that today was the day they must fully live to the fullest. Carter knew better then to argue with Marcus when he was like that so he went a long with the idea. So off to school they go, school isn’t that far everything should be fine right? Nope, the light turns red and Marcus doesn’t stop he decides to go instead of stop and the next thing Carter knows is that he’s flown down the road his arms feel like their on fire and the motor bike is a twisted piece of metal. Right, when the ambulance is about to take him to the hospital he sees Marcus running towards him telling him everything is going to be okay and so he fall asleep due to the medication they are administrating to him.

Then he wakes up, he’s in the hospital and he has bandages on his arms and hands. His parents are crying and no one will answer if Marcus is okay. Randomly Marcus starts appearing but it seems like Carter is the only one who sees him. And that’s when the truth is told, Marcus died instantly.

Carter is seeing his brother’s ghost.

Carter is replaying everything in his head, the morning of the accident, the different ways he could have stopped Marcus. The what-ifs, could haves, would haves you get the gist. It’s tearing him apart.

Waking up 3:33 am
Carter begins to wake up at 3:33 am every night. At first he wasn’t sure why then Marcus began appearing and they would have conversations things like that. He also knew if his parents and sister heard him speaking to himself then they would send him to a crazy house or make him see his shrink.

Marcus doesn’t tell him much other then he’s here for a reason one that he cannot explain to Carter.

My theories went as followed: he wanted to be with his girlfriend one last time, he had some unfinished business, he wanted to hurt the person who did this to him, he wanted to find peace or he wanted to stop something from happening to Carter.

Marcus learns he can do things now that he’s dead, like flying for instance. But there’s also something he wants to try which is use Carter’s body to communicate with his girlfriend Mel. I totally thought this was a Ghost movie reference/idea.

Their first attempt of sharing bodies means Carter is in his body but he isn’t really in his body. Marcus insists on trying to make perfect these things they can do. At times I had mixed feelings like was Marcus going to take over Carter’s body completely, were his intentions good or bad. I wasn’t the only one questioning them so was Carter.

Mel & Justin
Marcus was in a serious relationship with Mel. Mel and Carter have never spoken a word to each other but after Marcus’s death they developed a friendship that slowly turns into more.

I had some conflicted feelings about this relationship. For instance, was she just seeking comfort in the arms of the guy who looks exactly like her dead boyfriend or did she really see Carter for Carter. I did enjoy their relationship growing and becoming one different from Marcus. It still gave me conflicted feelings but not enough to take away from the story.

Justin is the guy whose truck smashed into the bike Marcus and Carter were on. He’s the high school top football player and he’s a total mess. He reaches out to Carter because his guilt is killing him. I could sense that the guilt was unbearable for Justin. What I really loved about this story is that Carter, is accepting of Justin like he understood that it was an accident and doesn’t hold it against him in fact he tries really hard to make Justin forgive himself.

The Book as a Whole
I really enjoyed the paranormal events that took place in the book. I had conflicted feelings about Marcus’s intentions with using Carter’s body but at the end of the story I understood what he was trying to do. I also loved how the novel did not just focus on the death of Marcus but how it brought Carter to Mel and Justin. It was also about forgiveness. I thought Carter and Mel were very strong characters because they understood it was accident and wanted to help Justin with his guilt. They wanted to show him it was okay that it was an accident that he didn’t do anything wrong because he didn’t. Even though the story is written in first person through Carter, I got to know Mel, Justin, Carter’s parents and sister. I even got to know Marcus.

It shows a great message of learning to forgive, and understanding just how short life can truly be. Even though Marcus died seizing the day, Carter, Mel and Justin learned to come together from that day and develop a friendship that I am sure will last a lifetime.

The last parts of the book left me on the edge of my seat. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen but I’m glad things turned out the way they did. I was left speechless with the ending because it was beautiful. It really left you with a sense of peace and hope that those that have passed have somehow managed to find peace and are in a better place because that’s all you could ever really ask for.
Profile Image for Medeia Sharif.
Author 21 books429 followers
June 7, 2017
The novel's description about Carter and his personal tragedies pulled me in and I wasn't disappointed. The tension, emotions, and riveting storyline had me clinging to the characters until the end. I read it in two days and found it a fast read. This is the second YA book I've read from Craig and I hope to read more.
Profile Image for Lori Twining.
208 reviews
January 23, 2016
Carter Colby. Marcus Colby. Identical twins, right down to the mole on their foot... all except for their personalities and demeanour. When you take these two factors into account, the twins are almost opposites. One quiet, shy, not many friends... the other, outgoing, popular, has a girlfriend and many friends. Due to a tragic accident, one of the boys die. This shocks everyone, especially the boy who feels responsible for the fatality. Life cannot be easy for him. But then, life can't be easy for the twin who is left behind, trying to live life, knowing everyone thinks about his dead brother, every time they take a glimpse of him. That's just downright cruel.

I found this novel to be a great story about love, friendship, brotherhood, and family life. This Young Adult book gets to the depth of your soul in a very short time. It makes you think about serious emotional issues, such as death, the afterlife, divorce, mental health issues and a few others, I don't want to mention, or I'll ruin the story for you. It's a fast read, I read my copy of the book in two nights. I should have called in sick, so I could finish reading it in one day. Next time.

Overall the story moves along at a steady pace. There were a few things that happened, that I'm still wondering why they happened. Did they have any relevance? Did I miss something? Is it possible Mr. Craig left a few breadcrumbs uneaten, so the readers will return, when the sequel is released later this year or early next year? I think I'd like to see where this story will go. And most of all, will the paranormal element continue on, as well? If so, how? I'm intrigued enough to want to read the next book Kevin Craig writes. :)

Full book review at: http://www.lvtwriter.com/writing/half...
Profile Image for Tessa.
28 reviews14 followers
March 26, 2015
This egalley was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my review in any way.

Marcus and Carter Colby are physically identical twins although their personalities and lives could not be any more different. Marcus is the embodiment of the popular high school kid, friends with everyone, loved and adored by all, has looking good down to an art form (although he is actually nice, not a faker). Carter on the other hand tends to slide through high school under the radar, he has very few solid friend (actually none if I think about it) and is pretty much only known as Marcus’ twin. This all changes when Marcus is killed in a motorbike accident and Carter suddenly becomes the centre of attention for having a dead kids face. As Carter is thrust into the spotlight he begins to get visits from his brother’s ghost who wants to try and fix the world even from the other side. This leads Carter to become friends with Marcus’ girlfriend Melanie and Justin, the school football jock and bully who was driving the car that Marcus hit. This is the story of how a bunch of broken teenagers help each other and themselves.

Spoiler alert but not for a while, I’ll tell you when (just a heads up!).

I tore through this book in one night. I was just a really gripping read and not going to lie, I kind of fell in love with Carter. After I had finished my epic read and had had the chance to stand back and think I realised that there were a couple things off with this book that I didn’t really like or just didn’t sit well with me.

Firstly, I have a problem with the fact that Carter is set up to be kind of a loser when in actual fact he isn’t at all. Sure he might have trouble identifying with kids his own age but doesn’t everyone at some stage? I know I did during high school. I feel like Kevin Craig lured us all into believing that we could have easily been Carter and then hits us with the fact that Carter is seeing a therapist and is actually not that normal despite the fact that he is fine. Okay, let me try and rephrase that because it sounds confusing as hell. The thing that makes me fall in love with a book/series is when I identify strongly with the protagonist, in this case it was Carter. I could see similarities between my experiences and his. I was honestly thinking “this kid does x, I did/do x and therefore he’s alright because I’m alright” if that makes sense? But then to be bombarded with negative self-talk from Carter as well as comments from other characters in the book about how he isn’t normal and it’s not okay to be like that made me feel like Kevin Craig was taking a cheap shot at me indirectly because I had identified with Carter. Does any of this make sense or am I just reading way to into this book again? I am most definitely losing it.

Now heading into spoiler alert territory!

Another thing that I had a problem with was the whole Carter/Melanie relationship. I mean, your brother has just died, you are both taking this incredibly well and are now hooking up! I have to admit I do not have a sibling who has died but I’m pretty sure I would be incredibly torn up if they did and making out with their respective partner would feel pretty wrong (well I’m assuming it would). So I would definitely be one of those people in the book that found the whole thing wrong and a little bit difficult to come to terms with but I think that is most definitely my problem and not an actual fault in the book.

What I did like about the book was that it definitely shifted my perspective on both Justin and Melanie. Melanie transformed from what was described to be a shallow cheerleader into someone who was compassionate and actually had a lot of insight into other people’s lives/problems. I think she is actually perfect for Carter and will really help with bringing him out of his shell and into the real world. Justin turned from the bullying jock into a shattered boy who really needed some guidance plus a big confidence boost. I think the fact that he has found two very accepting friends in Carter and Melanie will do wonders for his mental health. It turns out not all the characters are who you thought they were and everyone always has a different side. You also see that a little in Marcus who’s ghost becomes pretty self-centered unlike the Marcus described to us at the beginning of the book.

Spoiler alert

I guess it was fitting that Carter/Marcus saved Justin from his suicide attempt although I felt like readers could probably guess that that was going to be the major event that happened. Have to admit that there was all of this build up and then the whole thing was over in about 4 pages! I mean come on, we could have at least had a page, somewhere in the future, summing up what happened when Carter explained the whole Marcus thing to the other two and how everyone is going now.

I was a little bit disappointed that the whole Marcus/Carter ghost thing wasn’t explained properly or in any more detail. For instance, was this a twin only thing? Would it have worked if they weren’t identical? How come Marcus often appeared in a black mood/why did his personality change so much? Would Marcus still have come back to save Justin regardless of the whole twin thing? Just so many questions! Although I’m thinking that they didn’t really need to be answered, it’s more of me just wanting to know more about the whole process. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the next Carter Colby novel (I’m 80% sure that there is going to be another one at some stage but don’t quote me on that!).

So over all, I did actually like this book, it’s a fast paced easy read. The characters are engaging although the plot line is a little straightforward. I like the way that I assumed at the start of the book that it was Carter that was half dead and fully broken but I’m now leaning towards Carter being half dead and Justin being fully broken, just a random thought.

You can also find this review at www.crashmybookparty.com
Profile Image for bookgeek607.
322 reviews3 followers
July 5, 2017
This book was very different from something I would normally choose for myself, but I am so glad I did. The story follows Carter and his twin brother Marcus. We see what happens when two becomes one when they are in an accident and only one twin dies. I could not imagine what it would be like to wake up and have to see the face of my dead brother in the mirror day after day let alone see my dead brother. Marcus helps Carter, Mel, and Justin find closure and brings them all together. A group of friends form where there was no real acknowledgement before the accident. The style of this book really pulled me in and pretty much did not let go until I finished, maybe I need to get out of my comfort zone more often. It touches on many trigger points for some such as divorce/broken homes, suicide, death, and mental health issues so for some it might not be the book for them.

*** I was given a copy of this book free in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions are my own and given on my own free will***
Profile Image for Michelle (thebookishlibrarian).
467 reviews17 followers
June 4, 2019
Carter Colby is the most unpopular kid in school. This wouldn’t be so bad if his twin brother Marcus weren’t the most popular kid in school. But when Marcus is killed in a motorcycle accident, Carter is left like a dead man walking, because he is wearing his brother’s face, and things won’t ever be the same.
410 reviews3 followers
April 1, 2015
What does it mean to be a twin? Is it this mystical connection which transcends time and space, even after death? When one hears of a tragic accident involving a teenager, we groan with dismay, but if we discover that the victim is also a twin, we cringe even more. It's something about the idea of two beings who are almost one that gets us in the gut when they are torn apart, as if they were conjoined at the heart.

Kevin Craig uses this pull in his story Half Dead, Fully Broken. Identical twins Marcus and Carter Colby may look alike, but they are polar opposites. One is the popular guy while the other is the loser, almost as if they were the yin and yang symbols - only one can shine while the other is left out in the dark. The dominant twin (there always seems to be one who is the stronger of the two) convinces his brother that it's too nice a day to walk to school - no, it's the perfect day to get out the motorbike, nicknamed Rosie, and ride to school in style. Even though Marcus is the trustworthy one, he does something foolish that fateful day, run a red light and get smashed to smithereens by a pickup truck driven by fellow student, football captain Justin Dewar.

From the beginning our emotions are rent. Enter grieving girlfriend Melanie, devastated star athlete Justin, and forlorn twin Carter and the author creates an unlikely three musketeers. Only it's not a trio, but a quartet, because Marcus still has a task to complete. He hangs around his bro, appearing and disappearing at will, offering the opportunity to "meld" into one (which includes super hero talents such as feats of flying, strength, and invisibility, as well as an ability to walk through walls). All these skills will be necessary if the three friends have any hope of finding some kind of normalcy in their lives.

This book is less than two hundred pages, yet it feels like more as the reader experiences the grief of family and friends. It is definitely not a feel good story. The narrative is told through the eyes of surviving twin Carter, although we are able to experience his newly found friends' viewpoints through their IMs. The author cleverly has Carter be a novice with this communication device, so that some of the abbreviations can be explained to any nonsaavy reader.

To me, the technology seems old. How many kids still IM? This makes me wonder about the date of the setting. I know the location is in the US, but it must be somewhere up in the Northeast since the kids hang out at Tim Horton's which they call Timmy's. These coffee shops were started by the Buffalo Sabre's Canadian hockey player, Tim Horton, who was tragically killed in a car accident (a coincidence?) so he didn't live to see the successful development of his franchise throughout Canada and the bordering states. I live in WNY where Tim Horton's is very popular (super competitive with Star Bucks and Duncan Donuts). I visit there all the time and nobody I know calls it Timmy's, but then, I'm not a teenager.

While the premise of this book is intriguing, there is just something about it that I find off putting. Perhaps there should have been more character development, perhaps the plot could have been fuller, perhaps the ending was too abrupt. The chapters are super short and the book is under two hundred pages which would make it appropriate for those hard to please middle school students, especially since there is no graphic sex (just some handholding and a few kissing sequences). A theme dealing with the death of a high schooler might also make it appealing to older students. There is more introspection than action in the story, although the final results have the potential to be deadly. The author is contemplating a sequel and it would be interesting to see what happens next, especially since the book ends so quickly after the climatic sequence. So, if I am curious about the future of these characters, I guess I did like the book. However, I predict a preteen boy would like it much better. Three stars.

I would like to thank Curiosity Quills Press and Netgalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review. This review also appears on my blog, Gotta Read.
Profile Image for J.S. Frankel.
Author 71 books230 followers
June 7, 2018
While this was better than Burn Baby, Burn Baby, I found it sort of creepy. I read Burn Baby, Burn Baby, and was massively disappointed. Figured I'd never pick up another book by this author again. Well, a friend of mine happened to get this book and said it was a cool tale of the hereafter. So...give it a shot. Be fair, as every writer has put out at least one tank effort. So, I dove into it.

Sorry I did. While it's nowhere near as poorly written as BBBB (IMO), I found the premise fascinating but the execution....weird. We have Marcus, the high school stud, and his twin brother Carter, the high school pud. They're identical in every way save personality. Total opposites. Marcus is cool, confident, and seems destined for greatness, while Carter seems destined for obscurity. So when Marcus does an impulsive thing, runs a red light on his motorcycle and is creamed by a truck, Carter is now the only member of the family to carry on the family honor, as it were. And everyone seems to hate him for it, because he's the twin that lived. He looks identical to Marcus, but ain't, and everyone just dumps on him. That, for me, turned me off. Some sympathy would be nice...but not.

Okay, things happen, and wouldn't ya know it, Marcus returns from the hereafter as his brother's guiding light. Sorta like in the movie Always (with Richard Dreyfuss and Audrey Hepburn), but set in high school. He counsels him. He even pushes Carter to make time with his girlfriend, Melanie, appropriately weeping over Marcus' demise. Here's where I said "Hold on."

The poor schmuck was practically blasted apart by the impact, his spirit returns, and basically he says, "Here's my ex. Have fun. I'll counsel you on what to do and how to achieve the girlfriend thing." (There's no sex, and if there had been I would have probably put the book down for good). But I found it very creepy that the ghost is offering advice to his twin on how to eventually make out with the girl of his former dreams. In better hands, this would have been rendered odd, yet tender, but the way it's presented here, to me it almost had a voyeuristic element to it, and that turned me off.

Then there's the relationship with Justin, the guy who was driving the truck that obliterated Marcus. Yes, he grieves and feels guilty and rightly so, but when Carter talks it out with him, it came off as awkward and not all that realistic.

What else bothered me was the dialogue. Not the swearing so much--most teens do swear and I surely did at that age (I'd like to think I've refined it over the decades)--but the dialogue itself was stilted. "Hey, what's up?" ad infinitum. Okay, teens aren't always that articulate, but the dialogue seemed to be out of a grade C movie. I couldn't get into it at all. And the novel dragged in many places. Not info dumps so much, just...dragged.

I do enjoy a good novel that deals with the afterlife and the possibilities of someone returning to help out the survivors, either for better or worse. The premise is nothing new, but I've read other novels where it was executed well. This is not one of those novels. Two stars, mainly because there's more character development than in BBBB, but not by much. I know people are suckers for the underdog, but frankly, Marcus should've stayed where he was and not bothered to make a return.

ETA: I decided to give it another go, just on the off-chance I'd missed something the first time around. Time to be fair...and I found that I REALLY disliked it. Sorry, this is no-can-do Crackerjack kinda deal.
Profile Image for Aurora Dimitre.
Author 31 books115 followers
September 13, 2015
-I received this book from the publisher in return for an honest review-

You know how in basically everything with a set of twins nowadays, one of the twins isn't going to make it out? That's basically this book, except in this book, we get to see the aftermath of losing a twin, of losing someone so close to you they're basically your other half, with a dash of magical realism/paranormal-y stuff thrown in there.

That alone is enough to be interesting, but add in a friendship with the dude that killed the twin and the twin's girlfriend, and things get really fun.

I really enjoyed this book. Maybe not as much as the other book by Craig that I've read, but it was still a lot of fun. The sense of grief really came through in Carter's POV as he mourns the death of his brother and tries to deal with the aftermath, and I really appreciated just how well done it was.

Carter in and of himself was a fun character to read from the point of view from. He wasn't Mr. Perfect - in fact, he was one of the more unpopular kids in school, and also he's kind of a jerk. He's a little bit mean to his younger sister (who is awesome in her own right, I really liked her and the fact that she watched shows from my childhood in a book published in 2015, which... maybe dated it a bit, but I actually really like books that are 'dated' because it gives you a sense of culture and time and how things are going and ANYWAY), and he can't always be completely patient with everyone. And that made him real.

Our other two major characters, Mel and Justin, also have their quirks and their problems and their realities. Mel felt maybe a little flat for me, but Justin kept showing more and more layers that I really enjoyed, even if these layers really didn't ever make me think of him as a bully - we never got to see him acting as a bully, so the casual mentioning that he was one kind of threw me off, but they were fine, overall.

The writing worked for me, and it worked for this story. There's a sort of paranormal/magical realism aspect that I thought was explored really interestingly, and the foreshadowing in terms of that was done well, even if the thing that was foreshadowing felt a little... melodramatic? It didn't feel as real as it could have, maybe is what I'm trying to say.

Overall, this is a good one. The protagonist is a real, flawed human, and that's really my favorite thing about it- how real Carter and his grief feel. And how that paranormal aspect sort of makes for some slightly amusing moments - that was a fun time, too.
Profile Image for Sarah-Jayne Briggs.
Author 1 book47 followers
January 26, 2015
(I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review).

(This review may contain spoilers).

This was another book that really caught my attention when I originally read the blurb. It looked as much a character-driven story as a plot-driven one and although it was a little depressing to read, I found it really easy and engaging. It didn’t take me that long to finish reading it and I was disappointed to reach the end of the book, because I felt that there was a lot more of the story to be told.

I found Carter a really likable character and I was able to empathise with him and what he went through after losing his twin. I felt really sorry for him with how he felt about people looking at him and seeing Marcus.

It was interesting how Carter kept waking up at a specific time. I didn’t realise the relevance until right at the end of the book and then I felt that it was really quite cleverly done.

My first impression of Melanie was that she seemed quite self-centred and only cared about her own grief. As she and Carter began talking, though, I found her a much more interesting character… but she did still come across as a bit high-maintenance and self-centred at times. Flaws like that do make characters more interesting. I felt that she was a well-rounded character… there were just a couple of times I got annoyed with her.

I didn’t really see Justin before the effect the accident had on him, so I have no idea what he was like before it all. I will say that I found him one of the most intriguing characters in this book. I seriously felt the author did a fantastic job showing the guilt and issues that he was facing. And there were some really strong emotional scenes, especially when Justin meets Carter’s parents.

I liked the first person perspective of the book and there were some parts towards the end that did make me smile, even through the tension that kept me almost on the edge of my seat as I was reading it.

I’d like to read a sequel to this book, because I think it would be good to see where the characters go from that point. I liked the ending and I liked the tight bond that formed between the three of them. There are some real psychiatric issues in this book that the characters deal with, but I do think it’s worth reading.
Profile Image for Nicole.
644 reviews4 followers
April 7, 2015
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My take on this book was quite different from what the blurb suggested. One twin dies and hangs around as a guiding spirit to heal those that his death is most likely to destroy. While I knew the author was trying to show Marcus' mission from beyond the grave as a positive attempt to do something good, I just couldn't shake the feeling that he was sinister. I didn't think the new relationships that Carter gained through his brother's death were that great, and, frankly, I found his interactions with his dead brother's girlfriend awkward and uncomfortable. The friendship that Carter formed with the boy involved in his brother's accident was awkward as well. I think most of this is because the dialogue was stilted. It didn't sound like natural conversation and interrupted the flow of the prose. The large chunks of instant messages didn't help either. More importantly, they weren't having any really meaningful conversation 98% of the time. They were mostly saying "what's up?" Now, as realistic as that may be in manversations, it doesn't make for interesting read. The only time I thought I might have misjudged this book was when the writer described the accident, so clearly the prose, not the dialogue, is his strength and this book fails to showcase that ability. While other readers seem to have enjoyed this book, I found it to be incredibly strange and incredibly boring.
Profile Image for Naturalbri (Bri Wignall).
852 reviews90 followers
January 28, 2015
What I Thought:

I could not put this book down! I was drawn in from page one, with the excellent detail and character descriptions. I felt as though I was right alongside Carter, experiencing the tragedy, the pain and the ultimate torture of losing your other half.

We always talk about how hard it is to lose your other half, when you love them, but this takes that loss even further. I can't imagine the pain of having to wake every day, look in the mirror and see the face of the loved one who was lost. I was completely drawn in to Carter's experience, from the excruciating pain of his hamburger hands to the wrenching pain of seeing his brother for the first time. I became addicted to the story as the three 'live' main characters came together, their stories suddenly woven together after the loss of Marcus.

I loved the depth of character that the author gave both of the twins. They showed their love for each other, the true bond between both brothers and twins. It was very emotional to read and feel what they felt, especially through the transition after the loss of half of 'them.'

I felt the pace of the book was spot on. The events kept moving, but there was still an excellent amount of detail in every moment. I could picture the people, the surroundings and feel what they felt.

Overall, I highly recommend this book. It is exciting, emotional and completely new and different from anything I have read before.
Profile Image for Merissa (Archaeolibrarian).
3,495 reviews97 followers
January 27, 2015
I received this book from Curiosity Quills in return for a fair and honest review.

This book starts with a bang and will draw you in as you continue to read every word. Imagine being an identical twin, identical in every way even down to a mole on your foot. Now imagine that you are the quieter one, the one who messes things up rather than puts them right. Imagine that your twin in the "go-to guy" in every situation. Now imagine that in an accident caused by abnormal behaviour, he is ripped away from you, from your family, from his friends, and from school. Now imagine that you have to carry on living.

This is what happens at the start of this book and then you discover just how Carter feels as he walks around sharing a face with his dead twin. We also get an insight on how Mel (Marcus' girlfriend) feels and also Justin, the boy who was driving the truck also involved with the accident. The depth of emotion that is covered between these three is brilliant to read.

Marcus plays a bigger part in this book than I realised and to be honest, he freaked me out a bit every time he showed up. I wasn't sure if he was a good guy or bad guy and it didn't help that Carter didn't know either!

If you are looking for a Young Adult story that deals with emotional issues, with a dash of the paranormal, then I can highly recommend this book.
Profile Image for Silvia F..
109 reviews17 followers
April 13, 2015
I received this book in exchange for an honest review through First Reads.

Half Dead & Fully Broken is a book about loss, love and forgiveness. Carter Colby loses his twin brother Marcus in a terrible motorcycle accident. Being his identical twin, Carter cannot escape looking in the mirror and seeing his dead brother. He joins Melanie and Justin in a journey to cope with the loss of Marcus whom everyone regarded as "Mr. Perfect". The story of Carter, Marcus, Melanie and Justin is both heartbreaking and heart warming.

At first it was hard for me to connect with this book. It was a little choppy and I was having trouble connecting with the characters. However, halfway through I realized that it was the lack of connection between the characters that made them seem so real. The story is told in Carter's point of view and as you read through it you really feel what he is going through. Kevin Craig writes in a very clever way that keeps you interested in what all the characters are going through. Carter was my favourite character, and I found Justin to be a heartbroken soul whom I sincerely felt sorry for. I could not imagine what it would be like to have your life taken over by such unbearable guilt. This book was not what I expected, it was both funny, heartbreaking and at times even a little rude. Definitely a different read. I enjoyed it.
Profile Image for Caroline Wissing.
Author 2 books15 followers
May 8, 2015
In this heartrending and moving story, Carter Colby's identical twin, Marcus, is killed in an accident and Carter has to somehow keep going. He must forever wear the face of his more popular and beloved dead brother: to school, in front his parents, in his own mirror.

We get to know Carter as the novel progresses. Through this tragedy, Carter begins to learn that he has more to offer the world than simply living in the shadow of a popular brother. He has strengths in his own right and he develops those strengths of empathy and understanding as he forms new friendships with Melanie, Marcus's girlfriend, and Justin, the boy who accidentally struck and killed Marcus with his truck. They bond and become one another's support system.

Coincidentally, I knew a pair of identical twins in high school and one of them was killed in a car accident during my grade 11 year. As I read the story, Carter's experiences seemed so genuine and real that I began to picture the boys I knew and imagined the surviving twin had very likely felt exactly these complex emotions as he dealt with his tragic loss.

A seasoned young adult novelist, Kevin Craig applies his considerable skill to this tragic story of loss, friendship and love.
Profile Image for Jana.
1,419 reviews86 followers
December 8, 2015
I received a free copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

In Half Dead & Fully Broken, we follow a young boy called Carter who has a twin brother called Marcus who may look exactly like him but is his complete opposite in all other fields: popular, friendly, confident and so much more. He can do basically anything, but he isn't mean or arrogant about it. One day though, Marcus dies in a motorcycle accident and Carter is left alone, never being able to forget about his brother even for a second because he looks like him. Marcus shows up as a ghost, though, and tries to get Carter to help some people who are struggling with Marcus's death, and finally, Carter experiences love and friendship for the first time in his life.

This was a really good book in my opinion. It was fast-paced and the writing was very easy to follow. Despite the ghost aspect it did not really feel paranormal or anything at all, which I appreciated. I feel like the struggles of the kids were very well displayed but the book stayed a light-hearted read and didn't drag you down at all. So I think it was definitely a good book.
Profile Image for Kushti.
Author 0 books1 follower
September 4, 2015
Unfortunately, I didn't like this book as much as I would have liked to. After reading Kevin Craig's Burn Baby, Burn Baby, I had high expectations for this book. I was disappointed.

Although it was an interesting premise and Craig's writing was amazing (as usual), it still doesn't change how lacking in plot the book is. After reading about 40% of the novel and nothing actually happening, my interest started to fade, and it continued to do so until the end of the book.

There wasn't really a plot and it was a VERY slow book. I also didn't like the relationship between Melanie and Carter. I think there should have been some loyalty from Carter to Marcus and honestly, Melanie just seemed like she was finding an alternative to Marcus.

Overall, I really disliked this book. It wasn't really my cup of tea. I prefer faster-paced books and don't tend to enjoy books centred around a death. I think fans of If I Stay would enjoy this.

Profile Image for Laura.
488 reviews40 followers
October 25, 2015

I was very excited to read this book because I had read and loved Burn Baby, Burn Baby by the same author. The ideas, the plot and the characters were great, but somehow I felt that he - Kevin Craig - could have done a better work. I don't mean this in a cruel way, it's just that he did it so well in his other book, that I really know he's a great author.

I enjoyed the book, specially the original paranormal side, but I felt I needed more, more pages, more explanations. I like the way the book tries to break down some stereotypes - the typical football guy, for instance - but there was this one thing that I didn't like: how the shrink subject is treated. I think the main opinion that is given is that you don't really need shrinks and that they are useless, and that's so not true.

In all, I wish Kevin Craig will write more paranormal books, his ideas are brilliant!

Thanks to Curiosity Quills Press for contacting me and sending me a free ebook copy!
Profile Image for Melanie Hooyenga.
Author 19 books141 followers
November 2, 2015
I've always enjoyed Craig's writing and HALF DEAD doesn't disappoint. This story of a boy who loses his twin in a horrific accident and the aftermath his appearance has on everyone around him gave me a new perspective on what it can mean to lose a loved one, especially someone THAT close to you. The frustration, grief, and anguish felt real. Carter is far from perfect, and his views on the world are realistic -- not sugar-coated or so over-the-top like some books can be.

The only part that felt off for me was the relationship with Melanie, but I chalked that up to Carter's awkwardness -- not a reflection of the writing.

I definitely recommend HALF DEAD to anyone looking for a fresh YA voice.
13 reviews2 followers
October 27, 2019
Insight into grieving

Wow. This book was much more than I expected. Grief, loss, friendship and identity are all explored skillfully in this story narrated by a teenager whose identical twin has been killed in an accident. What’s it like when you look in the mirror and see your dead brother? What if everyone else sees him when they look at you? What if sometimes he occupies the same skin as you? For once the protagonist is pretty ordinary - neither an athlete nor a genius, sometimes surly to his parents, not convinced that he’s worth bothering with. The writing gave me a real sense of the feeling of dislocation that results from loss. Recommended for teens 14 and up, or as an interesting book for a book group.
Profile Image for Mary June Ablen.
5 reviews1 follower
January 4, 2016
I received a PDF copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I gave it 3 stars out of 5 because there's a part of me wanting some more from this book, not that satisfied from what I have read.

But what I like about HDFB is that the main character had his twin so somehow I can relate to other things that has been written on it because I have one,too. And basically for twins, there's one that has a successful social and love life and the other doesn't.

Also, the author has the magic of making you cry after reading this touching story without you knowing because I did cry after I finished it. It's a plus factor to an author to consider them a great one.

Profile Image for T.M.B.A. Corbett.
167 reviews36 followers
January 25, 2016
This book seems to have divided Kevin Craig fans. He is an amazing author and I really enjoyed Burn Baby Burn Baby and I got the same level of writing skill in this book. However I never really fell for this book. It is quick read, but the characters and dialogue are a little uncomfortable. Also the plot is weird and the girlfriend of the dead guy dating his twin brother two months after his death is not believable. I just didn't like it overall, while others did seem to really love it. So give it a try and let me know what you think in a comment below.
5 reviews5 followers
April 6, 2015
I enjoyed reading Half Dead and Fully Broken by Kevin Craig..it is the second book I have read of his and although written for young adults, as a senior, I found it quite entertaining and kept me wanting to read more.
Profile Image for G. Cribbs.
Author 3 books94 followers
April 8, 2015
Holy shit that read way too fast, like a runaway ride on a motorcycle tearing up the asphalt. What a ride. What a rush. What an ending. More to come. Just a tease, like 3:33 a.m. glaring at you night after night. Go read this Na-ow!
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