She Smells the Dead by E.J. Stevens
publisher: Sacred Oaks Press
release date: September 9, 2010
paperback, 168 pages
intended audience: young adult
source: from author for review
Description from goodreads:
It's the beginning of senior year and Yuki's psychic awareness of ghostly spirits is threatening to ruin her life. Her ability to sense spirits of the dead isn't glamorous like the ghost hunting on television.
SHE SMELLS THE DEAD.
The smell impressions are becoming stronger. Yuki is being visited in her dreams, and she suspects that her friend Calvin is involved in something strange. To make matters worse her crush on Garrett is going unrequited, Yuki's friend Emma is on a rampage against bee oppression, and annoying Calvin Miller mysteriously disappears.
Will Yuki be able to focus her powers in time to save the lost soul who is haunting her? Meanwhile, who will save Yuki from following the spirits into the light?
Review: This was a very quick fun read. I loved the quirkiness of this book. By first impression, meaning the goth girl gracing the cover and the spooky title, I thought I was going in for something dark and gruesome---because really, what sounds more gruesome than constantly smelling the dead. But I was so pleasantly surprised! The main character, Yuki is quirky and funny and pretty confident for someone who gets constant strange looks from her classmates and is rumored to be the school witch. I loved the little addition of the thoughts running through her head throughout the book.
This was a pretty complex story---lots of subplots going on here, all of them intriguing! Some I felt could have been fleshed out just a bit more, and the arc of the story shifted just a little so that a major plotline of the book could have been resolved by the end ( I have to assume there will be sequel since the story was leading up to a big event that didn't happen by the end of the book.) I did really enjoy how her power to smell the dead led her on a detective-style mystery! She doesn't actually smell the dead person (that would be gross!), but each ghost's scent is kind of a clue to who they were. One day she is bombarded by the awful smell of vinegar and that is the only clue she starts with on how to put this ghost to rest---the rest of the mystery solving is all up to her awesome Nancy Drew skills! Its also helps that her best friend is an expert reseacher---as well as a devout vegan whose mission in life is to make everyone else feel bad for eating meat and to free oppressed bees everywhere. She was a hoot---someone I would probably be terribly annoyed with in real life, but on paper she was funny and also a great supportive friend to Yuki, which I loved.
This was also a love story, and a very sweet one at that. You could tell from the beginning that Yuki, despite her alleged crush on a boy named Garrett, had some suppressed feeling for her longtime friend Calvin. It's cute the way they start out as an almost grade-school style crush where they are constantly teasing each other, and next thing your know they are kissing in his truck. I love how she constantly referred to him so formally as "Calvin Miller" in her head as she lectures him in her thoughts.
If there is in fact a sequel, I'll definitely be picking it up to find out what happens on Samhain!! In the meantime, I think I will actually miss being with these characters! I recommend this for a quick, fun read!
Visit the author's blog here!