Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: April 30, 2013
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: supernatural, ghosts, new kids at school, bullying
Format read: ARC from Edelweiss via Publisher. (Thanks!)
Summary: Jeff starts a fancy new private school when his family moves to California, and his first friend is the ghost of a girl who died a year ago. Seriously. He’s just as shocked about it. Kimberlee wants to return all the stolen merchandise she took while she was living in hopes of crossing over to the other side.
A ghost story? Who am I? Or should I say: “Boo am I”? (Horrible joke, I apologize.)
In all seriousness, Life After Theft was exactly what I needed after a long string of contemporaries; it was fast-paced, entertaining, and made me laugh out loud a few times. Plus it’s always refreshing to read from a male’s POV once in awhile.
Poor Jeff. Starting a brand new school where his only friend is a ghost. Not just any ghost but Kimberlee, a super popular gal who had an affection for stealing from anyone and everything. Because Jeff is the only person who could see and hear her after a year of this “purgatory”, she convinces (forces?) him to help her with a project: return the piles and piles of stolen stuff and maybe, just maybe, she will move on to the after-life.
Two main details I liked here: 1) Jeff outwardly cannot believe that Kimberlee is a ghost. He doesn’t immediately believe it and tra-la-la move on, like many characters in paranormals/supernaturals under unusual circumstances. He thinks he’s losing his mind. 2) Kimberlee is not very likeable. (Like ever.) In fact, she’s kind of a bitch, even when she knows Jeff is doing her a huge favor. Their banter really pushed the story along.
As you can imagine, the reappearance of year-old stuff stirs many emotions at Jeff’s new school — most people are thrilled to get their belongings back while others like their slightly evil principal is determined to apprehend the thief and teach them a hard-hitting lesson. You know, total chaos. For Jeff though, Kimberlee’s project helps his connect to his new surroundings, and even make some new friends including Sera, a gorgeous girl he spotted on his first day of school.
Just like any high school story, there’s a ton of drama to go around including who Kimberlee really was and why Sera likes to keep a ton of secrets. In many instances, Pike’s story seems a little thin; I would have preferred to see more tension between Jeff and Sera before they were so over-the-moon for one another and the male friendships could have used more attention too. Plus, from the get-go, I was really curious why Jeff was the only one who could help Kimberlee and that answer was never revealed.
Life After Theft woke up that supernatural side of my brain that is pretty much covered in dust and left me with one final thought: I must read more about ghosts! Please shower me with suggestions, if you can!