You Smell Dead, by Chris P. Flesh
What a great title. What a great pen name.
I couldn't resist.
I bought it.
I read it.
The Down and Dirty
Franklin Ripp died. He died because in the town of Snickering Willows, questions are forbidden. And when you don't stop to ask questions, it's pretty easy to wind up dead.
Snickering Willows is home to the Mystery Meat Factory and that pretty much explains why questions are forbidden in this town. But despite his early death, the underworld returns young Franklin to the land of the living in spirit of true love, although there's one condition: Franklin has one school year in which to actually kiss his true love Lilly if he wants to remain in the land of the living.
It all sounds pretty simple except for one small problem: Franklin returns to life as the undead and his undead body, although alive, is a little, errr, decomposed after being buried for three months. After all, formaldehyde can only preserve so much for so long.
So Franklin, or Freekin as he comes to be called, has to find a way to win back dear Lilly in a slightly unattractive state. Oh, and he has to solve the mysterious illness that seems to be striking down the entire town and find his missing dog while he's at it.
The Literary Criticism
Doesn't the synopsis sound like a great book?
Perhaps it is the annoying narrator who detracts from the story or maybe it's because the presentation seems a bit juvenile, even for a middle reader. Or maybe it's the overwhelming stereotypes that are perpetuated in the story: the pretty cheerleader, the big jock on the football team who bullies everyone, and so on.
The ending is clearly formulated to leave room for the next book in the series, but so much so that it is entirely chopped off with no resolution to the main obstacles presented in the story.
Additionally, I admit to being a tad disappointed because this book is the first in a series and you all know how A Reader's Respite feels about series.
Perhaps you might have a young 4th or 5th grader this might work for? It may well be a book that is good for getting young kids to start reading on their own for pleasure, although I'm a bit doubful about it's appropriateness for kids of that age when the title of the series is Pretty Freekin Scary, which is a play on character names, but still.
There are a plethora of young adult and middle reader novels out there that are fun for adults to read, too. Sadly, this wasn't one of them.
Title: You Smell Dead
Author: Chris P. Flesh
Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap
Date: September 6, 2007