Diversifying My Bookshelves (and a book review!)

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?

It's not.

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.

The Recommendation
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
ISBN-13: 978-0448446820
176 pages
Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap
Date: September 6, 2007


  1. It held such promise - too bad it fell flat.

  2. The synopsis does sound good...too bad for this one. Thanks, Michele.

  3. Guess they can't all be winners, right?

  4. Nothing like hooking your interest with a clever title, not to mention that hilarious pen name.

    Argh, I hate wasting hard earned $ on a dud! :)


  5. Hi, thanks for stopping by and commenting on Delicate Edible Birds. The cover art is a grabber. I think that is what got me but you know what I think of the rest of the book. I guess my mother was right, you can't judge a book by it's cover.

  6. Poor Chris P. Such potential buried under a poor presentation. Let's hope the next book in the series doesn't stink.

  7. Beth - I'll never know because I have no intention of reading the next one. :) Someone else is going to have to take one for the team and let me know how it goes!

  8. Carey - I'm such a sucker, aren't I?

    Kaye - oy, just peruse some archives if you want to see how often I fall for that ruse. :( That's why we need to watch each other's back and give a shout when a book is awful, lol.

  9. Cute artwork though...maybe he should have made it into a graphic novel?!

  10. Hi, I just dropped by again to tell you that...I've given you the "Great Buddy" award!

  11. Absolutely love it!

  12. Hi--I'm new to your blog -- found you via NiteSwimming who recommended you in a recent post. So far I like what I see! This was a great review -- I enjoyed reading it very much! I'm new to book blogging and still trying to find the ones that seem to fit my sensibilities as there are so many out there! : )

  13. Hi
    Dropping by to let you know I have the Butterfly Award for you at


  14. Oh...thats bad, the cover is so nice and the title is so exciting...

  15. Hi! You have received yet another award! Pass it on if you like, or just bask in the love! :-)


  16. amusing as always...lol

    I am not a 4th or 5th grader but I am not going to read it even if I were.

    which makes no sense...

  17. Aw that's too bad!

    Great blog! Do you want to do a link exchange? xoxo

  18. I wouldn't say it sounds like a great book but it does sound like something kids would enjoy. I love series, even YA series but I'd never willingly read this lol.

  19. LisaMay - I'm always happy to add to the blogroll! Glad you asked!

  20. Oh that just stinks. I was almost writing the name down after reading that synopsis. Plus I love the cover and name.



    Thanks for the great and honest review!

  21. Shame to waste such a great cover!

    LOL... in the time I took to read your review, my dog fell asleep, but his eyes just whipped open as I started typing. Poor thing.


  22. Shame to waste such a great cover!

    LOL... in the time I took to read your review, my dog fell asleep, but his eyes just whipped open as I started typing. Poor thing.


  23. Ania - I do the same things to my kids all the time, LOL.


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