There is no death…only a change in worlds.
I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
I got kind of excited writing that for the first time.
There is no death… only a change in worlds.
Tina Crocker is having the best day of her life as she performs at the school’s largest talent show. She kills it. Literally. The moment she steps off stage: Tina Crocker croaks and ends up in… Dead School.
Author: Laura Gia West
Black Rose Writing
Rating: 3/5 Stars
I have a weird fascination with books that involve the main character dying right off the bat and the rest of the book revolving around the afterlife. A good example of this is Shallow Graves, which I did a review for, or a series I loved to read as a teenager, The Skinjacker Trilogy. And that is why I requested this…because she’s dead.
Tina Crocker is a high schooler with a love of music. For the first time, she musters up enough courage to perform and after receiving great feedback, she dies.
Welcome To Dead School
I big reason I wanted to read this is the premise: a school for the dead, but not in the way I thought. Tina still doesn’t have to go through high school and study math despite being dead. Dead School is where she’ll stay until ready to move onto the next chapter of her life or current life. There she learns how to be a Guide, a soul that helps a living soul reach their destiny. Since Tina failed her life mission, it being love, and this is Tina’s 5,000th+ life that she’s failed, there’s even more pressure on her to do well.
I think the concept of Dead School and all the layers with it grabbed my attention the most. I like the concept of the different titles you can have after death. One example is a Crafter, a job Tina thought she would have, which means making art and influencing artists still living, but since she failed, she becomes a Guide’s Assistant.
Throughout the book, Tina has to learn how to navigate through Dead School, care for others, and discover a love for herself.
The premise alone is a fun read and there’s always something new around the corner to learn about this version of life after death, but when it comes to everything else…I really wanted to get onboard with Tina but she wasn’t the most likable character.
I mentioned, in the beginning, Tina was always too scared to perform and didn’t speak up much, but after she dies all that changes. Tina always has a snarky remark for everything and wouldn’t take her assignments seriously. I thought, throughout the book, she’d start to understand that messing around wouldn’t help her pass, but it wasn’t until the end that she finally had that “ah-ha moment.”
The other characters are okay. She has a love interest named Alexei who committed suicide and Tina makes a snide remark about him killing himself which put me off her character the second I read it.
There’s also Melinda, who she is paired up with to Guide, and their relationship confused me the most. In the beginning, Melinda came off as a teenager too obsessed with social media and herself, and Tina hated her instantly. Sure Melinda is an ass and gets worse throughout the book, but I didn’t understand what Melinda did for Tina to tell her to piss off after she says one sentence to her.
I also didn’t like how it was for animals. Tina was in trouble for her lack of love, but she loved her cat, but I guess animal souls don’t count? But the animals show up there when they die, but you can only see an animal three times in their special “heaven.” So they don’t count when it comes to love, but they still have their own paradise.
Sure you can argue loving an animal isn’t the same as a person, but you could also argue it’s stronger. At least, that’s my opinion.
I liked so much about the actual school and learning how to move things in the “real” world, teleporting, and influencing the living to do things through subliminal messages.
But when you have an unlikable main character who just can’t seem to understand that by purposefully messing up their test would lead them to potentially having a horrible next life, it becomes frustrating.
Would I recommend this? If the premise grabs you, then you could end up enjoying it despite my grievances. Just because I didn’t resonate with Tina doesn’t mean someone else won’t. I just felt her personality changed once she died and she didn’t listen and acted out when she didn’t get her way.
I’d put this in the middle of my feelings. There are some big positives, but for me, when I can’t get on board with the main characters, or even understand their motives, then the story dwindles.