Author: Eric Laster
Publisher: Automatic Publishing
Published Date: April 19th 2016
Genre: Mystery, YA, Realistic Fiction
Page Count: 336
My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
When Curtis Brooks starts receiving phone calls from his older brother Wilt, who’s been dead a week, he’s sure it’s to help him find evidence that will lead to a murderer’s arrest. But Wilt claims he wasn’t murdered; his calling, meant to help him adjust, is standard protocol for newly deceased at the Aftermart—a kind of inescapable, ever-expanding Walmart filled with discontinued products.
Wilt’s death ruled a homicide, Curtis embarks on a dangerous plan to find the killer, which soon has him scheming against a billionaire and floundering toward love with his brother’s ex-girlfriend Suzy, all while struggling through high school and his single mom’s poor choices.
Why does Wilt help Curtis win over Suzy, even as he organizes a rebellion at the Aftermart? Who’d wanted him dead? Curtis risks his life to answer these questions, in the process forging a bond with his brother unlike any they’ve ever had.
“It was their having lived reminded me how everything bad, good, and otherwise passes. The nonstop, impersonal shove of time – not the particulars of anybody’s life.”
When Curtis’s brother dies in a car crash, but the police think he was murdered. Yet they don’t have any suspects, or any idea why he would be a target. Making Curtis start his own investigation to find out what happened, and why his brother was even on that street at night anyway.
About a week after his brother’s death Curtis starts getting calls from Wilt who is in some gigantic Walmart type of place that is forever changing and expanding. Who is calling because his shrink Sean is recommending it, and because as much as he hates to admit it he misses Curtis.
At first no one believes him that he’s talking to Wilt until they talk to him to and then his mom starts getting even weirder then normal and his dad demands that the body be DNA tested because he can’t believe that Wilt is calling from beyond the grave. Then we have mom dating Curtis counselor at school Dr. M who is just trying way too hard to relate to the kids.
Wilt ends up helping Curtis in his investigation while he is also dealing with after death problems and exploring the Walmart like mart.
As Curtis learns more about his brother and what he was a part of and what might have gotten him killed, he starts learning things about himself as well. Curtis goes from being a young guy who constantly thinks about sex to a young guy who realizes that family means everything even if his is a little messed up. Btw did anyone else want to slap his dad across the face when he gave the reason for why he left? I mean really grow up. I still don’t understand though how his mom was getting the pseudo children or how she was even going to afford to house that many, when you consider she was struggling before she got them.
Overall I did like this book. Curtis was a realistic character. He dealt with death by avoiding it and then when he couldn’t do that he started investigating in order to find out what actually happened to Wilt. There were some questionable morals when it came to his brother’s girlfriend. Somehow I just didn’t like what they did together. I know Wilt said it was okay and everything, but still it just made me a little uneasy. This is a book for all ages though, and made some good points, when it comes to grief. I also loved the whole mystery/thriller side to this story. Multiple times throughout this book, I was worried for Curtis and his mom. Between the disgustingly creepy landlord (anytime he was on the page I couldn’t wait for him to leave.) and the stuff that Wilt had been involved in, there were so many outside threats that could hurt them that I didn’t want to put the book down until I finished it and knew they were safe.
If you can get past the boy talk of their junk all the time and how they constantly focus on sex, then you will find this book enjoyable. After a while I just started glazing over those parts, because let’s face it there were more crotch grabs by Curtis friends then there were real interaction between them.
No matter how old you are I think you should read this book if you want to see death from a male teenager perspective.
I received an advance reader copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.