105 Ways to Give a Book

Dead Connection

Yesterday the whole family went to a nearby water park designed for younger kids. I love this place because it’s small enough that my ten-year-old can go around with a buddy without my constant supervision. She loves it for the same reason. None of the sections of the pool are more than four feet deep, so my seven-year-old has a great time without getting in over her head — literally. We floated in the lazy river, went down the small slides, and crossed over the floating logs, all on a perfect sunny day. And we came home exhausted.

The kids and the husband played a Harry Potter video game while I caught up on my friendly neighborhood blogs. Fortunately, no one has been writing much on the weekend in the summer (myself included), so I could catch up and spend some time reading the back posts of some of my newer blogroll additions. The Best of the Sneeze kept me laughing for a solid hour, so I highly recommend it.

After getting the kids tucked in, I was determined to call it an early night. I decided to just start on one of the many teen books I have piled up, and I would finish it in the morning.

Dead ConnectionTwo and a half hours later, and very close to midnight, I finished Dead Connection, by Charlie Price, with the booktalk introduction already running through my head. What a freaking page turner!

A mix of CSI, Medium, and The Sixth Sense, this book combines the best of the elements into a suspenseful and provocative book. Told in chapters from varying characters’ points of view, the story is laid out in pieces that the reader puts together as new information is constantly revealed. The main character is Murray, a teenage boy who frequents the cemetery to talk to his dead friends. And listen as they talk back to him. He finds comfort in the cemetery, given that his mom is always entertaining different men and can’t take the time out to be a real mother. He finds a live friend in Pearl, a ninth-grade girl and daughter of the cemetery’s caretaker. She is also a misfit and goes about getting Murray’s friendship in all the wrong ways, but it works out for both of them eventually.

Their story is interspersed with that of a detective trying to solve the case of a missing teenage girl, a mentally unstable young man trying to remember something important, and a cop out of control with a drinking problem. Now the odd thing about this book is that all of the rest of the characters — and thus the chapters — are adults. An interesting choice for a YA book. There is some violence and sexual talk — like demanding favors from hookers — which is leading me to question whether I can booktalk this to seventh graders. I don’t think there is anything in here they wouldn’t know from CSI, but I am on the fence.

Which leads to my booktalk idea. I thought I could ask if any of them watch CSI, then ask if anyone would be offended if I talked about a book that was like that show. If they say no, then I talk about the book. If they say yes — and it would probably be some jokester — I say, “Too bad, because I was going to tell you about this book involving the disappearance of a cheerleader, an detective with a mission, and a boy who talks to the dead.”

Anyway, this is a fantastic book for teens and an enjoyable read for adults. Just make sure that when you start it you have allowed enough time to finish it in one sitting. You won’t want to put it down until the very end. I promise you that.


Little Willow said...

Glad to hear that this is a page-turner. I've had it on my to-read list since I read the summary online months ago. :)

Whenever I booktalk or recommend the Body of Evidence series by Christopher Golden, I ask, "Does anyone here like CSI?" :)

Anonymous said...

The book sounds great; I wanted to buy it last time I was at Barnes and Noble, but I wasn't sure it would be particularly good (and it wasn't at the top of my to-buy list, just somewhere in the middle...yeah, it's such a long list I have to write it down and carry it with me). Maybe now that there's been a good reccomendation (yours) I'll pick it up next time!

ZG said...

Oh, yay! Just came to the top of the wait list for this -- my weekend reading is targeted now. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Looks cool! Thanks for writing about it. I've added it to my "to read" list (Of course, that becomes less and less meaningful all the time, as the list expands. Maybe if I were to break both of my legs or something, then I would be able to find time to actually read all of the books on my list. But none of that is your fault. Thanks for the suggestion!).