Book Review: Darynda Jones’ Death and the Girl Next Door

Posted April 15, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews, Young Adult readers

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Darynda Jones’ Death and the Girl Next Door

Death and the Girl Next Door


Darynda Jones

urban fantasy in Paperback edition that was published by St. Martin's Press on October 2, 2012 and has 274 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include First Grave on the Right, Second Grave on the Left, Third Grave Dead Ahead, "For I Have Sinned", Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet, Fifth Grave Past the Light, Sixth Grave on the Edge, Seventh Grave and No Body, Eighth Grave After Dark, The Dirt on Ninth Grave, The Curse of Tenth Grave, Eleventh Grave in Moonlight, The Trouble with Twelfth Grave

First in the Darklight urban fantasy series young YA based in Riley’s Switch, New Mexico.

My Take

Well, this is the YA version of Charlie Davidson, her other series about a grim reaper who falls in love with someone she shouldn’t. Too bad it’s not as well done. To be honest, my eyeballs got sore reading this with all the rollin’ they were doin’.

Although, to be fair. This quite possibly may be how younger teens interact with each other. Thank you, god, that I am an adult. I suspect this is one of those stories only for young teens — adults shouldn’t bother.

Oh, c’mon. Her parents have been dead for years and she still needs her hands held? Then there’s the initial scene when Azrael chooses unwisely and all the ensuing excessive melodrama. Gag. Yeah, and if Cameron is who he says he is, how is it that he can’t tell the truth about what happened with that initial action by Azrael?? Follow this up with all the
overwrought sequences with Lusk and Azrael refusing to explain anything. Oh, yeah, baby, sttrrreeeetttttccccchhhhhh that story out, fill up them pages…! But why must it be at my expense, wahhh…

Why isn’t Cameron living at home?

I just hate the clichéd use of the refusal to explain anything. It’s so much easier to just drag people around and ignore them.

I’m not buying the logic on this. Azrael is supposed to speed up a death in order to save two other lives in order that the person they would have hit doesn’t die, but the person whose death is to be sped up is too critical to the world’s future AND is expected in Heaven. What their prophecies only work when they’re dead? Convoluted? I really can’t say more without spoiling the story. If you have such a plethora of time available that you’ll actually borrow this from the library — hint, hint — you’ll see what I mean.

Ooh, coinkydinks. Yup. I ain’t believing it neither, nor does Jones provide a reason why this particular news team shows up in this particular town on this particular date. What? Just because your readers are young teens, you figure they’re not bright??

Arghh, it’s just full of illogical melodrama and manufactured excuses. Wait’ll you learn the truth about Lorelei’s parents’ death…lame, stupid, idiotic…etc.

The Story

The story opens on the anniversary of Lorelei’s parents’ death with her two best friends doing what they do every year — keeping her company, distracting her mind, sharing her grief.

With death on the menu, how can it help popping up everywhere!

The Characters

Lorelei McAlister is a pastor’s granddaughter — her parents died in a traffic accident. She has a most unwelcome gift — when she brushes up against someone, she can see their past. Grandpa, Bill, is the pastor of the Sanctuary, a nondenominational church in Riley’s Switch. He, Grandma, and Lorelei run a small convenience store.

Casey Niyol Blue-Spider, a.k.a., the Glitch, is one of Lorelei’s best friends along with Brooklyn Prather.

Cameron Lusk is a classmate who keeps very much to himself. Mr. Lusk is the father who has a hard time accepting what Cameron is, although he does love his son; Hannah Noel was Cameron’s mother. Jared Kovach is a new student who seems much too familiar. Tabitha Sind is, in Lorelei’s words, “ill equipped to be human”; Amber Gonzales is the “A” to her “T”. Ashlee and Sydnee Southern are cohorts with a problem. Need I even mention that they’re all cheerleaders. Principal Alan Davis remembers Kovach from long ago. Elliott Davis was his brother who died years ago. Ms. Mullins is a very level-headed teacher.

Jophiel is Nephilim, the messenger, “placed upon earth to protect the prophet”. Azrael is a Seraphim, also a messenger, and the Angel of Death.

Sheriff Dewayne Villanueva, Betty Jo is grandma’s friend, Mr. Lusk, and the Prathers are some of the townspeople in on it.

Arabeth was the first prophet back in the mists of time, like 1200 B.C., or so. Geez, even the story explaining the bloodlines is lame. Interesting, but not logical in terms of elderly grandparents being able to raise enough money to send three children off into the world before they’re old enough to be on their own.

John Dell, a reporter from the Tourist Channel, is in town to cover the ghostly hotel.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a group portrait above of Jared, Lorelei, and Cameron while the bottom is a golden perspective of lockers stretching down a long, long hallway.

The title is just too cute with death on kissing terms with the pastor’s granddaughter in Death and the Girl Next Door.