Publishing Info: April 30, 2013 by HarperCollins
Genres: Ghosts, Paranormal, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: May 4, 2013
Moving to a new high school sucks. Especially a rich-kid private school. With uniforms. But nothing is worse than finding out the first girl you meet is dead. And a klepto.
No one can see or hear Kimberlee except Jeff, so--in hopes of bringing an end to the snarkiest haunting in history--he agrees to help her complete her "unfinished business." But when the enmity between Kimberlee and Jeff's new crush, Sera, manages to continue posthumously, Jeff wonders if he's made the right choice.
Clash meets sass in this uproarious modern-day retelling of Baroness Orczy's The Scarlet Pimpernel.
So, LIFE AFTER THEFT is a retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel, which I was kind of surprised to hear! Then again, I don’t really know much of anything about The Scarlet Pimpernel so I’m not really sure why I was so surprised… I guess just because it seems like an uncommon choice.
My first reaction after finishing was 1) that I really liked seeing a male POV and 2) it was a quick read and an interesting story. Did it wow me? Did it knock me off my feet? Meh… No. But LIFE AFTER THEFT was still enjoyable the whole way through and it was a quick and easy read.
One thing I love about male POVs in YA (especially when it’s a female author writing a male POV, in my opinion) is that they always seem to be so snarky and witty — maybe it’s so they have that edge that a female MC might not? Personally, I love that snark and that was kind of how LIFE AFTER THEFT started off. Throughout the whole book, though, I think I was just hoping for more. Our main character Jeff was actually a nice guy (that was kind of the purpose of the whole book) so what started off as snarky and sarcastic didn’t really carry through the whole book like I wanted it to!
I enjoyed the characters but didn’t end up falling in love with any of them. Jeff is a good guy in a tough situation (I do NOT envy his ability to see a ghost), Kimberlee is stuck between two worlds, Sera has a past, and Khail does as well… They were all perfectly good characters but no one really stuck out for me to say, “YES, I really liked Character X.”
There are a lot of really nice “life lesson” situations in this book and we see a lot of coming-of-age experiences and life-changing situations (divorce, moving, death, love, drugs, alcohol, sex). Besides the life lessons at the end of the book (of course we know they’re going to learn something from all of this!), the life-changings situations didn’t take over the whole book, which I was happy for. There were plenty of serious topics being addressed and floating around this whole ghost situation, but I still felt like the book had an overall happy & light feel. The only thing that bothered me really was 1) an instance of…. I wouldn’t call it insta-love because it wasn’t. More like “We’ve-known-each-other-for-a-month-love” which is still too insta-lovey for me!
(Actually, I could totally see Jeff being a Ted Mosby-type character…)
Jeff: Jeff is a good guy. No, really. He’s a truly good person! His decision to help out Kimberlee’s ghost really is the entire book, so go, Jeff for being so nice! I was actually hoping for a tiny bit more sarcasm & snark and less “good guy” from him (just since that was the immediate feeling I got from the first few pages), but turns out he’s kind of a Ted Mosby. Not a bad thing, but just not what I was expecting/hoping for! He was extremely noble and that was really admirable to see! Kimberlee: Kimberlee (NOT Kim) is a totally different story. She…. had some issues when she was alive. Mainly legit kleptomania and not just stealing for kicks. She was NOT a nice person when she was alive and she spends a lot of her… haunting time trying to figure out how to redeem herself so she can move on. Sera: Sera was okay for me. I know we were really supposed to like her in the end but I was just always kind of lukewarm towards her. Maybe I should blame Kimberlee for that! Khail: For some reason he just felt forced into the book for me, which really doesn’t make sense because he actually becomes a big part of the plot. I just never fell into step with his character and he never felt natural for me.
LIFE AFTER THEFT was really cute and very entertaining but it wasn’t something I might go out of my way for again. I wouldn’t say pass it up but didn’t quite bump it up on my TBR either.