Title: The Grim Life
Series: 2015 Freshman Class
Author: K.D. Worth
Length: Novel (186 pages)
Publisher: Harmony Ink (March 12th, 2015)
Heat Level: Mild
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5 Hearts
Blurb: Max Shaw is dead.
Well, sort of.
After dying on prom night, Max was recruited by a mysterious tattooed angel named Slade to join a group of teenage reapers. Cocky and sarcastic, Max thinks he has his afterlife together, but the moment Slade assigns him to his first suicide case, everything changes.
Christian college student Kody Michaels is struggling to make sense of his life and his faith. After a failed suicide attempt at an antigay camp, Kody is determined not to fail again. Tired of disappointing his family and God, he is going to end his life once and for all.
But in a split-second decision, Max saves Kody—defying the rules of a reaper.
Max believes his only concern is convincing Kody that God loves him just the way he is, so he can save him from a hellish afterlife as a shade. Little does Max know, some shades have found a way to walk among the living as wraiths. These evil wraiths know Kody has been slated for death, and they have another, darker purpose for him.
Max has only one night to save Kody before one of Slade’s team finishes the job Max lacked the courage to complete.
Purchase Link: http://www.harmonyinkpress.com/books/the-grim-life-by-kd-worth-259-b
Review: Max Shaw is frozen in time having died at the age of sixteen, on prom night of all nights. He now lives his afterlife as a reaper, collecting souls at the time of their death. The job has always been simple enough and Max has never broken any of the rules, but his latest charge changes everything. When Max finds a guy, not a boy but not quite yet a man, about to jump off a bridge, something inside him shifts. Instead of leading Kody into his afterlife, Max saves his life and puts them both in danger.
After coming out to his ultra conservative parent’s, Kody was sent to a “camp” that was supposed to get his head on “straight”. All it did was screw his mind up and make him think there was something wrong with him, that he is bad because he is gay. This was not his first suicide attempt, but Max is determined to make sure it is his last. That is if he can keep Kody safe from his boss, the Grim Reaper Slade, and the evil Shades that possess bodies at the time of their death to elongate their own miserable existence.
This book deals with a few dark and dangerous aspects of young, gay life. Parents that fail at their number one job, to love their child unconditionally. Suicide, dying before your time, the darker side of the spirit and coming to terms with who you are. Worth did an amazing job of balancing every negative in the story with something positive though, which gave the story as well as the characters depth. While Max’s life was far different from Kody’s, Max kept the truth about his sexuality to himself. Now he will stop at nothing to protect Kody, keep him alive, and convince him that it is okay to be attracted to someone of the same-sex.
I was very intrigued with this story, there was a huge spiritual aspect to it, sometimes fanatical, but it was ever-present throughout the story. Yet, I only felt like I was being preached at once, with Kody’s neighbor who I wanted to “fix” Kody. And then there was the life, death and afterlife trifecta of the story. Who is the mysterious Slade that governs over the Reapers? And why is he so hell bent on delivering Kody to his afterlife when Max feels that him saving Kody was the right thing to do. Is Slade really on God’s side, or are his machinations starting to run darker?
Well written, intriguing and while this is a YA story, I never lost interest or felt the content was immature or lacking. The characters are young and face real problems other teenagers their age and in their similar situations face. They just don’t usually face their death by being offered a job as a Reaper.
If you are a fan of stories that are raw with a fantastical kind of reality behind them, then I think you’ll enjoy this light read.