Sunday, February 25, 2018

Death and Douglas by J. W. Ocker - ADVISABLE

Ocker, J.W. Death and Douglas, 362 pages. Sky Pony Press, 2017. $17. Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: PG; Violence PG.

For twelve-year-old Douglas Mortimer, death has been a way of life.  He practically sleeps with the dead since he lives in the Mortimer Family Funeral Home his parents run.  Douglas has always thought that death was natural and normal.  He knows how to deal with death.  Until he doesn’t.  Until the day when bodies start showing up with a letter carved in their cheeks.  Suddenly Douglas has to face a different kind of death and he’s not sure he’s up to it.  He and his friends decide to secretly investigate the murders, which starts out almost as a game, but gets progressively more frightening, especially to Douglas. 

The writing style and New England town in the fall are reminiscent of Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes.  I loved the descriptive writing, though it may offer a mild challenge for elementary readers.  The story is divided into days of the week, which makes it cool, especially with the plot arc.  I thought the depiction of growing up and being surrounded by death was done in a sensitive manner and it is refreshing to have parents who are alive and intelligent in a young adult novel.

EL, MS - ADVISABLE.  Michelle in the Middle

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