I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Random House on August 26, 2014
Source: the publisher
Home is where the bodies are buried.
Darkly humorous and heart-wrenchingly beautiful, Jennifer Longo’s YA debut about a girl stuck living in a cemetery will change the way you look at life, death, and love.
Leigh sells graves for her family-owned cemetery because her father is too lazy to look farther than the dinner table when searching for employees. Working the literal graveyard shift, she meets two kinds of customers:
Pre-Need: They know what’s up. They bought their graves a long time ago, before they needed them.
At Need: They are in shock, mourning a loved one’s unexpected death. Leigh avoids sponging their agony by focusing on things like guessing the headstone choice (mostly granite).
Sarcastic and smart, Leigh should be able to stand up to her family and quit. But her world’s been turned upside down by the sudden loss of her best friend and the appearance of Dario, the slightly-too-old-for-her grave digger. Surrounded by death, can Leigh move on, if moving on means it’s time to get a life?
Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on the Six Feet Over It blog tour! Today, I’m sharing with you my review of this young adult coming-of-age story. Enjoy!
Six Feet Over It was a quirky, if not slightly morbid, book about a young girl growing up – and learning important life lessons – in a cemetery. Surrounded by death all day, everyday, Leigh has to learn to cope with life’s many challenges, shocks and surprises (both pleasant and unpleasant).
Leigh was an odd character and it took me awhile to get inside her head, though I never completely did. She’s slightly younger than I realized when I first started reading – just 14-years-old at the start of the book, 16-years-old by the end. Leigh starts out sounding and feeling very young. She takes what life gives her and goes through the motions of day-to-day chores and activities. Leigh has little to no character development for the majority of the book. Then, suddenly, she wakes up one day and – BAM! Her whole outlook on life has changed. She makes things right with everyone, standing up to her father and apologizing to those she wronged. It was a little jarring, if not desperately needed.
I really didn’t connect with Dario. Though his relationship with Leigh was completely platonic (at least in his mind.. She may have thought otherwise at some moments..), it was still a bit odd to see their interactions, with him being five years older than her. He taught her a lot about life and death, though, and helped her cope with so many things. He encourages her to stand up to her parents, to embrace new friendships. In the long run, he helped her learn some valuable lessons. But what he asked of her in the end? It was stupid and dangerous and he never should have asked that of a young girl.
I couldn’t stand Kai. I know she went through a lot. I feel bad about that. But all she does is whine, sigh and cry until she gets her way. Her attitude, on several occasions, resulted in Wade and Meredith (aka mom and dad) forcing more responsibility upon Leigh, responsibility she shouldn’t havet had to bear the weight of alone. Kai was the big sister, but she never acted the part.
I really, really loved Elanor. There was something about her that made me want to root for her. She was brave and strong, kind in ways Leigh was not in the beginning. She reminded me of a girl I knew in elementary school – one I had a falling out with, something I still regret after all these years. Despite Elanor’s odd upbringing, she was more sure of herself and more confident than Leigh. She knew how to stand up for herself and I admired her for that. I’m really happy with the way her story ended.
I couldn’t stand Wade and Meredith. If there’s a Worst Parent of the Year Award, it would be a tie between these two. Though if push came to shove, Wade would win it. Meredith kind of redeemed herself a little bit in the end. Wade was never fair to Leigh. He saddled her with so much responsibility, forced her to handle certain situations that she should NOT have had to handle. Wade, as the adult – as the one who decided to buy the cemetery – should have done more than he did.
A big issue I had with this book was the writing style. It took me awhile to get used to it. It was very choppy, with short, jerky sentences and incomplete thoughts. I didn’t like it at first, though I got used to it after awhile. It slowly blended with Leigh’s voice and character. Another thing I had an issue with is the timeline. The timeline moved freakishly fast and with little to no logic. One second it was fall and Leigh’s birthday, then suddenly it was summer then, out of nowhere, winter. Then summer again, then fall and back to Leigh’s birthday. I will say that this allowed the book to come full circle, which allowed for more closure. But it wasn’t a logical jump and it really threw me off.
Though Leigh’s character development was late in the story and very abrupt, she still did learn some important lessons that allowed her to see the error of her ways and mature in the end. The plot was unique and intriguing. It allows the reader to process the idea of death and change in a safe, comfortable way. It teaches the reader that death doesn’t have to be the end, change doesn’t have to be scary and life does go on after the loss of a loved one.
Overall, though Six Feet Over It didn’t wow me as I’d hoped it would, it was still an enjoyable book, flaws and all. I definitely recommend it to the 13-16 age group, though older readers might also appreciate it. I think it’s safe to say that we can expect great things from Jennifer Longo and I’m still definitely excited for her next book, whatever it may be about.