I just finished reading an ARC of The Life and Death Parade, by Eliza Wass! I received this from Disney Hyperion through Netgalley, thank you! This does not change my opinion of the book in any way.
"One year ago, Kitty's boyfriend Nikki Bramley visited a psychic who told him he had no future. Now, he's dead.
With the Bramley family grieving in separate corners of their home, Kitty sets out to find the psychic who read Nikki his fate. Instead she finds Roan, an enigmatic boy posing as a medium who belongs to the Life and Death Parade--a group of supposed charlatans that explore, and exploit, the thin veil between this world and the next. A group whose members include the psychic... and Kitty's late mother.
Desperate to learn more about the group and their connection to Nikki, Kitty convinces Roan to return to the Bramley house with her and secures a position for him within the household. Roan quickly ingratiates himself with the Bramleys, and soon enough it seems like everyone is ready to move on. Kitty, however, increasingly suspects Roan knows more about Nikki than he's letting on. And when they finally locate the Life and Death Parade, and the psychic who made that fateful prophecy to Nikki, Kitty uncovers a secret about Roan that changes everything.
From rising star Eliza Wass comes a sophisticated, mesmerizing meditation on the depths of grief and the magic of faith. After all, it only works if you believe it. "
This book was incredible, in a way that I did not expect. I knew it was a magical realism story, but that was it. This book felt like a My Chemical Romance song - dark, twisted and surprising.
Kitty is a girl who lives with a somewhat foster family in a castle. Her boyfriend, Nikki, died under mysterious circumstances. This death really affects the family, so Kitty does what she can to make them feel better, including hiring Roan, a member of the Life and Death Parade who can talk to ghosts. Through this, she gets more accustomed to the Life and Death Parade, a group of individuals who perform dark magic tricks for tourists, and who can also perform real dark magic, such as fortune telling and raising the dead. Of course, one runs into problems when meddling with dark magic...
What I found incredible is that this book wanted to make you believe in this magic, all while wanting you to doubt it. It played with contrasts a lot. It never fell into the obvious or the cliche - for example there easily could have been a love triangle, yet Wass wrote the potential love interest as gay, making the love story a part of the background of the book rather than its center. And yet again, it was vital to the plot. Wass is a master weaver - pulling ideas back and forth through the novel, creating a beautiful work of art.
This book is set to be very hyped as soon as it's published. The writing was dark yet elegant and graceful, with intricately woven ideas and metaphors about life and death. The ending was explosive and something I could not have seen coming if I tried.
I really liked the characters! They were each peculiar in their own way, and made for an odd harmonious cast. Holiday was creepy, Macklin was elegant, Kitty is spirited and Nikki was unusual. They have a strong yet eerie relationship. The characters from the Parade were very original, with just the right dose of creepiness to feel the unsettled atmosphere of the Parade (which was more of a carnival).
I was amazed by the author's ability to simply use word choice and sentence structure to create an atmosphere of any kind. This book was not about young love, it was about how people react to death, which made for a fascinating read, unlike any YA I have read so far.
I don't want to give away too much about this book, as I really think that it is something you should fully discover for yourself once it is released, in July of this year!
I'm giving this a 4.5 / 5 feathers!