When Curtis Brooks starts receiving phone calls from his older brother Wilt, who’s been dead a week, he’s sure it’s to help him find evidence that will lead to a murderer’s arrest. But Wilt claims he wasn’t murdered; his calling, meant to help him adjust, is standard protocol for newly deceased at the Aftermart—a kind of inescapable, ever-expanding Walmart filled with discontinued products.
Wilt’s death ruled a homicide, Curtis embarks on a dangerous plan to find the killer, which soon has him scheming against a billionaire and floundering toward love with his brother’s ex-girlfriend Suzy, all while struggling through high school and his single mom’s poor choices.
Why does Wilt help Curtis win over Suzy, even as he organizes a rebellion at the Aftermart? Who’d wanted him dead? Curtis risks his life to answer these questions, in the process forging a bond with his brother unlike any they’ve ever had.
Published April 12th 2016 by Automatic Publishing
Available: Amazon | The Book Depository (affiliate links)
This heartfelt novel deals with a lot of serious and dark themes in a way that is poignant while retaining the darkish sense of humor of the protagonist. Curtis's main problem in the story is, on the surface, dealing with his brother's calls from a strange sort of after life that seem to be leading Curtis to find out how his brother passed away. It looks like murder at the hands of some seriously dangerous people involved in some dark and seedy activities.
The book engages readers by looking into some of the darker parts of human nature as Curtis encounters these individuals. It also explores topics that many young adults will relate to as he struggles with his parent's divorce when he was young, taking medications for conditions that are never quite explained to him - but that help with his hyperactivity and aggression. He also has to deal with his own choices. Will he compromise what he believes to be right or will he let the darkness and heaviness of it all draw him into the same bad choices of those around him?
Curtis's interactions with Wilt in his afterlife experience are interesting, but to me they weren't the driving force of the book. Though, in the context of the book, they actually did take place, they served the same purpose that hallucinations or dreams would have served. They helped him deal with his grief, solve problems, and provided and element of mystery and even humor to the dark life that Curtis is left to deal with.
Young Adult Notes: contains graphic mentions of sexual content, mild language, mild violence and graphic animal violence.
Source: I received a copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for a fair review.