Published by HarperTeen (4.30.2013)
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: eARC, 352 pages
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Moving to a new high school sucks. Especially a rich-kid private school. With uniforms. But nothing is worse than finding out the first girl you meet is dead. And a klepto.
No one can see or hear Kimberlee except Jeff, so--in hopes of bringing an end to the snarkiest haunting in history--he agrees to help her complete her "unfinished business." But when the enmity between Kimberlee and Jeff's new crush, Sera, manages to continue posthumously, Jeff wonders if he's made the right choice.
While it didn’t impress me much at all, Life After Theft was a cute, fluffy read. I had some major issues in the beginning, but turned out to be an OK read.
To be honest, Jeff annoyed the crap out of me in the first half. This book reminded me why I hate reading in male POV. He was the typical guy, checking out every girl he sees, and talking about how ‘hot’ they were. Constantly. Seriously, if the word ‘hot’ had been used one more time I would have thrown something. And what’s wrong with ‘beautiful’ or ‘pretty?’ Ugh. It annoyed me. Jeff seemed kinda shallow at the beginning, but he did get better – and it wasn’t even because of character growth, he was just inconsistent. I feel like Pike was trying so hard to make him seem like a teenage boy in the beginning that she stuffed all the shallow dude tropes in the first half and forgot to add any later on.
Something else that really irritated me? He went to a party and put on an act just to fit in: Pretending to be someone he’s not, changing his style of dress, drinking beer even though he doesn’t like it just because it’s ‘cool.’
Kimberlee, our ghost, was alright. I liked her better than Jeff despite her glaring issues, but she still didn’t have much of a personality. And some of the things she said were just plain odd. Several times I thought to myself, Who talks like that?
The ‘romance’ was
instalove nope, not even that…more like instalust. Jeff sees ‘hot’ girl, instantly ‘likes’ her and wants to date her, before he even talked to her. Really? You’re saying you ‘like’ her based solely on what she looks like? Seriously, dude. He was all ‘I met this girl and I can’t have her’ and he didn’t even actually meet her. Just stared at her ass from a distance.
“You don’t understand. I like this girl, Kimberlee.’ Like, a lot. Weirdly a lot.
YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW HER. And Kimberlee called him on it, too:
“Well, she’s a really awesome girl.” And hot. So very, very hot.
“Says who? You’ve known her for what, a day?”
“Yeah, but she was nice to me without even knowing who I was. Nicer than anyone else I’ve met her so far.”
(See what I mean about the word hot?) So you think she’s ‘really awesome’ because she’s ‘hot’ and she was nice to you? Seriously? Argh. And to make it worse, there were really cheesy things like ‘All I knew for sure was I could stare in her eyes all day’ and ‘With a smile like hers, I didn’t need beer to feel drunk.’ Gag me with a spoon. He didn’t even care about her mind, just her body.
I was sort of listening, but I admit she was wearing one of her shorter skirts and I was taking full advantage of the fact that her back was to me. Besides, I was in AP calc – if she asked me a question, I could probably come up with a decent answer fast enough to avoid getting caught.
Sera turned to me with a smile. “You’re such a good listener,” she said appreciatively.
I shrugged in a faux-modest way. Just don’t ask me what you were talking about.
“Other guys I dated wanted to talk about their games and their latest session in the weight room and…well, about themselves, pretty much all the time.”
“That’s the advantage of dating a nerd,” I said. “Guys are pretty much all the same.”
Are you f*cking kidding me? First of all, if you can’t respect someone enough to show actual interest when they’re talking, then you don’t truly like them. Second of all, then you’re going to pretend you’re different than those other guys, when you were too busy staring at her ass to care about what she was saying? Douchebag. Not that I should be surprised, because his idea of a good relationship was ‘all about finding common ground. And then making out on it.’
The characters were all flat and there seemed to be a specific mold for each one and how they should act: The beefy wrestler slash overprotective brother, the girly cheerleader, the average guy who wants said cheerleader…I dunno. Everything just seemed really cliche to me.
She looked down almost nervously and tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear. I figured that would be it, but after a second, she looked up and smiled shyly.
What, does she have to fit the girly mold? All giggling and tucking hair (and did I mention she’s a cheerleader)? For some reason this just really bothered me! It was like that with all the characters, though…they were all cardboard cutouts.
A very minor thing, yet still annoyed me: GTA and D&D. I really hate it when authors abbreviate things in books. If it’s in spoken dialogue between characters, it’s one thing. But for the character’s inner dialogue, no. Just no. Especially when most people probably won’t know what GTA means. D&D, maybe. I know GTA because I’m a gamer girl, but I still think it should have been spelled out.
It did get better in the last half, at least. I found myself actually kind of enjoying it because I was curious about the backstory. There was a little bit of a moral at the end, when Kimberlee finally realized she was wrong…but I feel like there wasn’t enough of a spotlight on it. Because that was pretty much the purpose of the story; to right wrongs. There should have been more focus on her learning that moral.
The premise was interesting, and the book really did have potential. Too bad it was ruined by a crappy MC and cheesy romance. I couldn’t connect to the story or the characters, and there was so much eye rolling and heavy sighing going on that I’m surprised I didn’t burst a blood vessel. This is supposed to be a retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel, which I haven’t seen or read because I’m not into historical. So if you liked that, maybe you would enjoy Life After Theft.
Writing style: 2.5/5
Overall rating: 2.5/5 starfish
Awesome review! It kind of sucks that this book wasn’t great, but it’s good to know. I honestly was never that interested in it to begin with, and I was only going to consider reading it because I got an ARC.. But now I think I won’t bother! Thanks for the fab review, girl!
I wasn’t even going to get it from EW at first, but I saw some good reviews on friends’ blogs and thought I’d try anyway because I was curious. Sigh. Should have listened to my gut!
Thank you for reinforcing my decision to give this one a pass! All those quotes you posted had me rolling my eyes and the MC sounds like a real douche. If we’re playing on stereotypes here, shouldn’t the nerdy gamer be a nice guy, who actually listens when the girl he likes talks?
GTA = Grand Theft Auto? No clue what D&D is.
Dungeons and Dragons – The most STEREOTYPICAL nerd game EVER.
Right?! Nerds are supposed to the good guys! He just thought like a stuck up jock but with the ‘nerd’ label on himself. Sigh.
Wow, these characters sound awful! I think I’ll skip this one.
Boo-Hoo-Hoo. I’m still sad this one hasn’t been as loved. Specifically since i was so excited for the Scarlet Pimernel part. But gah. You’re so convincing Nator twin. I think I may still give it a try in the future but for now I’ll pass. *le sigh* >.<
You should still try it, you might like it :)
Okay. I will. Because I’m hopelessly in love with the REAL Scarlet Pimpernelt.
Watch. The. Movie.
OKAY OKAY I WILL :p
Very Well. I am at ease.
Ooh I’m sorry you didn’t love this one as much D: I liked it better than you because I didn’t really notice a lot with Jeff’s character, but I can see where you didn’t like some parts of him and every other character and the romance >.<
Fantastic review, Jessi!
Oh hell no! I can’t stand characters like Jeff. I’m going to skip this one, thanks for the warning!
I had the exact sentiments about this book. It was horribly stereotypical. The instalust, the dull characters, the boring plot = ugh. Jeff as a character really sucked.
I’m glad it wasn’t just me! I always feel like I’m being too cynical when I have so many complaints about a book…