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Monday, January 23, 2012

Dead Rules by Randy Russell

Published June 2011 by HarperTeen
Format: Hardcover
ISBN 9780061986703
384 Pages
Series? No
Rating: High School
Source: Library
Challenges: 2012

Till death

Jana Webster and Michael Haynes were in love. They were destined to be together forever.


But Jana's destiny was fatally flawed. And now she's in Dead School, where Mars Dreamcote lurks in the back of the classroom, with his beguiling blue eyes, mysterious smile, and irresistibly warm touch.


Michael and Jana were incomplete without each other. There was no room for Mars in Jana's life—or death—story. Jana was sure Michael would rush to her side soon.


But things aren't going according to Jana's plan. So Jana decides to do whatever it takes to make her dreams come true—no matter what rules she has to break.

For the first 100 pages of this book I was hooked. Jana is riding on a bus to an unknown location and she can not remember how she got on the bus. I knew that she was dead and everyone on the bus knew that she was dead and yet I liked being as clueless as she was. What I did not like was staying that way.

I am a fan of the subtle info dropping. Only put information that the reader needs to know in order to follow what is going on. I am okay with info dumps if they are done the right way but that rarely ever happens. Randy Russell avoid info dumps like his life depends on it. The problem with this is that he never explains anything. Everything that would help with the world building is never told and the small parts that I did get were never explained.

How does Jana know about Dead School without being told but the people outside of the Dead World have no idea it exists? Why did Jana like Micheal so much? Why weren't any of the levels of the dead explained?

There were so many things that the reader, that's me, had to take for fact or guess like crazy to understand.

Also I really disliked the cover. I can't explain why but the extreme close up just bugged me all around.

Okay as a community service I am going to define a couple of words that are used throughout the book that I really wished would have been explained to me. They will be covered with black marks for your convenience.

Dead School:
A place for teens who die. The reason that they go here is because they have died before they were able to really make their own decision. It does not make sense to me at all.

The part of the world that is occupied by the living.

Someone who dies in an accident that was not caused by their own actions. Murder, accident, natural causes, ect. They are on the way to heaven after they graduate if they do not cause too much trouble at Dead School.

Someone who is in a coma. They lay in hospital stretchers and are wheeled about from class to class. They have the possibility of going back to the Planet which is another word for where the living reside.

Someone who was doing something wrong at the time of their death. If they do anything bad they get expelled and presumably go straight to hell. This makes no sense to me because what if you died doing something bad but before that happened you were the most well behaved person in the world. Will you still become a slider. They are closer to earth and can do more things than anyone else. Isn't being a slider supposed to be a punishment?

Someone who died before they had sex in any way, shape or form. This is supposed to be the most lucky classification. It did not seem that way. All they did was walk around singing with what seemed like no will of their own. They were hall monitors, fill in for end of class bells, and all around annoying. People feared them but I never saw any justification for it. Kind of reminds me of the entire book in a way. No justification for anything.

Someone who has committed suicide. They have no will of their own and walk around ratting on people.

I realize that that is not a whole lot but that is all that I was given to work with. Most of it up there is guess work, too.

Overall despite the originality of Dead Rules the fact that nothing is properly explained or shown left a lot to be desired. The ending was so open ended that the only way to redeem it would be fact that there had been a sequel in the works but I don't think that I could bring myself to read it.

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