Published April 1st, 2013 by HarperCollins
When Jeff sees Kimberlee lying in the middle of the hallway at his new school, blowing bubblegum and generally looking gorgeous, he assumes that she is simply your average untouchable, popular girl. But she’s not – she’s been dead for a year, and Jeff is the only one who can see her. Not that he believes her straight away. Eventually, Kimberlee convinces Jeff to help her with her unfinished business so that she can finally leave this Earth. It turns out that she was quite the kleptomaniac when she was alive and has a whole cave full of the goods. She believes that once everything has been returned, she will move on to the next place – wherever that is. Jeff is hardly happy about having to return this mountain of stolen goods, but dutifully goes along with it. His methods for returning the stuff start off mundane, but as the fame of the mysterious stolen-goods-returner grows, Jeff’s methods have to get a little bit more creative . . .
Being Dead is Just the Beginning . . .
I liked the premise of this novel. There’s something about these ghost-like themed books that draws me in – probably because they’re bound to end in tragedy, and I love that bittersweet angle. Also, I have read the first book in Aprilynne Pike’s fairy series, Wings, and loved it – so that was another reason for me to read this book immediately.
Life After Theft is okay. I would wager that people younger than me will probably love this (12 and up – that sort of young). Like I said, I think the premise is good, but I’m not a huge fan of the execution. Any of the big reveals about how Kimberlee was before (the way she acted and why) were kind of . . . lame, I guess. Immature. A bit unbelievable, even, in some cases. I never really identified with her.
Now, Jeff. He’s an alright dude. Here he is, helping out a dead girl even though he doesn’t have to (well, she did threaten to haunt him for the rest of his life, but that’s irrelevant). His dad came into a heap of money pretty recently and moved the family from Phoenix to Santa Monica and as a result, Jeff is more laid back than most of the rich kids at his school. Maybe that’s why Sera, a popular ‘hot girl’, is interested in him. They start up a little romance, much to Kimberlee’s dismay – turns out that in life, Sera was basically her arch nemesis for some mysterious reason.
Sera’s storyline is another part of the novel that I didn’t particularly care for. But once again, that just comes back to the intended audiences age. However, I will say that sometimes when a female author writes from a male perspective, it can seem a little too forced. Like maybe Jeff is objectifying Sera a little too often to be organic? I know that boys think differently to girls, but still, it bothered me here. I must have felt annoyed on Sera’s behalf.
Let me just say that I don’t dislike Life After Theft. I wouldn’t go recommending it to many people, but it was alright. Between by Jessica Warman had a similar concept and was an all round better book, in my opinion.