Review: Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike
Published April 30th 2013 by HarperTeen
Review copy received from publisher
Life After Theft is exactly what it promises to be: an entertaining YA book with some counter-heisting action in a high-school setting. It’s a perfect read for a hot day on the beach. The story probably won’t stay with you – but it will give you a few fun hours.
On his first day at school Jeff meets ghost girl Kimberlee. She has died over a year ago, but can’t pass on. To help he, he has to return all the stuff Kimberlee stole – a whole cave full.
It’s not immediately clear from the blurb, but Life After Theft is written from the male view of Jeff. I think Ms Pike did a great job with the guy narrative, giving him enough emotions, but not making him as angsty as teenage girl voices usually are. His thoroughly a good guy, maybe a bit unbelievably so, but it worked in the book. Kimberlee is his opposite in everything. She’s snarky, a liar, manipulative, incurable kleptomaniac and popular in school. I enjoyed their interactions and their bickering. Even though Jeff is a good guy, he doesn’t let Kimberlee trample all over him.
As you might expect, Life After Theft has the same polished neatly-wrapped up shine Hollywood rom-coms have. Everything wraps up, every tread is followed up on, every character has a role in the bigger picture. It’s something you either like or dislike – for me it worked, but it might not for everyone. There is no grittiness, and barely any meat to the story. There is a small attempt by Ms Pike to touch on metaphysical matters of the afterlife and purpose in life, but to be honest this was something I mostly ignored. In my opinion she didn’t do a good job raising that sort of questions, and Jeff’s whole “agnostic” thing wasn’t very interesting to me.
If you enjoy teen flicks (nothing wrong with that, by the way), you will probably like Life After Theft too. There is almost no darkness, even though it touches upon subjects like drug addiction and bullying. It never dives deep into the effects of these, but it’s not as if they’re ignored either. Life After Theft is just a rather up-beat story for when you’re sick of negativity.
Kimberlee Schaffer may be drop-dead gorgeous . . . but she also dropped dead last year. Now she needs Jeff’s help with her unfinished business, and she’s not taking no for an answer. When she was alive, Kimberlee wasn’t just a mean girl; she was also a complete kleptomaniac. So if Jeff wants to avoid being haunted until graduation, he’ll have to help her return all of the stolen items. But Jeff soon discovers that it’s much easier to steal something than it is to bring it back.
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