I love a good pun, so of course I had to pick up this book as soon as I heard the title. Usually this pun-based readers advisory system fails, but this time I was not at all disappointed.
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Samhain LaCroix is just existing post-high school. He has a crappy fast food job, but good friends and a supportive mom and sister. One otherwise normal day an encounter with a bad customer changes Sam's life forever. The customer, Douglas, is a local necromancer and one of the most powerful paranormal people in Seattle. No one dares cross him. He recognizes that Sam has a small necromancy power and from that point on makes Sam's life hell. When threats don't work Douglas actually kidnaps Sam.
While in captivity Sam meets Brid, a female were-fae hybrid roughly his age. Despite the awful circumstances--sparks fly between them and being held together helps make the situation more bearable for both, especially since Sam is being "taught" necromancy by Douglas. Unfortunately (but unsurprisingly) for Sam, Douglas's idea of teaching more closely resembles torture.
The hijinks are wacky but the non-stop wisecracking is broken by moments scary, sad, and touching. The characters, especially Sam and co. (especially his best friend, Ramon), are quickly but expertly developed. Actual character motivations drive actions, which is refreshing in the paranormal YA genre (which is often plagued by characters only reacting in ways to drive the plot, no matter how against character the reactions seem.) Characters are added in through-out the story, including a sassy 10 year old ghost and Brid's protective family, setting up for future sequels while helping to wrap this adventure up nicely.
This book was just the right mix of slacker redemption story and paranormal romance. The humor didn't overwhelm the serious bits or vice versa. As an added bonus, each chapter heading is a song reference, and while some might be a little old...I doubt many people will have trouble getting the joke(s). The paranormal genre is oversaturated, especially in the YA market, but this fresh book is well worth checking out whether you are a long-time genre fan or just want to dip a toe in to see what all the fuss is about.
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