Croak (Croak Series #1)

( 68 )


Fed up with her wild behavior, sixteen-year-old Lex’s parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape. But Uncle Mort’s true occupation is much dirtier than shoveling manure. He’s a Grim Reaper. And he’s going to teach Lex the family business.
   She quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated by reapers who deliver souls ...

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Croak (Croak Series #1)

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Fed up with her wild behavior, sixteen-year-old Lex’s parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape. But Uncle Mort’s true occupation is much dirtier than shoveling manure. He’s a Grim Reaper. And he’s going to teach Lex the family business.
   She quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. But Lex can’t stop her desire for justice—or is it vengeance?—whenever she encounters a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again. Will she ditch Croak and go rogue with her reaper skills?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this spirited (no pun intended) debut, Damico playfully explores the nature of life and the afterlife. When 16-year-old Lex Bartleby’s anger management issues and violent impulses land her in one fight too many, she is sent to live with her uncle Mort in the Adirondacks for the summer, in the hopes that it will straighten her out. Instead, upon arriving in the tiny town of Croak, Lex discovers that she, like the tattooed and motorcycle-riding Mort, is a Grim, responsible for drawing out the souls of the recently deceased to facilitate their passing on to the afterlife. Initially dubious, she soon discovers a natural talent for the work. Lex and her new partner, Driggs, with whom she has a fiery love-hate relationship, stumble across bodies with no known cause of death, sparking an investigation into one of the greatest, dirtiest secrets of the Grim organization. The morbid subject matter is kept in check by entertaining characters, clever twists, and a sly, self-aware sense of humor that pervades this promising series launch. Ages 12–up. Agent: Tina Wexler, ICM. (Mar.)
From the Publisher

Praise for Croak

"Go ahead and die laughing, knowing that the safe transport of your mortal soul will be the summer job of a sweetheart teen with godlike power and discipline problems. A lot of books make me wish I could live within their pages, but I wouldn't mind dying in this one."
Adam Rex, author of Fat Vampire

"Creepy and hilarious."
VOYA, 4Q, 5P

Praise for Scorch

"An amusing blend of whimsy and humor with serious drama and blood."
Kirkus Reviews

"Characters are always as clever as we wish we were. . . . An irresistible blend of impending doom, irreverent humor, hormone-fueled make-out sessions, and creative world-building make this sequel stronger than its predecessor and will leave readers dying for the next book."
School Library Journal

Praise for Rogue

"A gut-wrenching, laugh-out-loud, gritty, honest and brave ending to an appealing trilogy."

Children's Literature - Kristi Bernard
Imagine yourself in an environment filled with enemies, no friends, and loving parents who are so scared of you they tie you up before they talk to you about your behavior. Yes that would be horrible, but Lex Bartelby does have some behavioral issues. Her nickname at school is Tyrannosaurus Lex. To remedy her situation and to keep Lex from being kicked out of school her parents decide to send her to see Uncle Mort. She has not seen him in years but that is not the worst part—he lives on a farm. When Lex arrives she discovers there is a lot the family doesn't know about Uncle Mort. He has spiked hair, tattoos, rides a motorcycle and is the Grim Reaper. He introduces her to the town of Croak and teaches her the business of being a Grim. Lex is overwhelmed with learning her new job. She never had friends but with the new group of kids just like her, she finds that she is finally fitting in and actually having fun for the first time in years. The downside is that Lex is learning quickly that there are a lot of bad elements in the world. The endless deaths of innocents are haunting her dreams. She battles with the horrid scenes and wants to take on the killer herself but it is against the rules. When Lex finds there is another kind of killer, a possible Grim who isn't following the rules, she has to decide if she will put a stop to the madness or take on the cause. Damico has done an excellent job of inviting readers into a world of imagination that incorporates family, friends and growing pains. The vivid imagery and creepy characters will take readers into a world mixed with fear and laughter. Reviewer: Kristi Bernard
VOYA - Taryn Bush
Sixteen-year-old Lex Bartleby used to be a good girl, but lately her behavior has become violent and out of control. She has punched one too many classmates, and she is lucky she has not been expelled. Her parents are completely fed up, so they send her to stay with her uncle, Mort, on his farm for the summer. Lex resents her parents for separating her from her twin sister and dreads wasting a perfectly good summer doing farm labor. Soon after her arrival at Croak, Lex discovers that Uncle Mort has different plans. He is a Grim Reaper, and so is Lex. He plans to teach her the fine art of delivering souls to the afterlife. After some initial hesitation, Lex embraces her new job and discovers that she is a fast learner with natural talent. Croak is a town populated only by reapers, and Lex finally begins to feel like she fits in somewhere. When reapers start finding bodies of criminals who are not supposed to be dead, no one can explain how or why they have died. Lex is determined to solve the mystery, but the others start to suspect that she is somehow involved. Croak is a unique story with snarky humor, an intriguing mystery, and even a hint of romance. Lex is an unsympathetic character at the beginning, but she becomes more likeable and relatable as the plot progresses. Give this to fans of Lish McBride's Hold Me Closer, Necromancer (Henry Holt, 2010/VOYA February 2011) who are seeking another dose of supernatural sarcasm. This creepy and hilarious thriller is the first in a planned series. Reviewer: Taryn Bush
Kirkus Reviews
A teen hellion realizes her calling as a grim reaper in this derivative but enjoyable novel set in an unusual town in upstate New York. Previously perfectly well adjusted, Lex has spent the last couple of years hitting, spitting, swearing and acting out violent urges that she herself doesn't understand. Her parents decide to ship her off to her Uncle Mort in Croak, hoping that hard farm labor will jog sense into her. Little do they know that Mort is the mayor of a community whose inhabitants are all involved in ensuring the humane transference of the dead into the next realm. Mort pairs her with cute but antagonistic Driggs, and the two grapple comically with their growing feelings for one another throughout. Many of the details here have a distinctly Potteresque feel--Lex is the most powerful Grim in a millennia, but bears similarity to a legendarily terrible villain. However, the central mystery is genuinely puzzling, and Lex's narrative voice is funny and fresh--"Maybe this was one of those things that people should keep to themselves, like a hatred of baby pandas or a passion for polka music." An unexpectedly (and frustratingly) abrupt conclusion leaves no doubt that there will be a sequel. Fantasy fans who like their tales gritty and filled with irreverent humor will be eager for the follow-up. (Paranormal comedy. 13-18)
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Lex has recently descended into delinquency, and her parents have had enough. At the end of her junior year, she is sent to stay with her Uncle Mort in upstate New York. She discovers that the people of Croak are dedicated to releasing souls at the moment of death and ushering them to the Afterlife. Lex becomes a Grim, but she isn't like all the others: Killing gives her a painful shock. She also struggles to resist pursuing murderers, making her a suspect when criminals begin dying for no reason. But her partner (and eventual love interest, once Lex stops wanting to pummel him) and the other Grims vow to uncover the real villain. The Grimsphere is creatively detailed—black hoodies are standard uniforms and the bartender pours Yoricks, served in a skull—but this world-building never takes itself too seriously. Silly humor and death-related puns undercut what might otherwise be a dark story. The structure is largely trope and the ending a bit fast, but Damico balances wrapping up loose ends with setting up a sequel (Scorch, due later this year). A formulaic structure embellished with creative details, sarcastic humor, and quick-witted dialogue makes Croak rise above other stories of its type.—Gretchen Kolderup, New Canaan Library, CT
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547608327
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 3/20/2012
  • Series: Croak Series, #1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 89,033
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 770L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Gina Damico

Gina Damico is the author of Hellhole, as well as the grim-reapers-gone-wild books of the Croak trilogy. She has also dabbled as a tour guide, transcriptionist, theater house manager, scenic artist, movie extra, office troll, retail monkey, yarn hawker and breadmonger. A native of Syracuse, New York, she now lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband, two cats, one dog, and an obscene amount of weird things purchased from yard sales. Visit her website at

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Read an Excerpt

   "I gotta be honest, Lex," Uncle Mort said as they continued down the hill into town, slowing the bike so they could speak without yelling. "You look just about ready to soil yourself."
   Lex shot him a glare, then eyed a sign at the side of the road that read Croak! Population: 78. The number clicked over to 80 as they passed.
   She scrunched up her nose. "That was weird."
   "But accurate."
   Lex gazed at the handful of small buildings as they passed by. "I don’t get it. Where’s the town?" she asked, searching into the distance.
   "You’re in it."
   "This is it?"
   "It is small," Uncle Mort agreed. "But it’s got heart."
   Lex assumed he meant this literally as well as figuratively, since both sides of the street were lined with blooms of brilliantly red bleeding-heart flowers. As she gawked at the short buildings, she got the eeriest feeling that she had stumbled into a historical theme park. The storefronts just seemed so old-fashioned, like they were part of some bygone era of yore, or maybe even yesteryear. She had only ever seen places like this on the evening news during election years, when politicians invaded to kiss babies and purchase homemade pies from smiling, toothless bakery owners.
   "Please tell me you have running water," she said.
   "Of course. Tuesdays and Thursdays."
   She couldn’t tell if he was being sarcastic.
   "Don’t worry," he said. "Croak’s a pretty modern place. Up there are the Pine Condos, where some of the younger people live, and a few good shops on the right down Slain Lane." He pointed to a side street paved with cobblestones, unlike the smooth pavement of the one they were on. Lex craned her neck and spotted a handful of oddly named stores: a flower shop called Pushing Daisies, a mattress place labeled The Big Sleep, and a grocery store with a giant sign reading Bought the Farm.
   At the junction of the two roads, a gravestonelike obelisk rose out of a small fountain. Uncle Mort nodded to the left. "Best diner in the universe right there. Hello, Dora!" he called to the ancient woman sweeping the sidewalk outside. She waved cheerily.
   "And the library’s up on the left—oh, but check this out, our pride and joy," he said with reverence, looking straight ahead. At a fork in the road stood the tallest building in town, clocking in at a whopping two stories. The Victorian house was painted a sunny yellow, with friendly letters spelling out the word Bank across the façade. The wooden front porch contained a hammock, a small table, and, naturally, a pitcher of lemonade. "We take our investments very seriously."
   Lex struggled to take it all in. She had never seen a bank that looked as though it could double as a summer home. Nor could she conceive of a place that didn’t seem to have a single traffic light. And the quaint, nostalgic street sign labeled Dead End rather than Main Street only confirmed her suspicions that the town had surely lost its quaint, nostalgic marbles.
   Then, just like that, it was behind them.
   The bike veered onto the fork to the left of the Bank and passed a large field on the right. Across that, a dozen or so houses stretched down the other fork, looking like any other suburb in America.
   Lex squirmed in her seat. "Are you kidding me? That was not a town," she said. "I mean, where’s the Starbucks?"
   Uncle Mort sighed. "Lex, I know you’re from New York, so I’m going to forgive you for that. But let me tell you something right now, something that I don’t want you ever to forget: Starbucks is an abomination."
   Lex was speechless, for she now believed there was no way in a million years this man could possibly be a blood relative.
   "And here are my digs," he said as the bike slowed. "What do you think?"
   Lex no longer knew what to think. The house was practically a larger version of Uncle Mort himself—loud, schizophrenic, and potentially fatal. Speckled with all manner of colors in no apparent pattern, it looked as if it had rolled around the countryside picking up random items and whatnots before finally coming to a halt at the top of its grassy hill.
   Lex ogled the bizarre devices poking out of each window as the bike rolled to a stop. She took off her helmet and dropped it to the ground. "You really live here?" she asked, her voice tinged with the faintest trace of warmth. This house, in all its chaotic glory, reminded her of her bedroom back home.
   Uncle Mort dismounted the bike. "Yep. And now, so do you." He handed her a set of keys. "Your room is the first door on the left."
   Lex, who from the moment of her conception had never had a room of her own, snatched the keys out of his hand and tore into the house. If she really was going to be stuck here for the duration of the summer, she might as well become accustomed to the living quarters in which she would undoubtedly be holing herself up. And at least this was an actual house with actual walls and not a crusty, fetid hayloft, as she had feared. It almost seemed—she hardly dared to think it—kind of cool.
   She burst into the front hallway. Unsurprisingly, the kitchen was a mess, and the living room was buried under piles of unidentifiable paraphernalia. Useless junk clogged each pore. Empty photograph frames collected dust at every turn, while a large tank of jellyfish stretched across an entire wall, like a live mural. The luggage Lex’s mother had sent sat at the edge of it all, blending in perfectly. Lex grinned, her sense of alienation abating. This was exactly the way she and Cordy had always preferred to live: in utter squalor and disarray.
   Tingling with anticipation, Lex ran down the hall to her room and flung open the door.
   Her face fell.
   No bedlam. No eyesores. And not a single useless trinket.
   Instead, a beautifully carved armoire stood gracefully in the corner. Next to it, a desk made from spotless white oak. Pink bedding, curtains, and rugs, as if a flamingo had exploded. And worst of all, looming on the wall across from the frilly, perfectly made bed: a Titanic movie poster.
   Lex shrieked in horror and slammed the door. "What was that?"
   "What’s wrong?" Uncle Mort asked as he entered the house. "You don’t like it?"
   "I hate it! Were those doilies?!"
   "Dammit." He sighed. "I thought I could trust him with this."
   Lex glanced at the slightly open door across from hers, on which was tacked a poster of The Who. She peeked through the crack, but all she could see was a massive set of drums. Next to that, another door was wide open and spewing a heavy stream of smoke. She squinted down a set of stairs at several bubbling vials of goo.
   "Your basement’s on fire."
   "Oh, that’s just my lab," Uncle Mort calmly replied, closing the door and fanning the sulfuric fumes away. "I like to tinker."
   "I see." Lex strayed back into the living room and looked around, confused. "Where’s the TV?"
   "I don’t have one."
   "WHAT?" she yelled. "WHAT?"
   "After a few days you won’t even care. And don’t worry about your room; it’ll all be fixed by the time we get back."
   "Get back? Where are we going?"
   "Out. Can’t very well have the redecorators come in while you’re still here, can we? Besides, we have to talk."
   "Yeah, right." She let out a huff, walked into the kitchen, and sat down, throwing her muddy feet up onto the table. "You almost killed me about twelve times in the past hour. I’m not going anywhere with you."
   "Ah, but you are."
   "Make me."
   And with a lightning-quick swoop of his arm, Uncle Mort grabbed his niece by the waist yet again, flung her over his shoulder, and walked out the door.

As she was lugged upside down through the empty streets of Croak, Lex thrashed with a ferocity that would have impressed even the most seasoned probation officer. Yet Uncle Mort seemed not to notice, and before long, Lex’s protests were reduced to nothing more than an occasional groan.
   "Almost forgot—I promised your family we’d call when you got here," he said cheerfully as they passed into the other end of town, his shoulder digging into her stomach more and more with every step.
   Lex, now fairly nauseated, jammed her elbow into his lower back and propped up her addled head onto her hand. "Here’s an idea," she said weakly. "You put me down, I’ll use my cell."
   "No reception for miles. Hence, the Cuff," he said, indicating the strange band around his wrist.
   "Fascinating. Put me down."
   Uncle Mort ignored her. "Gotta make a personal call first." He did something to the Cuff—it turned staticky again and stayed that way—then began to quietly scold it. Lex thought she heard him utter a few key phrases like "it’s a bedroom, not a Victoria’s Secret," but by now she was teetering too closely to the brink of unconsciousness to even guess what was going on.
   "I am about two seconds away from vomiting all over every inch of you," she told her uncle in a slurred voice as he hung up.
   "And me without a poncho. Pity."
   She riskily let out a small burp. "Oh God. Put me down. Please?"
   "Was that a magic word I just heard? Did an ounce of politeness just escape the mouth of Lexington Bartleby? I think it did!" And with a surprising gentleness, he lowered his queasy passenger to her feet.
   "Good?" he asked, giving her a hard pat on the shoulder.
   "Yep." Lex’s eyes focused, then unfocused. "Nope. Head rush," she said on her way to the ground. Five minutes later she woke up and squinted at her uncle’s hovering head.
   "Hey, kiddo. What’s your name?" he asked.
   "What month are we in?"
   "Yankees or Mets?"
   "Good girl." He yanked her up from the ground and pointed at a nearby hill. "This way."
   Lex swallowed a couple of times, clutched her stomach, and followed him through the trees as he began talking into his wrist once more.
   "Yep, she got in just fine, no problems to speak of. Lex, say hi to your dad."
   "Dad!" She grabbed her uncle’s arm and shouted into the flickering metal. "Your brother is a lunatic. He’s trying to kill me!"
   "Nice try, Lex," her father’s tinny voice answered. "You’re not getting home that easily."
   "I don’t think you’re fully grasping the enormity of the situation, Dad. He doesn’t even have a television!"
   Uncle Mort jerked his arm away, hung up, and began walking faster. "Enough chat. Let’s enjoy us some nature."
   Lex tried to keep up. "Good idea. Find me a nice tree to puke on."
   They were now ascending the gently sloping side of a grassy bluff. When at last they reached the top, Lex gaped at her surroundings, which included, among other things, an enormous gray boulder that almost seemed to be keeping watch over the town below. "Where are we?"
   Uncle Mort walked to the brink of the precipice and sat down on the cliff ’s edge. "Best place in Croak to watch the sunset."
   Something in Lex snapped. She didn’t want to watch a sunset. She wanted to be told what in holy hell was going on here. The rage stirred yet again, spurring her to grab her uncle’s arm and twist it behind his back as hard as she could.
   Seemingly bored with her antics, Uncle Mort breathed a peaceful sigh and gazed into the distance. The sun, a fiery ball of neon orange, set over the village below them.
   "What can you see out there, Lex?" he asked in a tranquil voice.
   "Well," Lex said, twisting harder, "I see a pitiful excuse for a town, some trees, a few hills, and an abusive, stark raving madman." She dug her nails into his wrist. "That about cover it?"
   "More or less. Hey, would you mind letting go? It’s starting to tickle."
   Lex dropped his arm with a defeated grunt. How had she not separated his shoulder by now? Why wasn’t he begging for mercy?
   "Just sit," he said. "You may continue your attempt to detach one of my limbs later. Right now, there are some things you need to know."
   Lex sat, defeated, exhausted, but most of all, confused—because despite all efforts to suppress such inclinations, she could not help but feel the tiniest bit of admiration for her uncle, who was now wiping away the few drops of blood that emerged where her nails had dug into his skin.
   He caught her sheepish gaze. "Don’t worry, I’ve encountered much worse," he said, his eyes sparkling with either youthful excitement or demented delirium. "I knew you’d put up a good fight. I’d be surprised and frankly insulted if you hadn’t."
   Lex cocked her head. The wrath that had raged within her only seconds ago seemed to be rapidly melting away of its own accord, like an ebbing storm. What was going on?
   "But you’re also smart," he went on, "which is why you’re going to listen very closely to what I’m about to tell you. Right?"
   Lex found herself nodding. How did he do that?
   He turned serious, all traces of insanity abruptly leaving his face. "Your parents haven’t been entirely forthcoming with you, Lex. Nor have I been entirely forthcoming with your parents. It was my idea for you to come here, not theirs. When I heard that you had turned delinquent, I knew your time had come. So I suggested to your father that you visit me and experience some country living." His eyes turned dark. "But that is not your purpose here."
   Lex listened as patiently as she could, tearing a piece of grass into microscopic shards.
   "We’re going into town tomorrow, and I want you to be prepared. What we do here is important business and should never, ever be taken lightly. We have been blessed—and burdened—with a very grave responsibility, if you’ll forgive the pun." He glanced over the valley. "Croak, as you may have gathered, is a different kind of town. All of its citizens exist for a common purpose. Naturally, from time to time we need some fresh blood, which is where you come in. And as I said earlier, you’re going to be a natural. Trust me on that one. All you need to do is pay close attention, learn as much as you can, and try not to be scared by anything you see."
   "Scared of what?" she said. "How disgustingly adorable your little village is? The perfectly groomed flowers? The—the . . ." Lex trailed off. A national coffee shop chain wasn’t the only thing missing from this town. She had seen no firehouses, no police departments, churches, gas stations, schools . . .
   A furious outbreak of goose bumps flickered across her skin. Everything was starting to feel very strange.
   That same electric crackle shot through the air once more as Uncle Mort opened his mouth to speak. "Lex," he said, "Croak is a portal—one that sits between our world and the next."
   A strange noise escaped Lex’s lips, something between a stupefied gasp and a dubious snicker. "What?"
   "That’s why you’re here. I’m going to teach you how to do what I do."
   "And what is that?"
   He leaned in close. She could feel his breath on her face.
   "I Kill people."

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 68 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 68 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2012


    This book was extremly good. It was funny in all the right places (i got some weird looks from my brother after literally laughing out loud multiple times). The characters were realistic and relatable. The setting was awesome and the details were amazing. I loved Lex and Drigg's sarcasm and personalitites. Overall, a very good book. I highly recomend it.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2012

    it is a very good book to read should be on the must read

    it is a very good book to read should be on the must read

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 16, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    This was a very funny and fresh take on the whole grim reaper th

    This was a very funny and fresh take on the whole grim reaper thing. Lots of great banter, some romance and plenty of laugh-out-loud moments made this a very fun read. My only complaint is the ending that made me REALLY wish the next book was out already.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2014

    Plot spoilers

    Too many plot spoilers here revealing way too much about the book. Take your plot spoilers to your blog or somewhere else and stop leaving them here and ruining the books for other readers. It is rude and hateful to reveal every detail about the book after YOU read it taking away the enjoyment for us. Bn, please stop these plot spoilers. Cant you find them and ban them?

    3 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2014

    Good book for all ages(ish)

    This book is outstanding. A very well paced adventure with plenty of humor. If you speak primarily sarcasm then buy this book and saturate your brain with it. My only problem being that it ended so suddenly I thought surely I hadn't down loaded some if the book. Good thing there are two more in the series.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 11, 2013

    Brazen attempt to get you to purchase the next book.

    Interesting storyline. Nice twist on the grim reaper. Did love the sarcasm. Did not have to continuously pound the reader with Lex's bratishness. (Reminds me of Stephen King pounding me continuously. The reader gets it after the first couple of incidents.)

    Weak ending. Did not appreciate the author's attempt at a cliff hanging ending to get you to purchase the next book in the series - I won't.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2012


    This is one of the best books i've ever read. Its funny intence and you wont be able to put it down. I meen realy who wouldnt love haveing a crazy uncle, loveing partner/bf and amazing abilitys you cant even explane

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2015

    This book looked really good when I read the description, but I

    This book looked really good when I read the description, but I was terribly disappointed. The idea of the story sounded great, but this author's writing skills are on a fifth grader's level, honestly. It's choppy; the author jumps around so much and the transitions between events are practically nonexistent. And the dialogue is so simple and not well thought out. The attempts at humor are trying way too hard and falling short entirely. I'm not really sure how any publisher or editor could read this and decide to put it on the market. I wish someone who could actually write would make a book with this story line, though, because it was a good idea. Just a terrible execution of said idea. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2014

    authors reach the bottom of the barrel trying to find

    new sub genres combos if you are into preteen humor and serials more like cartoon strip captions you might get through this blurb says it all. buska

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 19, 2012


    Lex was never this bad. She used to be the goody-two-shoes with straight A's and no absent marks. But for some reason unknown, Lex has turned into a quick-tempered, dirty mouthed bully. She's punched kids from wheelchairs to jocks and cheerleaders. But enough is enough. Lex has finally crossed the line.
    And what luck! Uncle Mort has suddenly appeared asking to take Lex away for the summer. A little vacation away from the civilized world to get Lex back into her place. And Lex's parents are all for it, but Lex can't stand being away from her twin sister, Cordy. They've never been separated for more than a couple of days. Summer was officially going to suck. Or at least that's what Lex thought. Apparently there's more to the dull, boring family she's always known. Lots more.
    In the small town of Croak with the population a soaring 80 people, things look groggy and boring. But never judge a town by it's population size, judge it by its people. One look at the place and it looks like a hillbilly hell (a nice hillbilly hell to be fair), but if you look closer you'll see the inhabitants carrying scythes and wearing black all day long. Some would even disappear for hours. Why? Because they're grim reapers. And Lex is about to become one as well, but just like most small towns, there's a Crasher on the loose. Someone is killing people instead of reaping the souls. And now they're after Lex.
    Croak can be described in one word: Hilarious. I was cracking up throughout the entire book. It's darkly witty and guaranteed to have you rolling in laughter page after page. The story line is original and entirely refreshing. The characters are exuberant and extremely enjoyable.
    Lex is someone who I hated and loved at the same time. She's a fierce heroine you definitely don't want to mess with. I loved her wit and sarcastic comebacks. She had a strong head and wouldn't let anyone move her. But she was incredibly arrogant and whiny. It made it more realistic since lots of teenagers are like that (me being an example), but it made it easier to grow tired of her too.
    Her partner, Driggs, was really super immature, especially for an 18-year-old. He did the stupidest things and acted like a 2-year-old, which is both good and bad. I loved his charm, the way he was never intimidated by Lex, and his personality altogether.But he too didn't know when to stop with the stupid act.
    The relationship between them both took time and even though it was expected, it didn't disappoint, but I did hate the fact that there were no swoon worthy moments between them. There was just a tiny bit of romance in the entire novel.
    The plot was incredibly predictable, which was the only downfall. I figured it all out by the middle of the book, and I didn't even have to try hard. There weren't much of any surprises, all of it is sort of common sense and maybe even a little cliche. The humor was the only thing that kept me going, the mystery wasn't so exciting. The pace is consistent throughout the book, not really slowing down or speeding up. The scenery was interesting and I got a clear enough picture in my head.
    In the end, the book seemed to lose it's cheerful note and was replaced by a depressing gloom. It's not at all scary, just sad.
    Overall, I ended up with tears rolling down my face with all the laughing. Yes, the ending was gloomy, but the rest of Croak will definitely cheer you up.
    I highly recommend this to anyone who wants a light, hilarious read for the summer.

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 11, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Croak was a wonderful start to what I'm sure will be a great ser

    Croak was a wonderful start to what I'm sure will be a great series.

    Our protagonist Lex was snarky and sarcastic and obviously that made me really like her. Lex starts off as a really harsh character that doesn't really care much about anything or anyone but it was great to watch her slowly change over time. Once she went to stay with her Uncle Mort in Croak she slowly made friends and started to feel like she actually belonged somewhere and that was really great to watch.

    Lex's Uncle Mort was definitely not the conventional guardian. I found him to be quirky and kind of unhelpful at times but it's understandable. He has a lot on his plate and when it comes down to it you can see how much he really cares about Lex and just wants what's best for her. I still think there's quite a bit of mystery surrounding him though so I'm interested to see what we find out about him in the future.

    Driggs was probably my favorite character. He's Lex's partner and they start off not really hating each other but they definitely got annoyed by each other very easily and had quite a few arguments. It's pretty clear right from the start though that they like each other and I was definitely rooting for them. Their relationship didn't develop too much in this book though so I can't wait to see what happens between these two in the future.

    The rest of the gang of Junior Grims were all endearing in their own ways. They all have their own stories and personalities and I always loved all their interactions with Lex. Even though she had a rocky start with them they soon accepted her and she became good friends with them. It was nice to see Lex finally fit in and be happy.

    I thought the plot of this book was really unique and interesting, I've never read anything involving grim reapers before. This book also had the perfect balance of humor and seriousness. While the story didn't end on a cliffhanger there are quite a few things to pick up on in future books and I can't wait to see where this story goes next.

    Final Thoughts: Croak is a funny and unique book and is a good start to what I'm sure will be an awesome series.

    *This review is also posted on my blog and my other social media profiles.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 23, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Chapter by Chapter's Review of Croak

    The whole concept of this book is what drew me to it. Having to learn that your life is forever changed because your destiny is to be a grim? No, not a “Grimm” from the t.v. show. A grim as in…Grim reaper! In this tale woven by Gina Damico, we are fully immersed into a world of death. (As a grim, what else would you be doing?)

    Dark and delicious, Croak tells a story from the eyes of 16 year old Lex Bartleby who is forced to live with her Uncle Morte for some good old fashion hard work, due to her reckless and destructive behaviour. Little did Lex know that her time at the town, Croak, would not consist of heavy duty farm work, but rather coming to grips with her destiny as a grim. It was very interesting to see how Lex’s life and attitude changes as she lives her new life, and it is equally interesting to see how she struggles with how to deal with her old life, back at home. Although we see how tough and damaging Lex is at home, we see a softer side of her when she talks about and interacts with her twin sister, Cordy.

    Damico’s writing style is so addicting. The descriptions she provides in relation to the deaths that Lex deals with throughout the novel is so great that the reader will be able to picture the various forms of death found, as well as seeing the impact each discovery has on Lex. Not only do we get to read about how Lex learns to deal with her new found life, we are also thrust into a mystery where a fellow grim has turned into a Vigilante and has taken it upon themselves in determining the fate of lowlifes and criminals, by their own hands.

    With that being said, the many characters that we are introduced to in Croak are an unforgettable crew, and a favorite will be found. I couldn’t help but find myself crushing on Lex’s partner and sidekick, Driggs. His sarcasm and his quick comebacks made him easily crushable. It was very entertaining to read the interactions between Driggs and Lex. Their witty back and forth banter was hilarious and was something that I was always looking forward to reading. There were many points throughout the book that I found myself literally laughing out loud! I am seriously loving Damico’s sense of humour, and I loved seeing it in the book. Those of you who follow her on Twitter or her blog will see that her humour extends beyond just Croak, and that most of her tweets consist of the same humour. Damico has taken her time in developing all the characters and has breathed so much life into them.

    Fans of a darker read, with a hand full of humour will completely fall in love with Croak. This is one book that you definitely do not want to miss out on.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 12, 2015

    more from this reviewer

    The second she entered the kitchen, Lex realized she was famishe

    The second she entered the kitchen, Lex realized she was famished." I'm about ready to gnaw my arm off," she said to Uncle Mort."What's for dinner?"
    "Dinner?" He seemed confused " I already gave you breakfast."
    "Well, on most planets, guardians feed their kids three meals a day."
    " That seems excessive."

    LOL !! This book is a witty fun read.. I bought the book based on cover and plot I normally do review checks before hand I mean if 30 reviews are done and 25 are bad what does that tell ya
    " DON'T DO IT " LOL..
    The story follows a 16 year old girl named Lex.. She has been getting into alot of trouble lately and her parents think it is time to get her out and away from their house for the summer thinking it will help her attitude..So to Uncle Mort's house in Croak she goes.. There she meets a new breed of people "Grims".. In this group is her stunning " pool boy " partner Driggs with his one brown eye and one blue.. The adventures the have and the friendships she makes is what the book is mainly about.. I will say the vilian in the book is exactly who I thought it would be however the one plot twist I did not see coming blew my mind..
    I recommend this book as a must read.. It is funny, it is about Grims and not to mention it is just a good read..You get into the book feel as though you know the people but it is not a book you have to over think.. I will be reading books 2 & 3 I wanna know how the story continues.. Happy Reading

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2015

    This is the most awesome book ever.

    This is the book that i like it so much that i read it two times. I would tell everyone one to read it but i dont think they would like a book about death. I really enjoy these kind of book and am looking forward to reading the next two book. This book just blew my mind. I did see that one girl being the person that was killing people and had the white eyes. It was really cool when her suckey summer vacation did not turn out to be suckey after all to her.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2015

    Intense and Sarcastic

    I really liked this spin on Grim stories. It was intense enough that I couldn't set the book down for long and so sarcastically funny that I actually laughed out loud. Very creative with a fascinating mystery to carry through the storyline, this needs to be on your TBR list.

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  • Posted December 31, 2014

    I love books about death, and reapers, or anything involving the

    I love books about death, and reapers, or anything involving the two. It fascinates me, and this book satisfied my need for a new reaper book. It's a juvenile book, but it didn't make it any less fun to read for me. I would recommend it to anyone over the age of 13. 

    Lex's parents are sick of her behavior in and out of school and decide to give her a not so fun vacation at her uncle's house for the summer. She's surprisingly not dreading it, except for the fact she will be apart from her twin sister Cordy for the first time ever. They share a room, and are the typical twins with a very close relationship, but they couldn't be more different in personality. 

    When she arrives at her uncle's house, in the city of Croak, she quickly realizes she's not there to help work on a farm, which she presumed based on what her parent's told her to expect. 

    What she IS there for, is something she could have never imagined in her wildest dreams, but it's not all bad, she's finally finding a group that accepts her for who she is. I absolutely rate this book a 5/5 and will be starting on Scorch the second book in the series immediately. 

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 21, 2014

    Recommend for people with good imaginations.

    An imaginative version of death and how it occurs.Should appeal to young readers.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2014

    ? .


    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2014

    - Sizzle Sizzle

    It was a killer book

    -Sizzle Sizzle

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2014


    Want but not sure...

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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