Bode, a veteran nonfiction author whose books frequently focus on teenage trauma, has long recognized the attraction of the personal interview when it comes to presenting sensitive subjects to young adults. Her latest book recognizes something else as well--the appeal of brevity in the delivery of information. The combination should make her wrenchingly honest, informative look at death more approachable. But it's not quite that simple. In content, the book is a sweeping exploration of death that tackles the subject from both the cultural and the emotional perspective. Viewpoints of therapists and representatives from religious communities, as well as insights from specialists (a forensic expert, a funeral director, and so on), entwine with teenagers' moving personal stories. Bode covers familiar territory--changes in family relationships and romantic notions about death, for example--but she also introduces some new issues, among them the idea of closure and autoerotic death among teenagers. The problem is the book's format. Unlike Grollman's recent "Straight Talk about Death" , which also depends on brevity to attract readers, Bode's book is very chaotic in appearance. Boldfaced headings break personal interviews into sometimes awkward chunks, and so many boxes are used to highlight information that it can be difficult to keep speakers straight: Is it Bode who's filling readers in on whom to go to when they're upset, or is it medical specialist Barbara Staggers? The book also contains reproductions of news articles and two comic strip stories (one of which delivers a bit of graveside humor). This "sound-byte" approach is tailor-made for today's video generation, and Bode is a thoughtful, sensitive writer and a good listener who knows kids' concerns. But the format of her book sometimes compromises its clarity, and that might turn kids off, especially when they're trying to make sense out of something that touches so many raw nerves.