It's a Wonderful Death

It's a Wonderful Death

by Sarah J. Schmitt


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If you had one chance to change your future, would you? Now in paperback!

Seventeen-year-old RJ always gets what she wants. So when her soul is accidentally collected by a distracted Grim Reaper, somebody in the afterlife better figure out a way to send her back from the dead or heads will roll.

But in her quest for mortality, she becomes a pawn in a power struggle between an overzealous archangel and Death Himself. The tribunal presents her with two options: she can remain in the lobby, where souls wait to be processed, until her original lifeline expires, or she can replay three moments in her life in an effort to make choices that will result in a future deemed worthy of being saved. It sounds like a no-brainer. She’ll take a walk down memory lane. How hard can changing her future be?

But with each changing moment, RJ’s life begins to unravel, until this self-proclaimed queen bee is a social pariah. Is walking among the living worth it if she has to spend the next sixty years as an outcast?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781510738591
Publisher: Sky Pony
Publication date: 09/11/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 245,372
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

Sarah J. Schmitt is a former K-8 school librarian and youth service professional for teens at a public library who enjoys opening up the world of books to reluctant readers. She ran a teen writing program that combines Skype visits from well-known authors and screenwriters and group-style feedback. She earned her masters of science in higher education administration and student affairs from Indiana University. She is an active member of SCBWI, ALA, and the Indiana Library Federation and is a regular participant at the Midwest Writer's Workshop. Sarah lives outside of Indianapolis with her husband, two kidlets and a cat who might actually be a secret agent.

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It's a Wonderful Death 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
runnergirl83 11 months ago
By accident, 17 year old RJ is collected early by the Grim Reaper. She is upset and wants to be sent back to her life. She is given the choice to either remain in the Lobby waiting until her original life was supposed to end, or she can go back and replay three moments in her life. RJ is popular, she has been been mean to others and is a self-centered teen. She decides to go back and replay three incidents in her life. These three incidents are times in her life where she could continue towards her self centered road or she could think about others. Instead of leaving a friend on the playground to get bullied by other kids, RJ stays behind and stands up to the bully, not leaving her friend behind. A classmate is bullied and commits suicide, instead of being yet another bully she becomes his friend. He becomes a good, true friend. A classmate is sick with cancer, and instead of stealing from the fundraiser that she organized, she stands up to the popular kids and makes sure the family gets the money intended to help them with the medical bills. It was a fun book about a teen looking back on her life and making better choices. RJ's struggle to want to stay popular made her more real, that is something most teenagers would probably also struggle with.
BuriedUnderBooks More than 1 year ago
Charming. Funny. Delicious. Gleeful. All terms that can be applied to It's a Wonderful Death and there are probably many more. I've come across Grim Reaper stories before and have enjoyed them for a variety of reasons but the humor is usually what draws me in. I wonder if most GR stories are on the funny side because, as a species, we have some difficulty thinking about death but, no matter, funny is good. Ms. Schmitt has loaded It's a Wonderful Death with humor and it works very well---you can't help but laugh at the vision of Death Himself in Bermuda shorts and a Hawaiian shirt---but this is also an old-fashioned morality tale in which a person is given a do-over, so to speak. RJ doesn't want to be dead and actually shouldn't be but, as various angels point out, they can't just pretend it didn't happen since the people she left behind are already mourning her. Can't exactly have her popping up, now can we? A sticky wicket, indeed, but then Death Himself and a cranky angel named Azbaugh come up with a plan. All RJ has to do is prove that she can be a better person than the mean girl she's been so far. Unfortunately, we all know that changing the past can have a bad effect on the future. A large cast of characters, both in the Afterlife and earthbound and including the three-headed Cerberus who, like any dog, enjoys chin scratches from Peter---yes, that Peter---make this a delightful tale full of what ifs and challenges, sadness, joy and, yes, redemption. In the end, surprises await the reader but the real pleasure is in the getting there.
Goldenfurproductions More than 1 year ago
MY THOUGHTS RJ has just been told that she's to have a long life when she dies. It's a complete accident. The Grim Reaper wasn't even supposed to collect her, but now she's on her way to the afterlife. She tells everyone there how she's supposed to be alive, but everyone says it's just not worth it to send her back. It's eventually decided that she can go back if she goes through three trials. She will be taken back to three defining moments of her life and if she makes the 'right' decision this time, she will get her life back. I love books dealing with any aspect of the afterlife. The afterlife is something that none of us can possibly know what it's like, so I find it very interesting seeing different author's takes on it. I really liked seeing this afterlife. While some of the subject and plot are serious, the afterlife is portrayed in such a oddly humorous manner that I can't help but enjoy! The afterlife takes up the gist of this book, but this book is about RJ. RJ is the kind of character that you just don't particularly like, at least in the beginning. RJ is a mean girl and she has that personality. I sympathized with her because she was taken early and mistakenly, but she did annoy me. She did bad things in her life and made bad choices, yet she didn't seem to realize. That is what this book was about, because it was known that RJ could've had a different life. The reason why she was that way was because of her choices and mainly how she didn't stand up to her so-called friends. Throughout this book, she went through an incredible amount of change. I loved seeing how she changed in this book. I thought it was beautiful. As for romance, there is none! This surprised me because I always expect that in YA, but I think it made the book so much better! Otherwise, we would have been distracted from the plot. IN CONCLUSION Overall, I really enjoyed this book! It was oddly fun at times, but with the serious-ness of a coming-of-age tale in death. This was a great read and it's yet another afterlife book that I can recommend to people!
JRRoper More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book. It was so much fun, heartwarming, and heart-wrenching. Powerful yet accessible writing. Read it and share it with the young adults in your life! Highly recommended book and an author to follow closely!
Laura_at_125Pages More than 1 year ago
Original review at 125pages I received this book for free from Edelweiss via YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ♦I loved the show Dead Like Me featuring a snarky teenage grim reaper. So I was happily surprised that It’s a Wonderful Death reminded me so much of it. Not so much in the story, but in the tone. RJ and Georgia are both unapologetic about not liking their post-living situations and their frankness is why I like them. RJ is a mean girl waiting for Homecoming when she is accidentally reaped at a school carnival; to say she does not care for this turn of events is putting it mildly. The interplay between a pissed-off teenager soul and the bureaucracy of the afterlife made what could have been a schmaltzy story a fun, nuanced tale. The plot was well paced and the world created was very real. I enjoyed the majority of the characters; a few seemed not as well placed in their environments but this did not detract from the overarching appeal of the book. All told this was a very solid debut novel that I truly enjoyed. ◊ Favorite lines from Chapter 38 – “So we’re just really just born to die?” I ask? Gideon shakes his head. “What’s the reason then?” “Everyone has something to learn and something to teach. Once you have done those two things, you have accomplished your life mission and it’s time to come home.”
Sandrathebookworm More than 1 year ago
Original Review posted @ I want to thank Sky Pony Press for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. I completely fell in love with this book! I can't believe that this is a debut novel Schmitt hit it out the park with this one. RJ has the perfect life, until the day her soul gets accidentally collected by one of deaths reapers and her world gets turned upside down. RJ is used to getting her way so, as soon as she makes it to the lobby where the souls get processed, she demands someone fix her situation and put her life back in order. When she finally gets a hearing to meet with the Archangels that are going to decide her fate Death Himself comes to the hearing and proposes that they let her go back to three major points in her life, where she made the wrong choice and steered of the right path; to see if she makes the right decision the second time around. This book had my emotions all over the place, one minute I was laughing and the next I was sobbing. Schmitt's writing was amazing, the world building was perfect! It made the afterlife feel very comforting. At the beginning of the book we are introduced to a very selfish and self-adsorbed RJ, but as the book progresses RJ's character development is very well done and she slowly makes her way into your heart; I also really liked meeting Death Himself he was a very witty character. Schmitt hit me with a much unexpected twist that had me at the edge of my seat! This book was so beautiful, it’s a book that is going to stick with me forever, it teaches us that sometimes it’s hard to make the right decisions, but that the decisions we do make, don't only affect us they also affect those around us. I also love how this book deals with bullying! Everyone needs to read this book! So, if you haven’t picked it up yet I highly recommend it! -SandraTheBookWorm
Kelly_Stanley More than 1 year ago
Sometimes you see a great cover and an intriguing synopsis on the jacket... and then you end up disappointed. But you don't have to worry about that with It's a Wonderful Death. This book is great, through and through. If sarcasm isn't your thing, you may not love it as much as I did... but if you do like it, oh my goodness have you found a winner. I expected it to be a fun, light read. What I didn't expect was that the story would bring tears to my eyes. This story has plenty of positive aspects—plenty of snark, a protagonist (RJ) who we watch go through a transformation of her character, and a thoughtfully-created depiction of the afterlife. But even before RJ started to change, I found myself rooting for her. She starts as a popular, full-of-herself mean girl—but we get to see her become a person who sees the consequences to her actions and finds strength she didn't know she had. There are lots of messages woven into the storyline (subtly and artfully) about the effects of bullying and how to face it, redemption, and love of family and friends. In this book, the stakes are literally life and death, but not in a terrifying way. (That probably makes no sense, but read it and you'll understand.) And then, just when you think the story is wrapping up, there's a huge plot twist that had me talking to myself out loud ("You've got to be kidding me!"). But then, just like that, you know that what happens is absolutely right. I closed the book (wrapped in its beautifully iridescent book jacket) with a sense of satisfaction... and even though the story is over, RJ is sticking with me, as all good characters in our favorite books do. The book may be over, but she will not be forgotten.
donniedarkogirl More than 1 year ago
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. You know how there are books with gorgeous covers that immediately attract your attention, so you check out the synopsis, and you're like, I've gotta read this book! It sounds too awesome to miss! And you're so excited, you even forget how beautiful the cover is because you're looking forward to diving inside to the story? That's how IT'S A WONDERFUL DEATH was for me. I couldn't wait to dive into the meat of this story. Could. Not. Wait. I had all kinds of scenarios I was imagining, and it was exciting. Really and truly exciting. Plus, I love to see how authors imagine the afterlife to be. It's always interesting and never disappointing. So in IT'S A WONDERFUL DEATH, popular girl RJ dies before her time because she's accidentally touched by a Grim Reaper, and as you can imagine, she's super pissed. Though she's a brat, I actually liked her snark and couldn't help but laugh at her attitude. Sure, she's self-entitled and stuck up and desperate to retain her popularity, but she's also very real. There are people like her out there (I know, right?!), and I actually found myself rooting for her. I wrote this status update when I began reading the book: I'm only 14% in so far, & I love it so much! It's so funny and snarky and adorable! There were things I liked about IT'S A WONDERFUL DEATH, and things I didn't like. As I mentioned, I liked RJ quite a bit. One thing that bothered me was how Death was called "Death Himself" every time he was mentioned, although I ended up getting used to it. I understood why he was referred to that way the first time, but after that I thought it was unnecessary. I wanted more from the moments where RJ was to go back in for a do-over. Those moments didn't last long enough for me, and it seemed almost too easy for RJ to change her thinking and thus change her future. People don't change overnight, so I wish more time had been spent on RJ's transformation because I loved seeing her change. I think time spent on the trial could have been better spent on RJ's moments back in time fixing what she didn't get right the first time around. It was refreshing to have a story that didn't revolve around a romance. There are touches of romance in IT'S A WONDERFUL DEATH, but it isn't the crux of the story. I really appreciated that. The ending was really surprising! I wasn't expecting it to end the way it did. This isn't to say I didn't like it. I'm not disappointed at all - I think it was a fitting end, I just didn't see it coming. It caught me off guard, which is a good thing. I like not being able to predict things in books. Overall, I recommend IT'S A WONDERFUL DEATH for anyone who loves a good story with redemption and exploration of life, death, and what it all means.
ReedsReadsReviews More than 1 year ago
Well… this book is feels central. I mean, this book is so full of feels that I’m getting tearful just thinking about it. It’s a Wonderful Death is a beautiful book about redemption, what it means to be good, and the uncertainty that comes with second chances. It is a wonderfully evocative novel, showcasing a brilliant message through a medium described as “Mean Girls meets A Christmas Carol”. I loved every second of this book, there is no other way for me to put that. In the words of Schmitt herself, this book is “humbling, but not preachy” and it is completely stunning.
mfu11 More than 1 year ago
A Christmas Carol style read with a Mean Girls twist? Yes please! This ended up being so much than I expected, though. It delivered on the humour and fun, but also had some really heartwarming and thoughtful moments. The story is told with a lightness that doesn't detract from its subject matter. Memorable and clever, with a clear message at its core.