Friday, September 12, 2014

Blog Tour (Review and Giveaway): SIX FEET OVER IT by Jennifer Longo (YA)


by Jennifer Longo
Release date: August 26th, 2014
Published by: Random House Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Format: Hardcover, eBook
Format read: Hardcover from the publisher.


SUMMARY

Home is where the bodies are buried.

Darkly humorous and heart-wrenchingly beautiful, Jennifer Longo’s YA debut about a girl stuck living in a cemetery will change the way you look at life, death, and love.

Leigh sells graves for her family-owned cemetery because her father is too lazy to look farther than the dinner table when searching for employees. Working the literal graveyard shift, she meets two kinds of customers:

Pre-Need: They know what’s up. They bought their graves a long time ago, before they needed them.

At Need: They are in shock, mourning a loved one’s unexpected death. Leigh avoids sponging their agony by focusing on things like guessing the headstone choice (mostly granite).

Sarcastic and smart, Leigh should be able to stand up to her family and quit. But her world’s been turned upside down by the sudden loss of her best friend and the appearance of Dario, the slightly-too-old-for-her grave digger. Surrounded by death, can Leigh move on, if moving on means it’s time to get a life?


MY REVIEW

Jennifer Longo has quite the flair to making you think and feel things that you don't want to. In SIX FEET OVER IT, we encounter loss and death, depression and sadness, new and unusual friendships - a coming-of-age story of a girl who learns that its okay to let go, move on... to live life and be happy.

Leigh, pronounced like Lee, has had quite the tumultuous childhood. We get to see reminisce about her childhood on their much beloved beach house with a cool older sister, hippie-artist mom and fun dad. She also dwells on how their lives fell apart when her sister Kai was diagnosed with cancer. On how her parents are unable to deal with it, and they start to neglect the girls. And then Leigh is left to try to keep what little is left of her life together by going to school, ignore the bullying that happens, and then coming straight home from school everyday to be with Kai.
Leigh tried her best, but there is only so much a tween, now a teen, can do.
Especially after the loss of her best friend.
And then her father, Wade, uproots the family and moves them to a cemetery where he has big plans, but then proceeds to make Leigh do all the office work and hires Dario to do all of the landscaping and handiwork. Wade hasn't a clue on what he's doing and puts high expectations on Leigh to handle the emotional side of it without a second thought. All while Leigh's mother hides in their home, depressed, painting beach landscapes. And Kai, in remission, goes back to school, takes up running and leads a normal teen life.

Leigh is lost. She believes that she is cursed, that bad things and death follow her and that she must keep herself from anything good in order to avoid bad things happening. She doesn't think twice about how her sister is moving on, but is hurt when her sister doesn't share the details with her. She wishes she could smack her parents on the side of their heads to get them to realize that things are bad, not normal, but, she's afraid of the fallout and then having more responsibilities. She pushes away potential friends, because she doesn't want her bad luck to interfere...
but when she finally lets someone in, just a little bit, and sees that there is some potential, even in her current state, she's confused about being hopeful... will Leigh dare to stand up for herself? Be happy? Dream of a better life?

Filled with insightful moments, sarcastic humor and great prose with memorable characters.... Leigh's story will make you think about how we deal with loss and hope. And will make you reevaluate how we treat ourselves, and not to be so abrupt with our decisions and loved ones. And that even in the most dire times, redemption and hope can be found.


*A hardcover book was sent from the publisher for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.




GIVEAWAY



ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Jennifer Longo

A California native, Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Acting from San Francisco State University and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Writing For Theatre from Humboldt State University. 
She is a two-time Irene Ryan Best Actor award recipient and a Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Best Full Length Script honoree for her play, Frozen. 

After years of acting, playwriting, working as a literary assistant at San Francisco’s Magic Theatre, then as an elementary school librarian, Jennifer told the occasional story at San Francisco’s Porch Light Storytelling Series and decided at last to face her fear of prose and actually write some. 

A recent San Francisco transplant, Jennifer lives with her husband and daughter near Seattle, Washington beside the water on Mercer Island and her every hour is consumed by writing, running marathons, tide pooling, walking her kid to ballet class eleven thousand times each week and reading every book she can get her hands on.


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