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Life After Theft

Life After Theft - Aprilynne Pike 3.5 StarsLife After Theft was a delightful little surprise. This is the first novel that I've read by Aprilynne Pike and it definitely was not what I was expecting. Firstly, I didn't realize this was going to be told from the point-of-view of a teenage boy as the cover's focal point is very clearly a female. I think a different cover would do the novel justice and help expand its audience.Jeff just moved from Phoenix to Santa Monica after his parents came into some serious money. Back in Phoenix, his family was barely making it by and now he drives a BMW and goes to a private school. His first day doesn't start off as he planned, though, when he sees Kimberlee, a girl who attended the school before her death. Kimberlee believes she has unfinished business and that's why she's still around. She enlists a reluctant Jeff to help her return the things she stole and find peace. Jeff is the only one who can see her and therefore the only one who can help, but the affect it's having on Jeff's new girlfriend, Sera, has him questioning if helping Kimberlee is really the right thing to do.The writing style was a bit too feminine for a male's perspective and that threw me off several times over the course of the novel. I liked that the author went outside the box and gave it a shot, but it definitely needed some work. Overall, I liked Jeff as a character, but his judgmental tendencies and his reactions really didn't fit. In fact, they just annoyed me. He was a bit too preachy about things he didn't understand. Kimberlee, on the other hand, was a horror. While the author explains the girls actions, I'm still appalled at some of the ways she tormented her peers. Even her mocking nature towards Jeff, who is the only one who can help her, got on my nerves. She's not an easily likable character, but I think she progresses a lot in the end. I also really liked the diverse personalities and backgrounds of the characters. No two characters are the same and each provides details to the story that really benefit it.Though there some issues with the novel, the development of the characters blew me out of the water. In my reading experience, I've found it is rare for a young adult novel to have so much focus on the growth of its characters and the morals they come to take into account. Life After Theft exceeded my expectations that way. It was not as shallow as I believed it would be based on the cover and setting. I was pleased that the author did more than the bare minimum.My other struggle was with the speed of the plot. Sometimes it dragged and it hardly kept my attention, other times it was fast-paced and I couldn't put it down. I enjoyed reading the book, yes, but the change of pace didn't do a whole lot for the book as a whole.I know that Ms. Pike's other series was not very well received (at least by the people I know), but after finishing and being impressed by Life After Theft, I will definitely be giving it a shot! This is a novel that isn't extremely dark, but some of the themes need to be looked at and handled maturely. I think that readers who have that capability will be able to sincerely enjoy this book.PS--what the heck was that ending? Talk about final.I received an e-copy of this novel from the publisher for my honest opinion and review via Edelweiss.This review can also be seen on my blog, Book Jems!