05 April 2013

Audiobook Friday #17: Review: Croak by Gina Damico

Croak (Croak #1) by Gina Damico 

Published: 20 March 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Pages: 311 (paperback)

Genre/s: YA, Fantasy

Source: Own library

The Audio Version
Narrated by: Jessica Almasy
Published: 28 February 2013 by Audible, Inc.
Length: 8 hours, 16 minutes


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?

My Thoughts

Croak was a book that kept popping up on my radar, but it was only when I was looking for a fun audiobook that I finally grabbed a copy.  I'm often a little wary of 'humourous' YA books, not because I've had bad experiences but I'm always worried I just won't find them all that funny.

But now that I have finished Croak, I don't think it really should be singled out as a 'humourous' book - it's definitely funny in a very dark way, but it also has a mystery element that turns it into more than a parody of the paranormal.

Lex is one of my favourite characters of the past few months - she's smart, abrasive and has no fear of saying what she really thinks, but she has a fantastically sarcastic sense of humour which I absolutely loved.  She uses her mouth to cover up the fact that she is actually quite self-conscious and insecure, and that makes her instantly relatable.  I also loved her fearlessness - she finds out rather abruptly that her uncle is a grim reaper and she's now a junior reaper and takes it all completely in her stride.  

Her reaping partner Driggs was the perfect match for Lex - their banter and pinching-hair-pulling-punching-flirting was funny and realistic - I loved that this book didn't fall into the trap of making the female character weak at the knees when a boy she likes comes along - instead, Lex fights it, both figuratively and literally.

The actual plot of the story is far more serious than I thought it would be too - and another pleasant surprise because it is quite dark and provokes quite a lot of discussion amongst the characters - I don't want to give away spoilers, but I really liked the way the subject was handled - seriously rather than flippantly as it might have been in another book.

This series has a great reputation, and for a very good reason - Gina Damico has created a fantastic character in Lex, an intriguing plot and some dark, sarcastic humour to top it off.  I've already got Scorch on audio and ready to go!

The Audio Version

The narration of Jessica Almasy is a perfect fit for Croak.  She does a fabulous job in bringing the characters to life without the need for extreme inflections, and her tone is perfect, particularly in portraying Lex.


  1. Wah wah, I am totally guilty of focusing on the humor, but I really love black comedy. Like, I read Velveteen and my main reaction was how hilarious it was, when other people were talking about how creepy and horrifying it was. So. You know. I'm weird. But I did love this one. The second book is even more serious business.

    1. It's not so much that it's not funny, because it definitely is, but I think what I was trying to say is that isn't just 'read this, it's HILARIOUS'...or I'm just talking jibberish, also completely possible!

  2. I enjoyed the witty writing in this book, the sarcasm and the characters in the afterlife. Hilarious that she wrote famous people into those scenes, with great personalities.

    1. The famous people were a definite bonus - I loved how the presidents came across as spoiled brats!

  3. As hilarious as I found the book, I can only imagine how funny the audio would be.

    Those unexpected surprises are great. I love finding that depth that didn't seem totally obvious!

  4. I knew this book was supposed to be good but glad to know it's good on audio too.

  5. Much like you, I heard about how funny this book was (in a dark kind of way) and decided to pick it up. I also loved Lex. She's everything you want the main girl protagonist to be: strong, spirited and sarcastic as all get out. I'm happy to hear that the audiobook narrator does her justice.

    1. I love this kind of dark humour, and Lex was fabulous!



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