A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend by Emily Horner
New York: Dial Books, 2010
3.5 out of 5
For months Cass had heard her best friend, Julia, whisper about a secret project. When Julia dies in a car accident, her drama friends decided to bring the project--a musical called Totally Sweet Ninja Death Squad-- to fruition. But Cass isn't a drama person. She can't take a summer of painting sets, and she won't spend long hours with Heather, the girl who made her miserable all through middle school and has somehow landed the leading role. So Cass takes off. In alternating chapters, she spends her first part of summer on a cross-country bike trip and the rest swallowing her pride, making props, and--of all things--falling for Heather.
This is a story of the breadth of love. Of the depth of friendship. And of the most hilarious musical one quiet suburb has ever seen. (Description from Amazon).
I can't say that I know what I was expecting when it came to this novel, but I know it's not what it ended up being about. What's better though, is that I mean that in a good way.
The novel is told completely from Cass's point of view, but at different times in her life. It flits between the summer where she comes to grips with losing Julia and "the present" school year where she once again comes face-to-face with an old nemesis from middle school. The switch was jarring a few times, primarily because I wanted to know more about what was happening and not take a trip down memory lane. Though the flashback chapters are important to understanding the relationship between Cass and Julia, I found them less interesting than the present events.
As the description mentions, Julia wrote a play called Totally Sweet Ninja Deathsquad. Whenever a phrase such as this pops in a book, I get a little worried. How hard is this trying? Well this one doesn't feel that way at all. The language is appropriate and natural. I can absolutely see Julia as the author of the play, and her friends as the ones who get it on stage.
This novel is an example of how things come about in unexpected ways. Friends prove themselves, opportunities present themselves, and love finds a way.
Disclosure: I borrowed this ebook from my local library.