Title: Waking Up Dead
Author: Margo Bond Collins
Author: Margo Bond Collins
Release Date: October 8, 2013
Pages: 214, ebook
Goodreads Rating: 4.3 stars
My Rating: 3/5 stars
My Content Rating: PG-18+ (Language, violence and sexual situations)
The story follows Callie Taylor, who wakes up one day as a ghost in a small town in Alabama and finds that she can't leave. Any time she tries, she immediately pops back into the center of town. She finds life as a ghost relatively boring until she witnesses a murder - and finds that an innocent man has been arrested for the crime. Suddenly, Callie makes it her mission to find someone who can see her - she needs all the help she can get to solved the crime and put the real murderer behind bars.
- Lack of connection with main character. My only real issue with this book was that I never formed a real connection with the main character. She wakes up in Alabama after being brutally murdered in Dallas and never shows much more than mild surprise at her circumstances. She remembers the details of her death (which we find out later in the book were really horrific), but seems completely detached - she remembers it all with a "Gee, I really don't like that guy who killed me" kind of attitude that was perplexing to me. I think that this is the reason that I just never felt invested in Callie or her murder investigation.
What I enjoyed:
- Secondary characters. While I wasn't terribly connected to Callie, I did enjoy the secondary characters - Ashara, Maw-Maw and Stephen. These three are the only people who can see Callie and help her solve the murder. Ashara was fun because she was very no-nonsense and wasn't going to just roll over and take Callie's hauntings without a fight. Her grandmother, Maw-Maw (as Ashara calls her) was equally strong-willed and had strong convictions and a stubborn streak! Both Ashara and Maw-Maw had some hilarious lines and were just generally fun characters (especially Maw-Maw!). Lastly, Stephen was kind of an all-around nice guy who balanced Ashara and Maw-Maw out well.
- Message of racial equality. I appreciated that this book had an underlying message of racial equality. Racial tension is a big theme throughout the book and lots of questions are raised about racial stereotypes and inequality - for instance, Ashara points out many times that, as a black woman, the police won't take her as seriously (which they don't). Racial themes are explored throughout the book and are integral to the plot. (As a side note on the negative side, I sometimes thought that Ashara was a bit extreme and sometimes leaned toward racism herself, though. I felt like this was a bit of a mixed message as far as the racism issue went. She constantly asked why she should do this or that for some "white lady" and seemed somewhat hostile toward white people at first, albeit in a somewhat humorous way - that did change as the book went on and it was mostly done in a bantering style, so I give some grace here, though.)
- The mystery. I thought that the murder mystery itself was well-plotted and the ending was exciting!