This story is about a boy named Kevin Kirk. On the day that his mother finally finishes her schooling in mortuary science they pack up their things and move to Texas. What Kevin doesn’t realize is that his family is going to live in the top floor of a mortuary. At first, he is disgusted but eventually he gets used to helping his parents run the mortuary. They organize a funeral for a man name Cletus McCulley, whose family is LDS and look at death in a very interesting way. Kevin feels a strange connection to this man, and feels that he is watching over him. Kevin learns important lessons about life and death in this book, how to make friends in a new place, and how to confront bullies. As, he watches his family heal from a tragedy that happened years ago, which caused his parents to leave the LDS church.
This book is delightfully funny at times and yet also able to deal with some serious themes. I love how the author mixes humor and seriousness at the same time. It makes the story light, but also lets you know that the author has an important story to tell. A huge theme in the book is death and how it affects the living. There is also a theme of healing from death and familial love and support. It has supernatural elements in it because of the “guardian angle” role that Cletus McCulley plays in the book. I think the author dealt with that extremely well, making the connection a little creepy, but never like a ghost story. This was a delightful read, and I would recommend this book without reservation.
The book won the AML Award for Middle Grade Fiction for 2004, and you can visit the author website here:http://www.patriciawiles.com/