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Kiss Me, I'm Dead Paperback – October 4, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 7 Up–On the day of her first kiss, June 15, 1904, Mallory Meer, 15, dies in the General Slocum steamship disaster. That historical blaze killed more than 1000 people from the part of New York City known as Kleindeutschland. Dustin Brauer, her Jewish boyfriend, had snuck aboard to be with her. Now, he is accused of setting the fire by the son of his fathers employer, a leader in the German neighborhood. As the official coroners inquest occurs, a secondary one takes place in the community with Dustin on trial. Mallory, now insubstantial, sees everything and helps the truth to emerge. While historically no conclusive proof was found of how the fire started, Welsh does a creditable job of imagining how it spread, including disturbing images of those trapped on the burning vessel. He uses Mallorys ghostly presence to bring the coroners inquest, and those from the boat company and the safety inspectors office, to life. Unresolved tells a remarkable story in a remarkable way. Give this engrossing novel to fans of Kathryn Reiss or Vivian Vande Veldes Being Dead (Harcourt, 2001), and to those who like a supernatural flair with their historical fiction. Without explaining anti-Semitism or corruption, Welsh shows readers the neighborhoods vibrancy and prejudices and helps them to understand how justice worked in early-20th-century New York.–Lisa Prolman, Greenfield Public Library, MA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Ranked one of the Top Ten Children's Books of the year by the Washington Post, KISS ME, I’M DEAD was named a Notable Book for Teens by the Association of Jewish Libraries Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee, a Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) Teen's Top Ten, and nominated for a Cybils literary award, a Best Books for Young Adults (BBYA) by the American Library Association (ALA), and recently added to Horn Book’s list of Recommended American Historical Fiction.

The Washington Post said, "(J.G. Sandom) writes with a precision and delicacy unusual for YA fiction," and called KISS ME, I’M DEAD, “a subtle gem.”

School Library Journal said, "Kiss Me, I’m Dead tells a remarkable story in a remarkable way."

Horn Book Magazine called the work, "A decidedly unconventional ghost story . . . (and) a tightly wound novel."

Kirkus Reviews termed it, "A remarkable account."

Romantic Times said, "Kiss Me, I’m Dead is a book you shouldn't pass up."

Midwest Book Review termed it, "a wonderfully different kind of ghost story."

And said, "Kiss Me, I’m Dead scores on several levels, most notably as a drama that blows apart all preconceived notions of how history can be retold."
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 190 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (October 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1453857028
  • ISBN-13: 978-1453857021
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,750,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on October 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Mallory Meer turns fifteen the week before she boards a steamship in 1904 on what will be her last voyage before the steamship burns and kills her and a thousand others. Yet she lingers, a ghost, unable to leave her love or family until the fire's setters are brought to justice. Turn-of-the-century Manhattan comes to life in a wonderfully different kind of ghost story.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By SQUIRREL on September 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Mallory Meer, 13-year old Lutheran German immigrant, dies on the deck of the General Slocum, a steamship, as she sails up the East River during a church outing, in New York, 1904. We learn this in the first paragraph of The Unresolved, a mesmerizing, often brilliant new historical YA novel by T.K. Welsh. Of the 1,200 or so who set sail that fateful summer morning, over a thousand perished: drowned or burned to death aboard the blazing General Slocum. Mallory keeps a rendezvous with a beautiful young teenage boy named Dustin Brauer, a poor kid, and Jewish, with whom she shares her first kiss ... and it is he who is blamed for the disaster by the grieving citizenry of Kleindeutchland, on Manhattan's lower east side, as they struggle to cope with the loss of their loved ones.

Caught in that netherspace between this world and the next, there is no place where Mallory belongs. She cannot remain, now that she dangles upside down from those shipboards, and quite dead, burned black and in pieces - all now that remains of the General Slocum. Nor can she finally move on - though she'd like to - to that other space, until those responsible for the tragedy are exposed, judged and punished, the dead finally avenged, and her hunger to linger with Dustin dissolves.

There is a public trial. None of the ship's safety measures lived up to their promise. Life vests disintegrated as they soaked up sea water, dragging the desperate who wore them down to a watery grave. Fire hoses burst like overstuffed sausages. The lifeboats were lashed to the deck, contemptuously rigid, uncompromising. The crew was both cowardly and untrained. Those responsible were indicted and ultimately paraded before a public inquest by the city coroner, cross-examined and often found guilty.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Rachel Kamin on January 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Before the tragic events of 9/11, the greatest disaster in New York history was the fire aboard the General Slocum steamship in 1904, killing more than a thousand people on a church outing. Welsh's fictionalized account is narrated by the ghost of one of the victims, fifteen-year-old Mallory Meer. Her boyfriend Dustin Brauer, the Jewish son of a beer brewer, is accused of starting the fire, and he and his father are persecuted by the Lutheran German community of Kleindeutschland. Mallory's spirit and soul will not rest until justice is achieved. As the story of Dustin's alleged involvement in the fire spreads, the anti-Semitic and bigoted views of his neighbors are exposed. A unique and spooky departure from the typical historical novel, The Unresolved, while disturbing and haunting, is also compelling and captivating.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Elvis57 on July 15, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Kiss Me, I'm Dead will delight students of history and lovers of mystery. Writing in the voice of Mallory Meer, a ghost, J.G. Sandom has crafted a captivating tale of intrigue, romance, and redemption. Set against the backdrop of early 20th century Little Germany in NYC, Sandom paints a detailed portrait of life in the bustling German immigrant culture of the Lower East Side, and the ensuing conflict that occurred after a terrible disaster.
On June 15, 1904, the General Slocum set sail from New York for a Sunday picnic in Locust Grove. Packed with over 1,300 Germans, the boat caught fire and quickly sank. Mallory Meer, an adolescent infatuated with her first love, drowned in the accident. Kiss Me, I'm Dead is Mallory's story. In death, her search for love is transformed into a quest for truth. An unseen observer to the grief and desire for vengeance in her community, she roams her former home and neighborhood, witness to all. As her story unfolds, the reader is transported to the lower east side in 1904. History students will be thrilled at the insight into life in Kleindeutschland, rich in detail of the German immigrants, and rife with social and religious tensions within this community and between it and the politics and press of NYC. The causes of the shipwreck and the following investigation will resonate with today's readers. Fans of mystery and intrigue will be carried along as the thirst for blame and retribution unjustly target Mallory's first love, Dustin and his family.
Fans of J.G. Sandom will be thrilled that he has written a thoughtful and thought-provoking novel for young adults. The cast of characters in Kiss Me I'm Dead is varied and fully developed. Readers will root for the heroes, boo the villains, and gain insight to the motivations of all.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Robinson on February 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The Unresolved is a deceptively slim book about an actual historical tragedy. In 1904 fire on the steamboat General Slocum killed more than 1000 people, mostly woman and children, mostly German immigrants, on New York's East River. Many people suffered, and many people were to blame.

In this novel by T. K. Welsh, the spirit of one of the dead, Mallory Meer, is unable to rest until she uncovers the reasons for the disaster. Mallory, as a spirit, isn't very strongly anchored in time, and her thoughts and experiences drift backwards and forwards in a somewhat stream-of-consciousness manner. For example (from page 2):

"My name is Mallory Meer. I'd turned fifteen the week before, and in an hour -- thanks to the only boy I've ever loved -- I would be dead.

I float around the white memorial in Middle Village, Queens, among the other insubstantial figures. We are the unidentified remembered -- the unknown, unforgotten victims of the General Slocum who continue, unresolved, like Tantalus, to grasp at something slightly out of reach."

Mallory travels through time and space, haunting the survivors and those culpable in the disaster, though most don't know that she's there. She learns things about their backgrounds, and their actions, and gradually pieces together the chain of events that led to so many unnecessary deaths. But it's a difficult non-life for Mallory, visiting with person after person, reliving traumatic events over and over again, and trying to communicate with the living.

This book is a haunting chronicle of the ways things can go wrong, one decision at a time, and the way people hide from the truth, and lie to protect themselves. There are also interesting tidbits about immigrant life in New York, and the way that breweries work.
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