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Once Dead, Twice Shy (Madison Avery, Book 1) Hardcover – May 26, 2009

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Michael Vey 4
Featured New Release in Teen Science Fiction & Fantasy

Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st edition (May 26, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061718165
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061718168
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #876,805 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A seasoned author of supernatural tales, Harrison makes her YA debut with the story of 17-year-old Madison Avery, who is killed by a "dark reaper" named Kairos on her prom night. But by stealing Kairos's amulet in the process, Madison manages to retain her soul. Along with Barnabas, a beautiful "light reaper," and Grace, her guardian angel, Madison plots to repossess her body and protect her prom date from Kairos and from the dark reapers' attempts to control time and fate. Having been content as an outsider ("I was happier being myself-purple hair, loud music, dead, and everything-than trying to fit in"), Madison must build her trust in others in order to save her life and discover her fate-whether or not she even believes in fate. Though rules and explanations seem at times a little too convenient, Harrison weaves an exciting battle, not between good and evil, but between free will and destiny. A compelling blend of mysticism, suspense and surprise make for a quick and pleasurable read. Ages 12-up.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Grade 7-10–With her purple-tipped hair and Goth style, Madison didn't fit in when she was alive, and she has real problems now that she is dead. She went to the prom with popular and handsome Josh, but when she found out that her dad had arranged the fix-up, she ran off with the dangerously charming Kairos. This was a bad idea. Kairos is a dark timekeeper who needed to strike down Madison because his own time was about to run out and when he tried, she stole his amulet. This event sets off a unique adventure in which Madison is stuck somewhere between life and death. Caught up in a world of dark and light reapers, seraphs, and guardian angels, she has to fight to get the correct amulet and to reunite her body and soul so that she can live out a life cut short. The characters and their specific jobs and places in the hierarchy of heaven and earth are hard to follow, perhaps because this first book in the series is the setup for those that follow. The final chapters are by far the best as readers finally get a handle on all of the intricacies of the story and become attached to some of the characters, such as Grace, a funny and charming guardian angel who often speaks in limericks.–Jake Pettit, Thompson Valley High School, Loveland, CO
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

New York Times bestselling Kim Harrison was born and raised in the upper Midwest, and she has since returned there to better enjoy the snow. When not at work in the Hollows series, she spends her time tending orchids, landscaping her new/old Victorian home, and learning how to golf with her mom. Her current vices include good chocolate, and exquisite sushi. Her bestselling novels include Dead Witch Walking; The Good, The Bad, and The Undead; Every Which Way But Dead; A Fistful of Charms; For a Few Demons More; and Ever After.

Customer Reviews

Well written, enjoyable characters kept me interested until the very end.
If a few more pages were added and spent on characters, backstory, transitions and things like that the potential could have been better realised.
I think it's a great read for younger readers to be introduced to Urban fantasy.
Emma Southee

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 46 people found the following review helpful By J. Hulet on May 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Madison Avery is dead, but that won't stop her from trying to live a normal life for a high school girl. At Prom, Madison's willful ways lead to her physical death at the hands of a handsome dark angel. The fact that her strong will gives her a chance to survive beyond death seems only fair. But now she has to figure out how to exist and what the rules are.

Kim Harrison's Once Dead, Twice Shy is a well-written entry in the ever-growing and ever-popular young adult urban fantasy genre. Harrison, with her The Hollows series, is a force of nature in the urban fantasy market -- she's one of the best -- so her foray into YA work is more intriguing than surprising.

The first thing that I liked about Once Dead, Twice Shy is that Harrison didn't just re-create the Hollows for her new series. In fact, she didn't even develop an entirely new world where magic, werewolves, and vampires live -- this is our world. Kim Harrison used traditional ideas about guardian angels and twisted them a bit. In essence, Madison is caught in an on-going conflict between two different schools of thought about freedom of choice and fate.

Madison and the supporting cast are all interesting characters. I got a bit annoyed with some of them occasionally, but Kim Harrison has always been able to create characters who sometimes annoy me and yet still manage to keep me interested in their stories! I'm an adult male with my own teenage daughter, and while I may not be able to relate completely to Madison Avery, I think that many young readers will.

Harrison doesn't try to do too much in this first book. She doesn't have to because the world it's set in is our own world. That's welcome because it decreases the amount of information that a reader who is new to urban fantasy will have to absorb.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on May 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Madison's dead. Well, sort of.

See, there was this dark reaper who scythed her, for reasons she still hasn't figured out, and technically she should be long gone. But when he came back to destroy her soul as well as her body, she was able to steal an amulet from him that's allowed her to keep walking around and breathing (even though she doesn't really need to), and appearing alive to anyone who doesn't know any better.

Unfortunately, the owner of that amulet wants it back - badly. And the light reaper assigned to help Madison adjust to her new pseudo-life may not be able to protect her from him.

As Madison struggles to hold onto her life and to save those she cares about who end up targeted as well, she discovers there's a whole lot about this life and death thing she doesn't know, and uncovering those secrets may be the only way she can hope to survive.

ONCE DEAD, TWICE SHY is a fast-paced and engaging read from start to finish. Madison makes an enjoyable narrator, stubborn and sarcastic but with a lot of heart, and enough smarts to get her through some very sticky situations. Harrison has created a fascinating and unique world of reapers and other afterlife figures, though at times readers may find all the information a little hard to follow.

With plenty of suspense and humor and a little romance, this book will appeal to paranormal fans of all ages.

Reviewed by: Lynn Crow
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Judah on June 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Normally I don't read YA, but I do read Kim Harrison. Love her Hollows series.

Barely made it past the first four chapters, especially because the story starts in media res (in the middle of things). Madison spends the first few chapters more worried about what people think of her and her social status than focusing on the weird yet important stuff. I really hate dumb and shallow heroines, but Madison finally realizes she might die again if she doesn't figure out something with the supernatural stuff she's got.

The last half of the book is good Harrison without too much teenage baggage.

What really drops the book down to three stars is authority issues. Madison is 17. At that age you're more worried about birth control, as opposed to being grounded because your Dad comes home at 6pm and you have a boy over un-supervised. At 17 you don't have a 10pm curfew, and you are allowed to date. This makes sense only if the target audience is younger than 17, and you are writing for them.

So might be great book for young adults, but as an adult who likes Kim Harrison, I wish she'd written a more interesting, more wise heroine.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By brookereviews on May 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
If you want some background story to Once Dead, Twice Shy (Madison Avery, Book 1) you should read Kim Harrison's short story in Prom Nights from Hell anthology!

A Blurb:

Madison Avery is dead. After running away from her prom date with a strange guy she's never met before, they get in a car accident. This does not kill her. The guy's (a Dark Reaper) sword stabbing her does. She doesn't know why he came to kill her, but she knows that by stealing his amulet she is able to keep her soul in her body and continue living life normally, or as normal as possible when you're a dead teenager. Now she is constantly under the watchful eyes of Barnabas, a Light Reaper, and Grace, her new Guardian Angel. While trying to learn to read auras and thoughts, Madison is trying to keep up the facade of a normal life at home with her dad, and her relationship with Josh (her prom date).

Since I assure you I could not go into the depths needed to describe Light Reapers, Dark Reapers, and Time Keepers and have it make any sort of sense, I send you to here to get a Librarian's perspective! [...]

The Thoughts:

I love Madison. She's a super spunky girl trying to get used to being dead. Something we all can relate to right? Once Dead, Twice Shy (Madison Avery, Book 1) is not a book to read super fast, because you need to be able to understand what you're reading. You have to pay attention to the world Kim Harrison has created, so you won't be sitting there scratching your head going "Duh, what just happened?" I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the characters are great, especially the addition of Grace the Guardian Angel! She's a smarty pants, and she reminds me a lot of Jenks from KH's Hollow Series.
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