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The Less-Dead Hardcover – January 12, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (January 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385736754
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385736756
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 6.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,352,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up—Part mystery, part morality tale, The Less-Dead preaches tolerance through a story about a serial killer murdering gay teens. In Lurie's convincingly drawn corner of Austin, TX, youth groups and church camps dominate the social scene. Noah Nordstrom, son of radio personality Bible Answer Guy, is as much a rebel for his anti-evangelism as for the drug offense that got him sent to an alternative school. When a local gay teen in foster care is murdered, with a quote from Leviticus left nearby, Noah suspects that a homophobic caller to his father's show is responsible. His interest in the case becomes personal when he meets Will. Although Noah wants to respect gay people—both for moral reasons and to annoy his father—he is initially uncomfortable and hostile when Will reveals that he is interested in him. Then Will is killed. Noah uses his unique knowledge of him, including a journal of his poetry stolen from the crime scene, to investigate. Unsurprisingly, Noah learns there is more than meets the eye to a variety of characters: the tough-looking kid at school, the member of a homophobic church who is arrested for the murders, and, of course, the person who turns out to be the real killer. This is an adequate mystery, but savvy gay, lesbian, and bisexual teens, or those who already have LGBT people in their lives, may be underwhelmed by the message of tolerance.—Megan Honig, New York Public Library
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

A little hashish landed Noah and his buddy Carson in juvie, but that doesn’t alter their goal of breaking into the local Austin, Texas, music scene. While playing guitar in a pedestrian area, Noah is befriended by Will, who shares Noah’s interest in poetry. The first shock is that Will is gay; the second shock is that Will has a crush on Noah, who is straight; and the third shock is that Will ends up dead, the latest victim of a killer who is targeting homeless gay teens. Cryptic notes suggest the killings have a biblical bent, yet a strained relationship makes it hard for Noah to turn to his religious talk-show host father (known as the Bible Answer Guy). Though peppered with surprises, the plot strains credibility near the end; thankfully, Lurie’s character details are totally refreshing. Noah’s conflicted response to Will is dead-on, as is the handling of the various strains of Christianity. A lengthy author’s note breaks down the Bible passages most commonly used to label homosexuality a sin. Grades 9-12. --Daniel Kraus

More About the Author

I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. I now live in Austin with my husband and four kids. Yes, four. Crazy, I know. I went to Hunter College in Manhattan, and worked several years as a NICU nurse. I began writing for teens in my mid- thirties and have been doing it ever since. It's the best job in the world.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on February 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Raised in a strict evangelical home, author April Lurie explains in her author's note how closely she can relate to Noah Nordstrom, the main character in her latest book. THE LESS-DEAD is a compelling story of drama, religious frustrations, and murder.

Noah Nordstrom has been raised from birth to view religion and the Bible as the road map of life. His father is the well-known Bible Answer Guy whose radio talk show is extremely popular in the Bible-belt city of Austin, Texas. Maybe in rebellion against his father and his church upbringing, Noah has turned into a troublemaker. He attends a school for juvenile offenders and his parents attempt to keep him on a short leash.

Despite almost constant supervision, Noah and his friend, Carson, get out quite a bit using youth group activities as a cover. On one such outing, Noah meets Will, a foster kid living on the streets. Will's interest in poetry and music make for the beginning of a fast friendship. The two find they have a lot in common, although Carson lets Noah in on the fact that Will is gay and may be interested in more than simple friendship.

When Noah lets Will know he is straight and hoping to win back his ex-girlfriend, Aubrey, Will seems happy with just being friends and sharing their common interests. Noah invites Will to his house, thinking his father might be able to help Will find a place to stay, but when Mr. Nordstrom finds out Will is gay, his religious beliefs come between his son and the help he wants for his friend. Noah is furious, and the already fragile relationship with his father deteriorates even further.

A background bit of plot becomes central to the story as Noah and Will spend more time together. A gay teen is found murdered in Austin.
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Format: Hardcover
THE LESS-DEAD
APRIL LURIE
YA Contemporary

Rating: 3.5 Enchantments

Noah Nordstorm likes to rebel, especially against his father who just happens to be the host of a popular Christian radio show. Noah is embarrassed of his father's messages which he feels are spreading hate. Then a couple local gay teens are murdered. Noah is convinced the killer called into his father's show.

Noah then meets Will Reed, who happens to be into poetry and is also gay. Noah at first feels strange around Will. When Noah finds out Will has been kicked out of his latest foster home, he tries to reach out. Then tragedy hits. Noah is filled with guilt and determined to find the killer. He's also wants to show his father and others like him that spreading anti-gay propaganda is behind the recent killings.

This book haunted me and brought the recent gay hate crimes to light. I totally believe in the message--that it's dangerous to label others and justify this by using the Bible. I agree with the author that God is love, not hate. Also I thought the author's interpretation of the scriptures used to flame anti-gay propaganda was interesting and insightful.

But this story is more than that. It's a murder mystery where a teen searches for the killer of a friend. Noah at first seems unlikeable but I could understand some of his reactions as I've been around mega conservative Christians too. His struggle to separate himself from his father's intense views is something I know teens can relate with. The author does a great job of showing this during a family dinner scene where Noah's father actually meets someone, in this case Will, who happens to be the very person he uses in his homophobic radio messages.
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By Darcy Wishard on June 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The Less-Dead by April Lurie is about a seventeen-year-old boy named Noah Nordstrom. His father, John Nordstrom is the famous "Bible Answer Guy." Noah and his father's views about God, the Bible, church and homosexuality are very different. Noah has never even met a gay person until he meets Will Reed, a gay teen living in the foster care system.

When Will is murdered soon after Noah ditches him due to his uncomfortableness with Will be gay, Noah feels guilty and decides to investigate. All of the murdered gay teens are out of the foster care system where they are missed less and are therefore, "the less-dead." When he finds out that there are Bible scriptures left near the murdered gay teens bodies, Noah wonders if the murderer is a follower of his fathers homophobic talk show. Can Noah figure out who the real murderer is before someone else dies?

This book is filled with mystery and will keep you coming back for more! Not only was it a great book but it does a good job of revealing the misconceptions that some people have about homosexuality. I really enjoyed reading this mystery and I hope more people will read it even if they are uncomfortable with the topic. Hopefully it will give them a look at the other side of story and help them to become more open-minded.
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