From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Goth girl Velveteen Monroe died at the age of 16, tortured and killed by a serial killer nicknamed Bonesaw. Her spirit now exists in Purgatory, trapped along with innumerable other souls who all have unresolved issues that prevent them from moving on. In the City of the Dead, Velveteen has a job to do as part of a Salvage team that searches for and rescues souls trapped in the world of the living. However, neither her job nor her hot teammate Nick can distract her from her obsession with haunting her murderer and preventing him from killing other girls. This is a problem because haunting upsets the natural balance and is strictly forbidden in Purgatory. As massive tremors occur more and more frequently in the City of the Dead, the side effects of Velveteen's attempts at revenge may endanger the whole world. This dark fantasy incorporates some complex world-building in its vision of Purgatory, which is very different from the gentle afterlife depicted in books such as Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones (Picador, 2002) or Gabrielle Zevin's Elsewhere (Farrar, 2005). The otherworld is gray and ashen, and the eventual fate of those who move on and disappear from Purgatory is ambiguous. This book is not for the faint of heart, as the descriptions of Bonesaw's tortures are graphic and gruesome, and there are a number of gross-out scenes involving the Salvage team reanimating rotting corpses. Older teens with a taste for the macabre will appreciate this one.-Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Murdered by a sadistic serial killer, Velveteen Monroe now lives in purgatory, helping to retrieve wandering souls from the land of the living. She doesn’t fully remember her death, but she knows Bonesaw is still torturing and murdering other teen girls, and so she secretly crosses over, determined to haunt him and free his current victims. But the afterlife and revenge get more complicated when a rebel group, the Departurists, threaten purgatory’s precepts, and Velvet develops feelings for Nick, a soul she retrieved. As the uprising intensifies and her painful memories unfold, the events bring potentially devastating consequences for herself, others, and both worlds. Dark, edgy, and not for the squeamish, this features plenty of grisly gore and horror elements and an intricately detailed dystopian afterlife, marked by pop-culture references and droll, occasionally coarse banter. Though the pace sometimes lags and the plot and characters can be sketchy or a stretch, prickly and defiant Velvet has intriguing complexities, as she grapples with her death, current existence, and uncertain future. A dense, often provocative debut. Grades 10-12. --Shelle Rosenfeld