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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend Hardcover – June 10, 2010

3.9 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 8 Up After the death of her best friend, Cass finds herself questioning her own identity, sexuality, and place in the high school hierarchy. Before she died, Julia had been working on a top-secret project: a musical called Totally Sweet Ninja Death Squad. Now that she is gone, her boyfriend, Oliver, and her other theater friends are determined to stage the show as a tribute. Cass is committed to helping backstage, building spectacular traps and weapons until Heather, Cass's middle school nemesis, is cast as the female lead. Heather was the first person to tease Cass about her close friendship with Julia and suggest that Cass wanted it to be something more, and since Julia's death, Oliver has been making barbed remarks, as well. In the face of these complications, Cass sets off on a quest of her own: biking cross-country to take Julia's ashes to California. She tells herself that she is not running away from Oliver's hostility, Julia's friends' cold shoulders, or Heather's disconcerting new niceness. The journey helps her discover things she never knew about herself, and when she finds herself at rock bottom, she learns that Julia's friends are her friends, too. This funny, touching, and sweet coming-of-age story explores serious themes in a fresh way. Cass's tentative questioning of her own sexuality and her hesitant approach toward her first serious romantic relationship will delight readers who struggle with similar issues, as well as those who simply enjoy a well-crafted story. Misti Tidman, Boyd County Public Library, Ashland, KY
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From Booklist

Sixteen-year-old Cass Meyer's best friend, Julia, is killed in a car accident, leaving behind a special project: an original musical entitled Totally Sweet Ninja Death Squad. Cass' grief is complicated by her never-stated and unrequited crush on Julia, and the fact that popular and pretty Heather Graham, who teased Cass mercilessly in middle school by calling her “dyke,” gets the lead in Julia's play. Horner cleverly separates the action into two parallel plots—one occurring during Cass' summer solo bike ride from Illinois to California with Julia's ashes, the other during senior year and the push to stage the musical. Cass is a fascinating and believable character, a Quaker and committed cyclist incredibly competent in matters mechanical and awkwardly inept in matters of the heart. When Heather comes out to Cass and initiates a relationship, it rings true to have the most homophobic person be gay herself. As in John Green's Looking for Alaska (2005) and Nina LaCour's Hold Still (2009), Horner sensitively explores the hole left behind when we lose someone, and the slow emergence from grief that follows. Grades 9-12. --Debbie Carton

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Dial Books; 1 edition (June 10, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803734204
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803734203
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #921,026 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The summary of this book drew me in immediately and I thought I was going to be in for a fantastic read. Unfortunately, the story fell flat for me and I was left feeling disappointed.

Cass was a likable enough lead, but she just wasn't distinctive enough to make a lasting impression on me. She could be very selfish at times, and had a real problem facing up to her issues. A lot of the story talked about how much Cass felt excluded when her best friend Julia made new friends, but in reality, if Cass had actually made any effort, she would have been readily accepted into the new group.

Speaking of the supporting characters, they were another issue for me. They suffered from a lack of development to the point where they all more or less blurred into one for me. They were also very stereotypical, don't break the mold types of characters and I felt it was a real shame that the author didn't take the time to flesh them out more, as strong supporting characters can often lift a book from being average, to being great.

The time jumps in the book were quite jerky and sometimes took away from the flow of the story. It could have been improved if the jumps to the `Then' chapters actually related to what was going on in the `Now' chapters, but to me, it just felt too much like two completely different stories.

Overall, the book was a sometimes fun, but mostly disappointing read. If the author had spent more time developing stronger characters, I think the outcome could have been quite different.
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Format: Hardcover
This is Emily Horner's debut YA novel.

The narrative swings between `Now' and `Then'. The now is Cass back at school after her road-tripping absence, trying to fit back in with her friends who she never felt particularly `friendly' with. The `Then' is Cass's bike-trip to California with Julia's ashes in a Tupperware container along for the ride.

The title is brilliant - `A Love Story Starring my Dead Best Friend' - it really jumps out at you, and is the sort of title that you'd stop and take notice of when browsing at the bookstore. I also loved the title of Julia's high school play; `Totally Sweet Ninja Death Squad'.
But the same way a film trailer can be the best part of a movie, so too can an eye-grabbing title be the only highlight of a novel. Such is the case with Horner's debut.

I think what the novel lacks is something that's quite hard to write. It's that `joie de vivre', pizzazz and charisma that some people just *have* in spades, oozing out their pores. The title has it - a combination of macabre and playful, a hint of wry witticism and dark humour - but Horner's actual writing is lacking in what the title promises. The book itself swings between being depressing and hopeful - with not much humour in between. It's a shame, both because the title hints at a mix of death and humour, and because humour is such an obvious by-product of grief. But Cass isn't particularly funny, she's actually quite dull. Not even her drama nerd friends have much flavour to them - no matter how much Horner insists that gay drama boy, Jon, is `fabulous'.

I said humour is an obvious by-product of grief. I'm thinking of Jonathan Tropper's `How to Talk to a Widower' as a shining example.
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Format: Hardcover
I was really excited to read this book as it was my first by the author. I thought that the title was extremely unique and thought the story sounded like it had a lot of potential. To be honest this book was just ok for me. There were parts of the book that I really enjoyed and some parts that I felt were totally unbelievable. Let me elaborate.

Cass and Julia are best friends and have been for what seems like forever. They share everything together even though they are extremely different. Cass is a math whiz and Julia is into the theater but somehow they make it all work. Even after Julia starts dating, she still makes time for Cass and Cass is just happy to see her friend so happy. But, then tragedy strikes. Julia is killed in a car accident leaving Oliver's house (her boyfriend) and the whole dynamic of the group of friends changes. Was Julia the only thing that Cass had in common with the rest of the theater people? Will Julia's super secret project "Totally Sweet Ninja Death Squad", a musical that she had been working on before she died, become a reality? And how can Cass get past the fact that not only has she lost her best friend but the star of the play is Heather, a true enemy of hers from the past?

The overall tone of this book was one that I did enjoy. I loved how the author alternated the chapters between THEN and NOW so you could see how things progressed for Cass throughout. The emotion that is felt by Cass was mostly believable as well. But, the interaction between Cass and the rest of the theater people seemed a little overdone. Either they were really friends or they weren't and sometimes I just wasn't sure.
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