ARC review: The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried by Shaun David Hutchinson

The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried by Shaun David Hutchinson

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: February 19, 2019
Source: ARC via Netgalley

A good friend will bury your body, a best friend will dig you back up.

Dino doesn’t mind spending time with the dead. His parents own a funeral home, and death is literally the family business. He’s just not used to them talking back. Until Dino’s ex-best friend July dies suddenly—and then comes back to life. Except not exactly. Somehow July is not quite alive, and not quite dead.

As Dino and July attempt to figure out what’s happening, they must also confront why and how their friendship ended so badly, and what they have left to understand about themselves, each other, and all those grand mysteries of life.

Okay, here we go. I have some conflicting feelings about this book and I’m going to try to figure out how to describe them.

Shaun David Hutchinson is one of my favorite YA authors. I absolutely loved We Are the Ants (it was an easy five stars for me) and I thought that The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley was pretty amazing too (four stars). It’s possible that my expectations were a little bit too high because, while I feel like the writing was good, overall, I was pretty disappointed.

The biggest thing for me was that I felt no connection to either of the main characters.

I should have loved Dino. He’s just lost his best friend. He was fighting with her when she died, so he’s heartbroken. He’s in this new relationship with a great guy and he doesn’t quite know how to process all of his emotions. His father is pushing him into the family business when he really has no interest in it. These are all things that should have made me love him and want to protect him from everything bad in the world. Instead, I just felt like I was watching everything that happened to him from a distance.

July… she really could have gone either way for me. She’s prickly, she’s offensive (sometimes on purpose, sometimes on accident), and she doesn’t really care about whether she makes a good impression. That’s a love-it-or-hate-it kind of character. But I never felt anything much for her, like or dislike, except for when she’d make an inappropriate joke and I’d just be kind of annoyed. I didn’t care about her and I didn’t care about her feud with Dino.

The death aspect is interesting, but was it particularly well-executed? I don’t know. I feel like there was supposed to be some kind of point to it, but we kind of danced around it and then the book just ended. I’m making this book sound like it’s terrible and I promise it’s not. I’m just very disappointed because I expect such great things from this author.

I still have a couple backlist books by Hutchinson that I’m really looking forward to reading. I’m just hoping that they’ll be more in line with what I’ve read from him previously.

#ps19: a book that includes a wedding

Have you read The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried? Is it on your TBR? Let’s talk in the comments!

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