Cover Image: The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried

The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried

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Member Reviews

I have been a fan of Shaun David Hutchinson’s since The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley hit the shelves back in 2015. I’ve followed him through We Are the Ants (2016), At The Edge of the Universe (2017), and The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza (2018). I was incredibly excited when I was approved for The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried that will be released THIS TUESDAY! 
	The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried follows Dino, a boy destined to run the family funeral home, as he is working through the grief of his best friend’s, July, death. But, lo and behold, as Dino is preparing her body for burial, July wakes up!? The two then spend their time hiding, discussing the past, and determining why July has come back from the dead. 
	Hutchinson brings back his typical dark humor for this book; this isn’t surprising considering there’s an animated corpse running around town. He also brings back his talent for writing complex relationships. Dino and July have a complicated past to work through and, currently, have a second chance to do so. This leads to Hutchinson’s usual discussions centered around subjects (e.g. death, depression) that are typically difficult to discuss. He does with with ease, as always, filling his work with metaphors and awkward situations that help readers digest the content. 
	This review probably seems short, but I don’t have tons to say other than I very much enjoyed jumping back into one of Hutchinson’s works. He’s always writes weird, quirky topics with a dark humor and zeal that speak to me on a very specific level. I would definitely recommend you get out there to grab a copy of this book today. It’s receiving 4 out of 5 Awesome Austin Points! :)
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'A good friend will bury your body, a best friend will dig you back up.'  How could you not want to read this book after a line like that?  I needed to know why July came back.

I had a love/hate relationship with these characters.  At times, I loathed both of them - especially July, as she comes across as extremely self-centered and incredibly selfish.  A couple of moments I warmed to her, after the reason behind some of her actions came to light.  Deep down, both Dino and July have some heavy self-esteem issues, but deal with them in different ways. 

The friendship between these two is puzzling.  They appear to care deeply about each other, but make hurtful, biting comments (especially July), and then a couple of paragraphs later, are friends again.  It's true those you love the most can inflict the deepest wounds.  Towards the end, Dino and July's conversations are more heartfelt and honest, and a couple hit close to home for me.  

It's hard to classify this story.  It's made up of laugh-out-loud funny lines and situations, bittersweet conversations, deep character introspection - and I learned far more about how morticians prep bodies than I wanted to.  Things I'll never be able to forget.  An unusual, darkly amusing portrayal of death, and a sometimes too honest, but deeply loving friendship.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
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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.
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I didn't like this nearly as much as Hutchinson's others, unfortunately. Mostly that's because July made me absolutely crazy. She was such a horrible person and everything about her made me wish for the end to get here as fast as possible since it would likely mean she'd die permanently. I don't need to read about only likeable characters; flawed, even awful characters can be realistic and fun to read. But July was next-level awful to Dino, and it actually made me hate the reading experience.

Positives: overweight lead character, trans representation, frank discussions of sex
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When friendships end it’s hard to move on, even more so when the past refuses to be buried. 

“The Past and Other Things that should Stay Buried” follows Dino who is struggling to come to terms with the death of his ex best friend July and his conflicting feelings of the words they left unsaid when his final goodbye is interrupted by her coming back to life and venting out some issues of her own and if they don’t work to mend things quickly they’ll have more than just one undead body to hide. 

This book speaks a lot to friendship and how we as people can hold on to certain things for a lot longer than we should and in this case that manifested into something bigger than just an old feud. Both Dino and July are flawed people who have a history of hurting each other and making up before repeating the cycle and it’s only through her death that the idea of reconciling for real becomes a possibility even if the circumstances leave a lot to be desired. 

I really enjoyed their back and forth as they dealt with their pasts and how they each were able to express how they felt and how the others actions affected them even if some of those moments where shouting matches and the others were quiet I think it really showed the ups and downs of relationships and how we tend to stand in our own way when it comes to getting what we want and sometimes you need the harsh truths to get you on the path to peace and happiness. 

This is an interesting read that definitely doesn’t shy away from the goriness of death but pairs it with two people who need each other in order to move forward in both life and death and I think it’s something a lot of people will enjoy. 

**special thanks to the publishers and netgalley for providing an arc in exchange for a fair and honest review**
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Hello, I will be posting this review to my Instagram, blog, and goodreads on January 21st, 2019. Review will also be posted to Amazon and Barnes & Noble (if applicable) on the book's publication date. Links will be added for reviews once they are public, thank you.

Title: The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried
Author: Shaun David Hutchinson
Publication Date: February 19th, 2019
Rating: 2 stars
eARC provided by publisher through NetGalley

The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried follows Dino who's family owns a funeral home and as a result he has to take care of an ex-best friend named July who died recently. Although she is supposed to be dead, weird things begin to happen and now that she is up and moving no one is dying like they should.

The cover and synopsis pulled me in but the story fell short. Although the plot was interesting and unique, the characters were flat and the friendship between Dino and July didn't really seem like much since they hadn't been friends for awhile and seemed to have moved on before her death. I am sure the author had a point in a lot of the death talk since their was a significant scene but it was lost since I felt no connection towards the characters.

The book is also filled with a lot of fart jokes, rotting flesh smells, and just weird disgusting things decaying bodies do. I am sure others would find these things to be hilarious but I am not one of those people.

It may have fallen short in numerous areas but the relationship between Rafi and Dino was cute even if their characters lacked a bit of development. Overall, it just wasn't for me but I am sure others will love what this book offers.
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I enjoyed this book far more than I expected to! It was weird and slightly gross, but somehow made me both cry and laugh along the way. Any young adult looking for a read that explores the nature of friendship, and isn't afraid of a little weird, should definitely check this book out.
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For a book about death, this book is full of life and what it means to live.  

It has Slurpees, farts, lying to an understudy for Tracy Turnblad, a grandmother, teen love.  But, ultimately, it captures so much about the friendships that we have as teenagers--the nature of those friendships and how those friendships change.  

Shaun David Hutchinson is a master at realistic characterization in fantastic contexts.  A dead but not-dead girl is not realistic, but the nature of the friendship between July and Dino sure was.  I cannot wait to recommend this book to my patrons. One of my patrons is a huge Shaun David Hutchinson fan.  I cannot wait to tell her about this upcoming title.
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This was by far the weirdest book that has made me tear up.

Dino is trying to figure out who he is in the context of his friendships and relationship, decide what he wants for his future, and make sense of the unexpected death of his ex-best friend, July. That is, until July is suddenly not so dead and he's also trying to reconcile their friendship. 

Hutchinson does an excellent job of illustrating the growing pains of wanting to be someone else while also liking who you are with the people you're close to. 

This book is the perfect amount of weird, and honest, and heartbreaking. 

"Knowing the worst about you doesn't mean I can't hope for the best."
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I loved this book! The full review will be posted soon at kaitgoodwin.com/books! Thank you very much for this wonderful opportunity to connect books to their readers!
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Funny, weird, slightly gross. 

Interesting concept which I think many teens will enjoy exploring.
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