by Emma K. Ohland
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Pub Date 06 Sep 2022 | Archive Date 31 Aug 2022
Lerner Publishing Group, Carolrhoda Lab ®
Content warning: This book includes discussions of dying, corpses, grief, depression, and anxiety. If any of these topics aren’t productive for you to engage with in this moment, please feel free to set this book aside.
Sixteen-year-old Georgia Richter feels conflicted about the funeral home her parents run—especially because she has the ability to summon ghosts. With one touch of any body that passes through Richter Funeral Home, she can awaken the spirit of the departed. With one more touch, she makes the spirit disappear, to a fate that remains mysterious to Georgia. To cope with her deep anxiety about death, she does her best to fulfill the final wishes of the deceased whose ghosts she briefly revives.
Then her classmate Milo's body arrives at Richter—and his spirit wants help with unfinished business, forcing Georgia to reckon with her relationship to grief and mortality.
"Funeral Girl is a touching debut about ghosts, grief, and the relationships we have with people both living and dead."—Nita Tyndall, author of Who I Was with Her
"An extraordinary debut; an extraordinary new voice."—Saundra Mitchell, author of All the Things We Do in the Dark
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 96 members
Funeral Girl is the story of Georgia, a 16-year-old girl dealing with immense anxiety about death--which isn't helped by the fact that she lives in a funeral home and can speak to ghosts.
I read this exactly when I needed it. Like Georgia, I have a constant fear of dying, and her thoughts sometimes reflected my journal entries so much that I had to close the book. I loved how caring and strong she was as a character, and also that Ohland didn't shy away from the hurt her anxiety causes both herself and those close to her. Speaking of which, I loved both Amy and Milo as side characters, though I wish Georgia's friend group had been fleshed out a little more.
Huge thanks to Ohland for leaving content warnings at the beginning as well -- this was much heavier than I expected. I cried while reading, which hasn't happened in years, so Funeral Girl gets huge bonus points for that. Overall a very strong debut that tackles difficult themes but leaves a heartwarming and positive message for its readers.
Thank you Netgalley for the advance reader copy of Funeral Girl by Emma K. Ohland in exchange for an honest review. At the beginning of this book there is a statement warning readers that this book is submerged in the topic of death and if that isn't for you to stop reading. I was surprised at the honesty and dealing with the recent death of my mom, I took a moment to consider if I should read it. I went forward and read it and am so glad I did. This book was so beautifully written and exactly what I needed to read. I've never been afraid of death like Georgia, and while I have had people I cared about die, I never lived with it like she does. It's been really hard to grieve though and this book really helped. Death can be so painful for the living, but Georgia's story and everything she went through gave me hope I can make it to finding happy again. Thank you Emma K. Ohland for this book and your amazing timing.
Quirky and heartfelt debut from Emma K. Ohland. Georgia is a teen whose family run and live in a funeral home who finds out she can bring deceased bodies to life. Only, she doesn't quite know how or why she has this ability, and it seems to hurt her more than help, until she wakes a particular boy who went to school with her. You may think they have a love story. They don't. But, somehow their otherworldly relationship helps her navigate earthly ones. Recommended for anyone who appreciates smooth writing, who enjoys raw and authentic subject matter, and who ponders the afterlife every once in awhile. One of my favorite reads so far this year!
4.5* Funeral Girl is a debut novel by Emma K. Ohland and I will forever read anything she writes in the future.
It's a story about Georgia, a teen who lives in a funeral home and finds out that she can wake the spirits of the departed. One particular spirit affects her in a significant way. Through her interactions with this spirit she learns how to navigate difficult relationships with her family, friends, and her morality.
If you loved Cemetary Boys you have to read this! This will release on September 6, 2022 so go ahead and preorder it now ❤
Thanks @lernerpublishinggroup and @netgalley for the ARC!
Words can't even begin the describe this book. This book was a stunning, yet heartbreaking, debut by Emma K. Ohland. This story delves into what it truly means to grieve, and it shows us that we all cope in different ways. In Funeral Girl, Georgia Richter has the supernatural ability to see and talk to ghosts once she touches a dead body. The day she awakens Milo throws her life for a real spin. For Georgia, awakening Milo meant that she finally dealt with and faced her pent up fears, rage, and grief. This book also dealt with mending broken relationships and finding true friendship. I won't give away too much, so I'll end it with that. This was an amazing coming of age story that was woven with the perfect amount of heartbreak. The author also had so much inclusion in Funeral Girl, and it made me so happy to see representation in literature. I hope many people read this stellar book when it debuts on September 6th later this year!
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me a free eARC in exchange for my honest review.
This book was sad. I am not a crier, it's not something I do but this book put tears in my eyes. When I began this book I noticed some similarities between this and Cemetery Boys but as I read it got more complex and became its own thing, nothing to compare it to because it was the first time I had read something like this. This is a book about a girl, Georgia, who works at her family's funeral home and can talk to the dead if she touches them. She is dealing with a betrayal by her friend but also grappling with her fear of death...which isn't great when you live and work in a funeral home. But then Milo comes, and it's different, she crosses new boundaries to help him but by helping him she can help herself. I appreciated the Non-binary rep with Amy, it wasn't a huge deal and their pronouns were respected (except for a slip-up but was fixed when recognized so go people in this town!) It also briefly touches on Georgia's asexuality, which again awesome for the rep! The characters were complex and weren't bland, each had their quirks and flaws but also their wants. I couldn't put it down, I'm unsure if it was enjoyment or confusion, probably a mix of both. Each chapter had me wondering what would happen next because it was such a new and morbid topic. Now on to the main thing about this book, death, death is described very thoroughly from the way the embalming process worked to just a look behind the scenes of funeral homes and the planning that funerals have. It was tough to read at points, death is scary and something that everyone faces but I think the book didn't hide from the scariness but in fact embraced it. It highlighted the ups and downs of death, it was almost calming the way death was described because it reduced some anxiety that I personally feel about death. Its definitely not an easy read nor a whimsical one but its a good book. I look forward to buying it when it releases because no matter how scary the contents of this book are, it also brought some hope with the ending. And that's how death works, you lose someone but time will pass and you can find hope again.
this was a quick and straightforward read that dealt with death and anxiety in an interesting way. also ace and nonbinary rep! happy there was trigger warnings in the beginning of the book because i definitely learned more about the embalming process than i imagined i would.
This review will be published on The Wellesley News in the next few weeks! I will come back and add the link to the review on NetGalley once it's up.
Content warning: discussions of death, particularly anxiety about death.
I was a teenager when I first really thought about the fact that I am going to die someday. I know that’s a little late to have that realization, but I had been fortunate enough to not have any deaths in my family, which is usually what sparks this awareness for kids.
My grandparents are all still alive, actually, but the concept of death caught up to me anyway. I’d lie awake at night petrified by the thought of never waking up, the idea that I and everyone around me would just be gone. It only got worse during the pandemic, escalating to full panic attacks whenever I pondered the idea.
So it’s safe to say that the whole concept of Emma K. Ohland’s “Funeral Girl” — an asexual girl who speaks to ghosts and learns to cope with the inevitability of death — really spoke to me.
16-year-old Georgia Richter has grown up in the Richter family funeral home with her parents and twin brother. She is surrounded by death pretty much every day, and it gives her a great deal of anxiety to consider that one day, she and everyone she knows will have their turn on the embalming table.
Since she was young, she has had the ability to summon and talk to ghosts, as well as to send them off into the ether. (And no, that does not ease her anxiety whatsoever, because where do they go?) So one day, when her classmate unexpectedly dies, she does what she always does and summons his ghost so he can have one last word. Except he wants to stay around for a bit, so she lets him.
I don’t have many panic attacks about death right now, but those thoughts never totally went away, so reading this book was intensely relatable. I felt at times that Ohland had somehow accessed all of my thoughts and spit them out onto paper. “Funeral Girl” is the kind of book that makes me feel like it was written specifically for an audience of me — even though that is obviously not the case.
Georgia’s friendship with Milo (the ghost) is heartwarming and heartbreaking. Milo absolutely did not deserve to die, and I cried my way through the process that it takes for Georgia and Milo to accept his death. (Seriously, I think that I was just full-on sobbing while reading the entire last quarter of this book.)
What really got me was that Georgia’s asexuality actually contributed to her worries, which just really felt like a personal attack. Life is scary, and having That Person to do it with you is a major source of comfort for many people. But if you don’t desire that type of companionship, then what are you supposed to do? Terrifying to think about, right?
One of my favorite things about this novel is that Ohland allows Georgia to be the messy teenager we all once were. The main scary thing that occupies your mind, whether that’s friend drama, an impending exam or massive existential dread, is incredibly consuming when you’re young. This can cause you to make some pretty poor decisions, and Georgia makes a lot of those. Her relationships with her friends, her family and even total strangers are in flux, but what I love is that all those around Georgia are incredibly supportive and forgiving when she does open up to them.
Above all, I think “Funeral Girl” is a story about learning to cope. This is a very real worry for a lot of us, and what Georgia learns (spoiler alert, I guess) is that there’s not one way to manage your fears. That’s a very powerful message that I definitely needed to hear, and I think a lot of teens and young adults do too. I have a feeling this book is going to be really important for a lot of kids.
“Funeral Girl” comes out on Sep. 6, 2022. I received an early copy from the publisher, Carolrhoda Lab (an imprint of Lerner Books), in exchange for an honest review. Also, not to brag, but I will be meeting Emma at a book talk in June for an anthology in which she is a contributor, and I think that’s pretty cool.
Georgia is the Funeral Girl.
Still grieving the loss of her grandmother, shell-shocked by rumors that have plagued her since middle school, and terrified of death that surrounds her at her family's funeral home, what Georgia really wants is to help the dead with a final wish.
But her personal mission gets complicated by Milo - not exactly a friend but in need nonetheless. Oh...and he's dead.
Part ghost story, part teen bildungsroman; part modern update of Our Town, part friendlier Sixth Sense, this book gently taps into our fears of death and the unknown and urges the reader to continue moving on.
"We held funerals at Richter and built these beautiful graves and carved everlasting words to remember. But eventually, it would all be forgotten. We all inevitably forget."
In so many ways, this book reminds me of Maggie Steifvater's Raven Boys - genre-defying YA with the main character so close to the line between worlds, between life and death.
That's probably the best way to describe Georgia - treading the line between here and the hereafter.
You know, grief is a difficult thing to process. We all grieve differently. Some of us read; some of us write. Whatever your process is, author Emma K. Ohland encourages you to find your way through.
Maybe this book will help.
"Well, you have to decide how you feel, and you have to decide what you're going to do with how you feel. You get to decide what you do and whether or not it's the right thing for you. No one else can." (Wise words, Milo.)
Funeral Girl is going to be regarded as the kind of book that really can help young people cope with and begin to understand and heal from their guilt, grief, and depression, understanding that they are not alone. I really needed this one when I was younger and so many people need it now.
I cried multiple times while reading this and once I started I could barely stop but I do feel that reading it was a method of catharsis that I have benefited from, and I've been thinking for a few days now at this point about how much this book means to me already and how much it would have made the difference to my mental health when I was younger and going through a lot of the same things that Georgiana was going through in this novel.
The betrayals of depression and bereavement are also so realistic and and written to be so very heartfelt and tender, but also deeply striking in the honesty and the precision each character and each emotional turning point was written with.
This one is just such an empathetic and gentle but unflinching portrayal of some of the hardest and most incomprehensible feelings and thoughts I have read. This one is simply phenomenal; I cannot emphasize that enough.
I cannot wait to read more of the author's work in the future! This was written with such skill and passion, able to fully cut through all the noise and focus on the things that truly matter in a story that is as hard to tell is this one is, and told in such a graceful, magnificent manner.
eARC provided via NetGalley!
Emma K Ohland hands you your mortality on a silver platter and asks you to converse with yourself about how you grieve in this debut novel. A beautiful novel about the way grief can create breaks and the way grief can fix them.
Grief is a hard thing. Even when you’re feeling it for someone you barely knew.
Even when you can talk to ghosts and try to grant their final request—if she can. That’s what Georgia has done since her grandmother died and she first discovered her “gift.” Georgia and her brother, Peter, are the mortician’s kids. They work at Richter Funeral Home to prep for taking over the family business. When a death racks the school, and Georgia, how will Georgia react? Will she be able to continue talking to the ghosts of those that make their way to Richter Funeral Home? Or will she be too much into grief over a classmate she barely knew to continue using her gifts as she had been?
Book TWs (taken from the Note to Readers): dying, corpses, grief, depression and anxiety
I don't think I have anything bad to say about this book. The writing is phenomenal the characters and diversity [Asian, non-binary, ace, depression, anxiety] are refreshing, the storyline is intriguing and everything works together to suck you in and keep you reading.
There is so much beautiful language and beautifully human relationships it was hard at times to remember this is a book surrounding death and grief and the fragility of mortality. (btw do not read if you don't like existential spirals because this will more than likely put you in one)
The story was fantastic, Georgia was a beautifully written MC, there is so much about this book to love. I cried the entirety of the last like 3-4 chapters. And even through the authors note, to know someone else was weighed down by the pressure of morality and their impending death at a young age made my thoughts seem a little less out there. I needed Georgia, so than you Emma for sharing her with me and everyone else who will have the pleasure of reading this when it comes out.
(also also, as soon as I hit post on this I'm pre-ordering a copy of this bc I need it on my shelf for easy re-read-ability)
It was so amazing, and heartfelt. I got it last night, and then didn't sleep and finished it this morning. It’s got ghosts and funerals and coffins and inner turmoil and existential dread and ace and nonbinary rep and complicated family dynamics and powerful friendships at the heart of it all. It reminded me of the book The Past and Other Things that Should Stay Buried, and I mean that in the BEST compliment ever. it's one of my favourite books!
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