by Eric Laster
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 19 Apr 2016 | Archive Date 05 Jul 2016
Letter Better Publishing Services, Automatic Publishing
When Curtis Brooks gets a phone call from his older brother Wilt the week after his funeral, he’s sure his brother is reaching out from beyond the grave to find evidence that will lead to his murder’s arrest. But Wilt claims he wasn’t murdered; his calling is standard protocol for newly deceased at the Aftermart—a kind of inescapable, ever-expanding Walmart filled with obsolete technology and discontinued products.
Curtis embarks on a dangerous plan to find the killer, which soon has him scheming against a billionaire and fumbling towards love with his brother’s ex-girlfriend Suzy, all while struggling with typical high school drama and his single mom’s questionable choices.
Why does Wilt help Curtis win over Suzy, even as he organizes a rebellion at the Aftermart? Who wanted him dead? Curtis risks his life to answer these questions, in the process forging a bond with his brother unlike any they ever had.
National and local morning show appearances
Massive integrated on- and off-line buzz campaign, including: Aftermart microsite allowing readers to interact with older technology, unlocking passages of the book and recordings of Wilt; Tumblr page posting animated GIFs of past technology from Aftermart; and Tear Here posters for the Aftermart's Lost & Found with phone numbers leading to an automated recording of Wilt promoting #Static; and pop-upAftermart at author events
Author featured at comic conventions across the country, including San Diego (130,000 attendees), New York (150,000 attendees), Salt Lake (70,000 attendees), and Denver (100,000 attendees)
Wide ARC mailing with distribution at ALA Midwinter Meeting 2016
Baker & Taylor YA arc program, January 2016
Outreach to major YA print and digital outlets, blogs, and influencers
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 42 members
I enjoyed this book quite a lot. There were parts that surprisingly made me giggle, but most of the time, I was so consumed by the plot, I couldn't put it down. It took me quite some time to process what I read and sit down and write these thoughts down. Paranormal mysteries that make me obsess like this one did are incredibly rare. I genuinely didn't notice that I had stayed up till three am to finish this book, swiping page by page as if there's no tomorrow. Mr. Laster's writing is stellar, fresh, filled with irony, and I'm honestly looking forward to his future works.
I very much enjoyed the writing style of this book. I found myself laughing out loud at times. I think Laster made Curtis very realistic, as I imagined many kids speak and act this way. A fast and enjoyable read. Would recommend.
“It was their having lived reminded me how everything bad, good, and otherwise passes. The nonstop, impersonal shove of time – not the particulars of anybody’s life.” When Curtis’s brother dies in a car crash, but the police think he was murdered. Yet they don’t have any suspects, or any idea why he would be a target. Making Curtis start his own investigation to find out what happened, and why his brother was even on that street at night anyway. About a week after his brother’s death Curtis starts getting calls from Wilt who is in some gigantic Walmart type of place that is forever changing and expanding. Who is calling because his shrink Sean is recommending it, and because as much as he hates to admit it he misses Curtis. At first no one believes him that he’s talking to Wilt until they talk to him to and then his mom starts getting even weirder then normal and his dad demands that the body be DNA tested because he can’t believe that Wilt is calling from beyond the grave. Then we have mom dating Curtis counselor at school Dr. M who is just trying way too hard to relate to the kids. Wilt ends up helping Curtis in his investigation while he is also dealing with after death problems and exploring the Walmart like mart. As Curtis learns more about his brother and what he was a part of and what might have gotten him killed, he starts learning things about himself as well. Curtis goes from being a young guy who constantly thinks about sex to a young guy who realizes that family means everything even if his is a little messed up. Btw did anyone else want to slap his dad across the face when he gave the reason for why he left? I mean really grow up. I still don’t understand though how his mom was getting the pseudo children or how she was even going to afford to house that many, when you consider she was struggling before she got them. Overall I did like this book. Curtis was a realistic character. He dealt with death by avoiding it and then when he couldn’t do that he started investigating in order to find out what actually happened to Wilt. There were some questionable morals when it came to his brother’s girlfriend. Somehow I just didn’t like what they did together. I know Wilt said it was okay and everything, but still it just made me a little uneasy. This is a book for all ages though, and made some good points, when it comes to grief. I also loved the whole mystery/thriller side to this story. Multiple times throughout this book, I was worried for Curtis and his mom. Between the disgustingly creepy landlord (anytime he was on the page I couldn’t wait for him to leave.) and the stuff that Wilt had been involved in, there were so many outside threats that could hurt them that I didn’t want to put the book down until I finished it and knew they were safe. If you can get past the boy talk of their junk all the time and how they constantly focus on sex, then you will find this book enjoyable. After a while I just started glazing over those parts, because let’s face it there were more crotch grabs by Curtis friends then there were real interaction between them. No matter how old you are I think you should read this book if you want to see death from a male teenager perspective. I received an advance reader copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
We all have that one family member we wish we could talk to again in heaven. One family member we miss dearly. Imagine if that family member starts phoning you and telling you how he died.... This was a very funny and quirky read and I really enjoyed this book. Please make sure you get to read this!
This heartfelt novel deals with a lot of serious and dark themes in a way that is poignant while retaining the darkish sense of humor of the protagonist. Curtis's main problem in the story is, on the surface, dealing with his brother's calls from a strange sort of after life that seem to be leading Curtis to find out how his brother passed away. It looks like murder at the hands of some seriously dangerous people involved in some dark and seedy activities. The book engages readers by looking into some of the darker parts of human nature as Curtis encounters these individuals. It also explores topics that many young adults will relate to as he struggles with his parent's divorce when he was young, taking medications for conditions that are never quite explained to him - but that help with his hyperactivity and aggression. He also has to deal with his own choices. Will he compromise what he believes to be right or will he let the darkness and heaviness of it all draw him into the same bad choices of those around him? Curtis's interactions with Wilt in his afterlife experience are interesting, but to me they weren't the driving force of the book. Though, in the context of the book, they actually did take place, they served the same purpose that hallucinations or dreams would have served. They helped him deal with his grief, solve problems, and provided and element of mystery and even humor to the dark life that Curtis is left to deal with.
Thanks so much to Net Galley for sending me an eARC of this book for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own! This book was a riot, I really enjoyed it! Basically, the story follows Curtis, who starts to get these weird phone calls from his dead brother, Wilt. Apparently he's in some sort of afterlife Walmart, Aftermart, where he has to see a therapist and as part of that therapy, talked to those he left behind. Upon getting these phone calls, Curtis decides that this is Wilt's way of telling him he was murdered, and that he should investigate. I loved how, even though this book death with death and loss, there was still funny moments. Curtis refers to his mom as 'the parental' and the sort of adopted, not really adopted brothers and sister she brings home as 'pseudo-siblings.' There's lots of humour in this book, and not that annoying-okay-let's-get-this-over-with-it's-getting-old humour, good ol' fashioned, humour that I was actually laughing out loud to. I haven't read a book with this great a sense of humour in a long time. Writing wise, this book actually reminded me a little of John Green's writing. To the point and witty, while still dealing with serious issues (i.e. death). However the story had that sort of magical realism that A.S. King is known for, with the talking on the phone to dead people. I really liked Curtis, he was quite honest and blunt, but it was fun seeing him interacting with his two best friends. You really don't see a lot of all male POV in YA writing, and I found his voice refreshing and unique, compared to the typical female POVs. I also really loved his and Wilt's relationship, especially as it developed after Wilt's death. They weren't very close before he died, but through the phone calls, Wilt was able to pass on some of his "brotherly wisdom" to Curtis. There were some things I didn't love about this book, and that was, unfortunately, a fairly major part of the book, which is why I am giving it perhaps a slightly lower rating than it could have received. And that was the whole dog fighting operation. This may be a bit of a spoiler, but it comes up fairly quickly in the story so I wouldn't really consider it one. Anyways, I just felt like it was an unnecessary element. Sure, Wilt needed to be going somewhere that night, but it could have been anything, anywhere. I think there was just a lot of details and build up for something that, in the end, had very little, if anything to do with Wilt's death. I also felt like some of the details and things with Curtis's parents were unnecessary. We didn't really need that background info to have the story. I will say, though, this book isn't a thriller. And maybe that's where my issues lie, I was expecting a murder mystery investigative, revenge plot, and that's just not what this book is. It is just a contemporary novel about a boy learning to come to grips with his brother's death, and maybe find out who killed him. It's not a psychological thriller where we see clues to the killer's motives at every corner. I think my obsession with those types of books made me want this book to be something more, something it just wasn't meant to be. Overall, however, I did enjoy this book. It was hilarious and dealt with serious issues, while also teaching valuable lessons on life.