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“A fearless and brutal look at friendships...you will laugh, rage, and mourn its loss when it’s over.” —Justina Ireland, New York Times bestselling author of Dread Nation
“Simultaneously hilarious and moving, weird and wonderful.” —Jeff Zentner, Morris Award–winning author of The Serpent King
Six Feet Under meets Pushing Daisies in this quirky, heartfelt story about two teens who are granted extra time to resolve what was left unfinished after one of them suddenly dies.
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.
Critically acclaimed author Shaun Hutchinson delivers another wholly unique novel blending the real and surreal while reminding all of us what it is to love someone through and around our faults.
About the Author
Shaun David Hutchinson is the author of numerous books for young adults, including The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried, The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza, At the Edge of the Universe, and We Are the Ants. He also edited the anthologies Violent Ends and Feral Youth and wrote the memoir Brave Face, which chronicles his struggles with depression and coming out during his teenage years. He lives in Seattle, where he enjoys drinking coffee, yelling at the TV, and eating cake. Visit him at ShaunDavidHutchinson.com or on Twitter @ShaunieDarko.
"Biting, hopeful, and laugh-out-loud funny, Dino and July’s story is a heartfelt exploration of how our friendships shape us, even after they’re dead and gone."
— Francesca Zappia, ward-winning author of Eliza and Her Monsters and Made You Up
“A fearless and brutal look at friendships and the emotional autopsies we all do when they die. Like a real relationship you will laugh, rage, and mourn its loss when it’s over. If you haven’t been reading Hutchinson, this is a brilliant place to start.” — Justina Ireland, New York Times bestselling author of DREAD NATION
"Only Shaun David Hutchinson could take on love, family, friendship, life, and death so deftly, hilariously, poignantly, and thoughtfully. I loved every second of this book. THE PAST AND OTHER THINGS THAT SHOULD STAY BURIED somehow manages to be wholly original yet familiar, simultaneously hilarious and moving, weird and wonderful. This is a book you can’t put down even if you wanted to. Have you been looking for a zombie book that will make you laugh and cry? Look no further than this one, by one of young adult literature’s sharpest talents.” — Jeff Zentner, Morris Award-winning author of The Serpent King
Get ready, because Hutchinson (The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza, 2018) is going to knock your socks off with this new, deliciously bizarre novel. Dino's parents own a funeral home, so being around dead bodies isn't exactly unusual for him. But when his ex–best friend July dies suddenly and shows up in his basement, it isn't the fact that she's dead that shocks him, but rather the fact that she suddenly wakes up! As the two do their best to figure out what is going on, they embark on a journey to confront their combined past, and their future apart. However, the longer they spend trying to uncover the mystery of July's reanimation, the more fishy things begin to smell—literally. Readers will find themselves captivated both by Dino and July's complicated history and even more complex present, as well as Dino's own journey of self-discovery. In the midst of everything else, Dino and his boyfriend—a sweet, funny, and supportive trans guy—navigate their own relationship against the backdrop of chaos July has brought down into their lives. Gender, sexuality, friendship, life, and death are all sensitively explored in Hutchinson's surreal, new narrative. His intelligent writing will seduce readers with its complex and spunky characters, lively dialogue, offbeat humor, and emotional depth. — Rob Bittner — Booklist *STARRED REVIEW*
Shaun David Hutchinson has delivered another unique young adult novel. The story is told from the alternating perspectives of former best friends, Dino and July. What makes this different from other novels with alternating narration is the fact that July died and has come back from the dead—not as a zombie per se, but she is a decomposing, yet still functioning (except for normal physiological functions like a heartbeat) corpse. Throughout the course of the novel the two work through the issues in their friendship, accept some of their own insecurities, and come to terms with July’s death. As Dino and July work through the mystery of July’s return from the dead, they realize not only is she undead, but death seems to have ceased to exist around the world. The discussion of the larger impact the end of death would have worldwide contrasts with the personal story of Dino and July and is one of the novel’s greatest strengths. Strong, well-developed characters will have readers feeling like they, too, are friends with Dino and July. The novel addresses sexuality, grief, and occasionally references our current political leaders. Comedic relief is provided through July’s progressing physical decomposition. Purchase for most collections serving teens, especially where magical realism is popular. Give to fans of A.S. King and Andrew Smith. Kimberly Hillary, Librarian, Mount Horeb (Wisconsin) High School
Recommended — School Library Connection
Gr 8 Up–A brain aneurysm killed July Cooper, but it can’t destroy her bond with Dino DeLuca. July rises from the dead at the funeral home owned by Dino’s family, and though the two teens had been on the outs for the past year, they are drawn together as they attempt to conceal July’s reanimation. What ensues is messy. July’s body is slowly rotting, and the two trade barbed words while untangling why their friendship ended after Dino met his boyfriend, Rafi. Once again, Hutchinson defies genres. This isn’t a ghost story, and July isn’t a zombie, as she frequently points out. But she can’t eat, she has no heartbeat, and until she’s finally laid to rest, nobody else can die. This inventive take on the life-after-death narrative ponders profound truths. It’s the ones who love us the most who can inflict the deepest wounds and hold us back, but even bitter fights can’t extinguish some connections. Like typical adolescents, uncertain Dino and snarky July seem wise beyond their years one moment and maddeningly immature the next, and their journeys to self-discovery will resonate with readers. VERDICT A grotesque, mordantly funny, and tender look at friendship, for fans of Aaron Starmer’s Spontaneous and Adam Silvera’s They Both Die at the End.–Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal — School Library Journal STARRED REVIEW