Rating: 2.75 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

 

Lilah’s father retired from the family funeral home, leaving both the living and the dead in his daughter’s hands. Before he left, though, he made one last hire: Sparkle Sink. Sparkle, with her delicious cookies, bothers Lilah, who doesn’t see their funeral home as a place for Sparkle to show off her baking skills. What they are supposed to do is to prepare the bodies of the deceased and allow their families a place to say goodbye.

When Lilah catches some kids goofing off with urns during a funeral, she gives them a talking to, which has one of them snapping a picture of her and posting it to Instagram. Suddenly, Lilah is famous … but that’s neither here nor there, because honestly, Lilah doesn’t care. She’s equally annoyed by the kids as she is by the cookie company wanting to buy Sparkle’s recipe, which means Lilah has to take time out of her day to deal with it.

On a trip to Vegas for a convention of morticians and funeral home owners, Lilah and Sparkle end up getting to know one another better. Meanwhile, Lilah is trying to ignore the looks and comments she gets… until those comments come with the sound of money. Lilah suddenly has offers for no less than three corporations to buy her funeral home! The Black Bird of Chernobyl is trending, and they want to make use of it. And it’s a tempting offer. Almost as tempting as Sparkle’s cookies.

Lilah dresses in sober clothing and works as a mortician in her funeral home. She takes her work seriously and doesn’t appreciate people making light of it, or mocking it, or putting it up on Instagram as a vibe. People die every day, and it’s people like Lilah who prepare their bodies and who treat every body with equal respect. She views Sparkle’s baking as cheapening the moment, turning it from a funeral service into a weekend potluck or a bake sale.

Sparkle likes to bake. She has made friends with the other workers, wears cheerful dresses, and helps handle the upstairs work, like selling coffins or overseeing funeral arrangements. Mostly she’s pretty, she bakes, and like Lilah, she likes girls.

Honestly, I didn’t feel like either Lilah or Sparkle came through clearly as characters, especially Sparkle, and instead they felt like set pieces for the story. Part of this is because so much of what happened to them was something I was told happened, rather than anything I actually saw happening. For example, Lilah’s past as an unusual child who did strange things. But it’s all in the past, all in the stories other people tell about her and never in the moments that Lilah, the character, experiences while moving through the book.

And that same distance affects Lilah’s relationship with Sparkle, where they meet (which happens off page), then talk (much of which happens off page), then become friends and then lovers (again, off page). I’m left feeling indifferent. If the moments weren’t important enough to be shown, if the conversations were so pointless they didn’t need to happen for the characters to get from point A to point B, then why did I have to read the events that surrounded them? I don’t need to see every moment of their lives, but I would have liked to know what brought them together other than alcohol and working in the same building.

I’m left with no real reaction to this book other than frustration that there’s nothing here for me to sink my teeth into, nothing to hold my interest. Something in the way it’s written and the style of storytelling, with all the emphasis on the telling, made it feel monotone, with a very flat, single note that I struggled to enjoy. I usually have two or three books going at a time, but this is one I had to remind myself to read … and then often found myself wandering away from it, or putting it down in favor or something else. Eventually, I just decided to sit down and finish it, and while I’m sure some of that colored my reaction, it’s also how I feel about this book.

This book is not bad, nor is it poorly written, but it is not the book for me, and that’s fine. This is a book that is meant for someone else who will enjoy the writing style and the storytelling, and who will laugh at the humor. As with every book, I hope it finds its audience, and if you’re interested in giving this book a go, I do hope you enjoy it.