Review: Six Feet Over It by Jennifer Longo (Blog Tour)

Six Feet Over It by Jennifer Longo

Leigh sells graves for her family-owned cemetery because her father is too lazy to look farther than the dinner table when searching for employees. Working the literal graveyard shift, she meets two kinds of customers:

Pre-Need: They know what’s up. They bought their graves a long time ago, before they needed them.

At Need: They are in shock, mourning a loved one’s unexpected death. Leigh avoids sponging their agony by focusing on things like guessing the headstone choice (mostly granite).

Sarcastic and smart, Leigh should be able to stand up to her family and quit. But her world’s been turned upside down by the sudden loss of her best friend and the appearance of Dario, the slightly-too-old-for-her grave digger. Surrounded by death, can Leigh move on, if moving on means it’s time to get a life?

Title: Six Feet Over It
Author: Jennifer Longo
Source: Finished copy from Random House
Publication date: August 26, 2014

I received Six Feet Over It from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I was a little surprised when I started reading Six Feet Over It that Leigh is only 14 (nearly 15). The girl on the cover looks about 17 to my eye. I didn’t mind, but I read middle grade, with characters who are 11 to 13. Readers who prefer characters a little more mature should at least know going in that Leigh is a freshman in high school. It doesn’t make a big difference in Leigh’s case, and as it turns out, learning to drive is important to the story.

Leigh is sarcastic and a little dramatic, but easy to relate to and to like. Her home life isn’t awful — there’s no abuse — but there’s probably some level of neglect. Teenagers don’t need their parents the way young children do, but her mom Meredith isn’t interested in anything other than painting and her dad Wade gives her more responsibility than she wants in the form of a job selling cemetery plots. Not that there’s anything wrong with having a job at that age (I did), but he foists his work off on her because he can’t handle it emotionally. Not okay.

Some of Wade and Meredith’s behavior probably relates to spending the past three years watching their older daughter Kai battle cancer. Now that Kai is in remission, they can fall apart. And the entire family does, with Wade buying a cemetery and moving the family from an oceanside community inland to live in the cemetery, Meredith hiding her head in her art and making frequent return trips — alone — to their old town to visit friends, and Kai taking up running almost to the point of obsession and throwing herself into a new romance. The only one left to hold things together is Leigh. It’s no wonder that eventually even Leigh can’t handle all the pressure.

Leigh does a great job running the cemetery office and dealing with the grieving customers, but her family barely notices when she starts slipping away from them. She’s busy grieving a friend they barely knew — too busy at the time worrying over Kai — while trying to adjust to a new town and new school. Her only friends are Dario, the cemetery’s illegal immigrant gravedigger, and Elanor, a homeschooled girl she spends most of her time avoiding, afraid to get too close.

I really like Dario and his friendship with Leigh. Although he doesn’t return her attention, he helps her grow up and see that, in some ways, she doesn’t need her family as much as they need her. Yet even Dario has his own agenda, one that involves Leigh. Elanor is innocuous, but because Leigh runs away from her for most of the book, she’s more of a background character until the end. I think that going forward, she’s going to give Leigh exactly the kind of support and friendship she deserves.

I was afraid that a book about a girl living and working in a cemetery would be depressing and sad, but I didn’t find that at all. Yeah, life is hard and bad stuff happens, but Leigh deals with it the best way she can, with humor and a lot of York Peppermint Patties. She has to learn to deal with life the way it is, not the way she wishes it was, and she comes through hard times a stronger person. And she learns Spanish!

4 stars
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Comments

  1. Alisha Sienkiel says:

    This sounds like an interesting book. Thank you for the review and giveaway!! 🙂

  2. My first thought is similar to yours….that this might not be much fun, seeing how the cemetery is so prominent in the story. But it does sound like a good one!
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