Title: To Live to Die
Author: Jason Hershey
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Pub. Date: 9/12/2016
Series: Book 1, but can be a standalone
Thelonious “Theo” Mitchell is a down on his luck teenager, wandering aimlessly through life with no desire or focus. When tragedy strikes, he is taken in by his aunt and uncle. Thrown into a new school with unfamiliar surroundings, he befriends the class “troublemaker”. After yet another tragedy, will Theo fall victim to life, or use the tragedy as a spark and motivation to embrace all that life has to offer?
My Review: 3.5/5
I usually don’t read YA books, but when the author reached out to me to read To Live to Die, I was intrigued.
The story is told from Theo’s point of view. He’s a shy kid, starting out at a new school after his mother dies and his Aunt and Uncle adopt him. He’s lonely, without any friends. From his description of his first day, he comes from a rough school complete with metal detectors at the entrance. It’s a culture shock for him and he doesn’t fit in.
After getting picked on by the class bullies, he becomes friends with the class rebel. As their friendship forms, he begins to trust again. All is going great, until tragedy strikes and he’s faced having to start over.
This is a very short read (under 100 pages), and I was able to read it in a day. I really liked the author’s writing. He’s very descriptive, but not in a “let’s get on with it” way. For the author’s first book, it is very good.
Although the writing and the story were strong, I felt overall they lacked depth. I wasn’t able to connect with the character, and some scenes were so rushed, I had to turn back the pages to realize what just happened (for example, between Theo and the grandmother). I would have liked to see more development around that story line, or with his caregivers.
Overall, I think the future books in this series have potential. I’d like to see Theo come out of his shell and embrace life. I’m curious to watch him involve and become a man.
***Thank you to the author for a copy of the book, in exchange for my honest review.