Author: Aprilynne Pike
Release Date: April 30, 2013
Release Date: April 30, 2013
Source: An ARC was sent by the publisher in exchange of an honest review
Published by: HarperTeen
Moving to a new high school sucks. Especially a rich-kid private school. With uniforms. But nothing is worse than finding out the first girl you meet is dead. And a klepto.
No one can see or hear Kimberlee except Jeff, so--in hopes of bringing an end to the snarkiest haunting in history--he agrees to help her complete her "unfinished business." But when the enmity between Kimberlee and Jeff's new crush, Sera, manages to continue posthumously, Jeff wonders if he's made the right choice.
I'm not exactly sure what to make of this book honestly. Everything about it - the characters, the plotlines, the relationships, even - caught me in surprise, and pretty much throughout the novel I had no inkling what was going to happen next. I expected love to blossom between the two main leads, but what I got was the exact opposite - they honestly can barely stand each other! I expected a fun story full of witty and snarky remarks exchanged between Jeff and Kimberlee, and while I did get that, I didn't expect the message that the novel wanted to get across to be poignant and something that you would want to ponder for a while.
This isn't a book that would offer you answers about the afterlife, or why exactly is it that only Jeff could see Kimberlee. Instead, this is a novel that would allow you to linger on the consequences of one's actions, and maybe, just maybe, it isn't too late to do something about what you did wrong in the past. Jeff represents a chance for Kimberlee to right so many wrongs, and I really can't blame Kimberlee for doing absolutely anything she can to have the assurance of Jeff's help, but my perspective definitely shifts as I continued reading the novel.
I love how Pike subtly drilled to her readers just how powerful an emotion sincere remorse and just how much one can achieve through it. I was also particularly impressed with how Pike explored the concepts of doing something you have to do as opposed to doing it because you actually want to through both Jeff and Kimberlee's characters, and how massive the difference is between both notions. Pike ascertained that being forced to do something can only contribute to the failure of your ultimate goal. Jeff never wanted to help Kimberlee out - he was only forced to do so because she threatened to haunt him forever if he didn't; on the flipside, she to return the things she stole simply because she believed there was no other way for her to move on otherwise. The aftermath of Jeff and Kimberlee's choices - choices that were driven by the wrong reasons; the wrong motives - slowly make themselves known throughout the novel.
I love how Pike developed Jeff and Kimberlee's characters through their complicated (and rather difficult to define) relationship. They helped each other grow - through each other, they learned how to see the world with more knowing eyes, and at the same time they finally figured out how to see themselves for who they truly are. Jeff was a bit of a pushover towards the beginning, but the scene wherein he finally tells off Kimberlee (and in the process tells her something that she has needed to hear for a long time) was rather riveting and eye-opening.
Life After Theft was easy to read. It was difficult to put down, and Pike did a great job with the pacing of the novel. It wasn't too fast-paced that I got a whiplash with every turn of a page, and it wasn't too dragging that I had to fight to keep my eyes open. I also liked how Pike addressed Kimberlee's kleptomania - I actually got chills when Kimberlee tried explaining to Jeff how she can't stop stealing, and furthermore, how she describes her feelings when she takes the things other people hold dear was just excellently written. This may not be your usual YA paranormal novel, but it's one that gets the author's message across perfectly.
Rating: 3.5 Stars