My So-Called Death by Stacey Jay

mehsi's review

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Our main girl was a cheerleader, but during one of the games the pyramid on which she stood was shaken up and she fell down, cracked her head open and voila zombie!

After that there is a whirl of action, but in short, she is a zombie and needs to come to Dead High, a special boarding school for zombies (be them because of natural causes or because they have been brought back against their will). She meets many people, including her lovely roommate who hates her because she is a cheerleader and wears mainly pink. But she also meets a girl named Trish, who is a deprogrammed. She meets a hot hunky zombie boy named Gavin, and well other then that her life at school pretty much sucks. No more cheerleading, the subjects in the school are a bit strange.

Then brains from Deprogrammed starts disappearing... well disappearing they just get harvested out of the girls brains. Poor girls!

Karen decides to go on an investigation! She will find out who did it.

This book was really fun to read, I sometimes felt sorry for Karen, she was so perky and she was so loved in her other school, and now, nobody cares about her, everybody pretty much avoids her and on top of that brains get stolen.

Karen was a really cute, perky character, no matter what the situation she dove onto it and latched herself to the mystery.

The mystery itself was awesome, in particular the last battle that comes at the end of the book.

I loved Gavin and Karen's relationship and kept cheering for them to get together and be more than just friends. And ofcourse I was hoping for the kiss!

Recommended to: Zombie lovers, people who like the boarding school setting, romance lovers, mystery lovers!

blaarrosir's review against another edition

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I really did not like this book. It had an interesting take on zombies so it gets two stars instead of one. Other than the creative zombie idea, it was terrible. The main character was vain and vapid, making her detestable. I had a hard time finishing it. It's not a book I ever want to read again.

aldersons's review

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Actual rating around 2.5

I like Jay's other YA series a lot, so I was excited to read this. It was a letdown.

operasara's review against another edition

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My So-Called Death by Stacy Jay Follows perky cheerleader Karen. When Karen falls to her death after being dropped off the top of a cheerleading formation she doesn't stay dead, she wakes back up. Karen soon finds herself enrolled at the DEAD school for zombie kids. Unfortunately as soon as she arrives she finds that this school isn't as easy to navigate as the one she left. Her roommate is creepy, everyone seems to dislike her and her classmates are having their brains stolen.

This is a cute zombie novel that kids will love. Karen is a spunky zombie girl who is unafraid to be herself even when it's unpopular. The mythology is crafted in an entertaining way and the mystery has a nice resolution and kept me guessing till the end. I sped through the book reading it in one sitting.

Appropriateness: This book has no adult content. While Karen is in high school her attitude is that of someone younger making this a book that will appeal to a middle grade audience. The romance isn't a main factor in the book and the mystery is more creepy than scary or excessively violent. I recommend this book to readers 10-14.

titania86's review against another edition

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Karen Vera is a perky, blonde, pink adoring cheerleader. She couldn't be higher on the social totem pole at school and she's only a sophomore. The rest of high school should be a breeze until during a football game, she falls from the top of a human pyramid and lands on her head. Normally, this would be the end, but she is genetically undead zombie thanks to an ancestor or two. After scooping her brains back into her skull and feeding her animal brains, Dr. Samedi, the principal of DEAD (Death Challenged Education of Adolescents and the Deprogrammed) High, tells her she has to disappear from her old life and live among other dead people. Of course this is the worst thing to ever happen to Karen. Her new roommate is a wanna-be goth who absolutely despises everything pink; the uniforms are black, shapeless, and hideous; and Karen is no longer top of the social pecking order. To make matters worse, short after her arrival, someone starts stealing people's brains and leaving their bodies for others to find. Karen is on the case to solve the mystery, but will she solve it before her own brain is taken?

I enjoyed Stacey Jay's previous zombie novels, so of course I had to check out this stand alone. The hidden world of zombies was well written and interesting. DEAD High is kind of like the Hogwarts of the undead. There are weird classes like Zombie Internet Technology and Secrets of Morticians: Foundation and Beyond. The school takes in two types of zombies: the dead challenged who simply die and wake up again and the deprogrammed who are magical zombies risen as servants and then awakened to be themselves. The school is free to attend, but the death challenged spend years after their time there is community service and the deprogrammed do work study while in the school. The undead can also do magic, which is largely unexplored in the novel beyond a few instances.

Flaws abound in this book. The majority of the characters were flat, stock characters. The principal is sinister and creepy with a dark secret. Gavin is the hot athlete that Karen constantly drools over even when she thinks he's the killer. Clarice is the dark goth girl who dabbles in magic. They all fell pretty flat and didn't have any depth to them beyond the stereotype. Even Karen proved to be fairly flat with her obsession with popularity and cute boys. She lost interest as a narrator and a protagonist especially when going on long mental tangents about things I didn't really care about. Since Karen is in high school, I would expect the novel to be for highschoolers, but it ended up being obviously written for much younger audience. It's simplistic and lost its charm over the course of the book.

My So-Called Death is a cute novel for a younger audience. It didn't have the depth and subtley I usually expect from Stacey Jay, but it was still enjoyable. I wanted to know more about the world the death challenged lived in rather than Karen's personal dramas. The mystery was ok and had a few twists and turns at the end.

silver_valkyrie_reads's review against another edition

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 Quirky lighthearted zombie book is a step I was willing to make away from my comfort zone, especially for an author I've enjoyed in the past. Not up for protagonists with  magic 'rooted in death and darkness' though, especially as it seems to be taken as lightly as the rest of the premise. 

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bookbae96's review against another edition

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When I heard that My So-Called Death by Stacey Jay was being re-released, it was a no-brainer (ha!) that I was going to have to read it. Stacey has written some of my favorite YA books, and, although this one is aimed at the younger end of the YA age group, it is still completely engaging.

Karen Vera, the heroine of this story, is a pert and sassy cheerleader, who, to put it politely, is Death-challenged, which means that she has a genetic mutation that prevents her from dying. But, when your entire school sees you tumble from the top of a cheer formation to your death, what is there to do but roll with the changes? Karen is whisked off to DEAD High School, so that she may better learn what it means to live as a member of the dead.

I have to admit that zombies are not usually on my list of paranormal creatures that I want to read about. All that blood and death and brain-eating, you know. But the characters in this book are not your typical zombies. Stacey has taken the stereotype and completely changed it, writing a story that is campy and fun, and, given the subject matter, pretty darned enjoyable. I found myself laughing out loud at the intros to each chapter. Entries from books like, 'Total Health for the Death-Challenged, 5th Edition' and 'Zombie Poets Through the Ages, 2nd Edition' were witty and entertaining. The mystery that pairs Karen and her boy zombie crush Gavin ties everything together nicely, making this a story that YA readers will very much enjoy, and, coupled with the snarky banter and typical teen angst, makes for a fast and enjoyable read.