If I Die by Rachel Vincent

July 18, 2012 Reviews 0

No one wants to be this teacher’s pet…

The entire school’s talking about the gorgeous new math teacher, Mr Beck. That is, everyone except Kaylee Cavanaugh. After all, Kaylee’s no ordinary high-school junior. She’s a banshee — she screams when someone dies.

But the next scream might be for Kaylee.

Yeah — it’s a shock to her, too. So to distract herself, Kaylee’s going to save every girl in school. Because that hot new teacher is really an incubus who feeds on the desire of unsuspecting students. The only girls immune to his lure are Kaylee and Sabine — her boyfriend’s needy ex-girlfriend. Now the unlikely allies have to get rid of Mr Beck…before he discovers they aren’t quite human, either.

But Kaylee’s borrowed lifeline is nearing its end. And those who care about her will do anything to save her life. Anything.

By now I’m used to something freaky and supernatural going down in the very first chapter of a Soul Screamers novel, but I was surprised regardless! It’s great that Rachel Vincent can keep astonishing her readers five books into the series. If I Die is a roller coaster ride unlike any I have ever read before – the protagonist knows she has less than a week to live and finds out that her Math teacher is preying on his female students. This is an emotionally charged book that – unfortunate for Kaylee – hurtles towards its conclusion and leaves readers breathless at the end.

The most interesting aspect of the novel, for me, is how Kaylee deals with her impending death. Many of the characters remark, with confusion, that she takes everything quite well. There’s no screaming or raging. Kaylee wants to spend her last few days with her family and friends and ensure that the incubus preying on her fellow classmates, including her best friend Emma, is stopped. A welcome, and natural, source of support is Tod, who has a much larger role in the novel than previously (which I loved because I’m Team Tod all the way). In contrast Nash, who I believe hit rock bottom in the last book and couldn’t disappoint me any further, started digging.

On a more personal note, the news of her death brings to the forefront everything Kaylee will not have the opportunity to do, and one of the things she decides to experience is sex. Rachel Vincent handles the issue very well, balancing Kaylee’s helplessness and her desire to be in control of one aspect of her life with the concerns of her friends about making a decision she simply isn’t ready for. I have found that Rachel Vincent has handled the issue of Kaylee’s virginity throughout the series with candour and respect and, above all, realistically, and am glad to find this hasn’t changed.

There are a few things I didn’t like in this book. Keeping Sophie out of the loop is doing no one any favours – not only is she in constant danger, but she must be extremely confused because she knows there is something going on, but has no idea what it is. Although I find her attitude towards Kaylee repulsive I understand where the impulse comes from. Similarly Kaylee’s efforts to keep her best friend Emma in the dark proves more dangerous, time and time again, than just letting her know everything up front. Finally, Kaylee’s attitude towards the relationship between Nash and Sabine is both inexplicable and wrong, in my opinion. She and Sabine make a deal for Sabine to inherit Nash as a boyfriend, and possibly Emma as a friend, after Kaylee’s death. These are people we are talking about, not possessions!

This book certainly delivers! Rachel Vincent has packed a lot into this fantastic book, and its conclusions had me reaching for Before I Wake, the next book in the series, immediately. If you haven’t started this series, you are seriously missing out!

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