In all honesty I requested an arc of Hold Me Closer Necromancer by Lish McBride thinking that it would be completely absurd, but I simply couldn’t resist the title. I should have checked my prejudice immediately upon opening the envelope the book came in. Sherman Alexie, aka the god of all things amazing, blurbed the book calling it a “scary funny book or a funny scary book” and then continued, “in either case, it is a great book. I love it.” Even with such a serious stamp of approval I still tossed my copy on the bookshelf and went about with life.
Then I walked by it 12 dozen times or so, often chuckling at the title and then getting Elton John’s Tiny Dancer stuck in my head until finally I picked it up and started reading.
It was love at first sight. The book takes place in Seattle (only one of my favorite places in the world), the main character, Sam, works in a fast food joint (been there, done that) and then his life is turned on its head after an ill-timed hockey puck breaks the taillight of a very evil dude’s car. Hilarity and danger ensue! The pace of the book was a good strong gallop and while there certainly could have been a horrible fall into an overwrought “Twilight” mood, McBride does an excellent job of boldly steering her first novel quickly away from that train wreck. The magic and mythology referenced seems more edgy here and Sam’s love interest is a kick-ass female Werewolf who would be more likely to shank you than moon and brood.
I found this story to be fantastically packed with pop-culture references. For instance each of the chapters is labeled with a song lyric such as “The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades” or “Don’t Rock the Boat Baby.” And I loved how refreshingly frank the characters in the book were when talking about drugs, sex, and other such topics that will no doubt send conservative mothers everywhere into a great big tizzy. I did wonder if perhaps this book was originally geared towards adults and was then marketed to a YA audience — no matter though it’s such fun that I’m simply glad it was released.
So do yourself a favor and read this book! Just ignore it when people look at the title while you’re on the subway or at work and raise their eyebrows in judgment. This is a unique debut YA novel that is not to be missed and I thoroughly hope that there is a sequel (or two) in the works.