ARC Review: Denton Little's Still Not Dead by Lance Rubin

review         book

Book Covertitle: Denton Little's Still Not Dead
author: Lance Rubin
pages: 352
format: Paperback
buy it: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads
rating: 3.5/5 (from hated to loved) or 6.5/10 (all books I've ever read)
recommended for: Fans of Spindle by E.K. Johnston, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, and stuff about assassins.
You only live once—unless you’re Denton Little!

The good news: Denton Little has lived through his deathdate. Yay! The bad news: He’s being chased by the DIA (Death Investigation Agency), he can never see his family again, and he may now die any time. Huh. Cheating death isn’t quite as awesome as Denton would have thought…

Lance Rubin’s debut novel, Denton Little’s Deathdate, showed readers just how funny and poignant imminent death could be. Now in this sequel, he takes on the big questions about life. How do we cope, knowing we could die at any time? Would you save someone from dying even if they were a horrible person? Is it wrong to kiss the girl your best friend is crushing on if she’s really into you instead? What if she’s wearing bacon lip gloss?

in depth

  • After laughing my way through Denton Little's Deathdate, I was thrilled when Knopf asked if I wanted to review the sequel.  Denton Little's Still Not Dead is just as hysterical as its predecessor, with even more teenage awkwardness, even stronger plotting, and the perfect blend of poignancy and ridiculousness.  

  • Denton is alive.  He's got a virus that somehow helped him survive his pre-determined death date.  And now he's on the run from the Death Investigation Agency, who's pretty furious that he gamed the system.  Oh, and a lot of people think he actually died.  Like his family.  

  • Rubin turns this hilarious set-up into a dark comedy gem with his authentic, earnest prose.  Denton's voice shouts boldly from every page, with prose that's clever but not convoluted.  Just a paragraph gives you a clear feel for Denton's personality.  He's awkward, witty, and undeniably eighteen.  He laughs at his own jokes and thinks about sex.  He's frequently an idiot, but you can't help rooting for him anyway.  

  • He's surrounded by an equally vibrant supporting cast:  a punny, hyper best friend; a guarded girl who might or might not be his girlfriend; a friend-who's-a-girl with a gift for awkward candor; a radicalized scientist mother who vacillates between passionate and a little terrifying.  Even the bit characters are interesting, like the exaggeratedly-Russian Lars who finds humor in the mundane. 

  • In case you can't tell, it's a book that doesn't take itself too seriously.  There are coincidences and narrow escapes.  There's ridiculousness.  There's a car going the wrong way down a New York alley and somehow not getting wrecked.  But these otherwise plot holes and contrivances fit so well with the novel's over-the-top gentle satire.  Rubin has cleverly crafted a world in which death is predictable, and everything from the funeral industry to reality TV is shaped by it.  

  • For a book about death, it's remarkably funny.  However, Rubin doesn't shy away from a few notes of seriousness.  Denton questions his role in the future of deathdates.  The moral and ethical implications of saving someone else.  The trade-off between being prepared and being surprised for the bitter end.  The impending death of his best friend.  His inability to save everyone.  Rubin tackles these questions with a light overtone that pushes without becoming too dark. 

  • All in all, it's not the kind of book that's going to win awards.  But it'd make one hell of a movie.  Cinematic, preposterous, and side-splittingly funny, it rounds out the Denton duology with a decided bang.  

        in a sentence

        Cinematic, preposterous, and side-splittingly funny, Denton Little's Still Not Dead is a zingy end to a clever duology.  


        will i read this author again?  Definitely! 
        will i continue the series?  I think it's over, but let's be real. I'd read more. 

        Note: I received this copy from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review.  The price of the book and its origin in no way affected my stated opinions.

        1 comment:

        1. I loved this duology because of how quirky and fun it is, even though it is slightly ridiculous. It also helped to get my mind off things, since it was very light-hearted. One of the most memorable parts for me was when the characters were in a love triangle, and the guy was like "I lived to be in a love triangle!", and I just thought that was absolutely hilarious. If only everyone thought the same way LOL.

          Glad you liked this CJ! I still need to write my review haha.