Once Dead, Twice Shy (Madison Avery, Book 1), by Kim Harrison (Harper Collins 2009, 232 pp, YA)
Madison's life hasn't been the same since she died in a car accident. Perhaps if it had an been an ordinary car accident, things would have been different. But it wasn't. After the Dark Timekeeper who had planned it put the finishing touches on her death with his scythe attack, Madison ended up with his amulet, and that lead to four months of time spent with a Light Reaper, trying and failing to teach her a whole new light vs dark skill set. The light guys support free will, the dark guys are the agents of fate, nipping humans in the bud, as it were, before they have a chance to do unfated things.
Confusing at first.
This book is the continuation of a short story in the Prom Nights From Hell anthology, and feels very much like a sequel. I wish the story could have been included in this book, because there's a lot of ground to establish before Once Dead, Twice Shy hits its stride.
But after some initial uncertainty, I enjoyed this quite a bit. Madison, after all, is confused too...and I liked her, and wanted to know what happened. What happens is a lot of rushing around, with Madison trying to keep herself as alive as a dead girl can be, while protecting herself and her friend Josh from the Black Wings (bad soul sucker critters) and from other more powerfully manipulative forces. It's fast (once you get settled in it), it's interesting, and it has funny moments and action packed moments (lots of these), a rather pleasant side trip into photography, and a smidge of teenage romance and highschool angst.
An excellent choice for a 48 hour reading challenge (which is why I read it)!