The dead need Alex to help them reconcile issues they left behind—and he finds that he needs them, too.
Alex seems to be a regular seventeen boy, but in reality, he is “the next generation” of a powerful line of witches of whom duties are to help blocked souls to cross over to the light and stop the evil ones from harming the alive and dead alike. With the help of his family and (girl)friend he also appears to deal with a more personal issue.
The story of Alex McKenna & The Geranium Deaths starts quickly without delays, the background information being inserted here and there where and when necessary. Interlaced within dreams and reality, the past and present events offer new pieces to complete the ghostly puzzle. A puzzle that does not form a clear image as the face of the culprit is not easy to be seen. The danger is lurking and looming in the shadows, keeping the heroes and readers alert if not prepared for what is to come next. The author nicely dosed the gore intensifying the emotions as it sits well when fighting evil. The confrontation scenes are dynamic and visual without unnecessary delays or tricks.
The characters are nice, they and their dialogues are plausible and efficient. Vicki Ann-Bush has succeeded to make the reader feels that in a world in which everything is wanted to be changed, understanding the value of a (traditional) family and community is important.
The rhythm is good, the pages fly quickly. Maybe, in the first part, the traditional culinary mentions, albeit interesting (yummy!), hinder the pace a little. Also, I think that Alex’s gender transition does not have any relevance for the story or the character as the reader would expect from the blurb. It does not influence his decisions or his personality, there is no evolution of the character from this point of view. He is a boy from the first page to the last. Or maybe that is what matters.
Keeping short, Alex McKenna & The Geranium Deaths was a pleasant read and I’m confident that many YA readers will like the danger and challenges that Alex’s special abilities bring. I’m curious now about what Vicki-Ann Bush prepared for us in the next two volumes.