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Review: Dead Friends Forever by J. R. Turner

D e a d  F r i e n d s  F o r e v e r by J. R. Turner
Release Date: November 21, 2008 (Paperback)
Publisher: Quake
Age Group: Young Adult
Sequel: School's Out 4-Ever
Pages: 272
Source: Author/PDF
Go Buy It: AmazonBarnes&Noble

Word Blurb: Spine-chilling, dark, and hugely intense!
Synopsis- "Skater Kaylee Hensler might not be Miss Popular, but there are some friends a girl can do without. When the decaying ghost of a murdered girl decides they need to be total BFF’s, Kaylee will sacrifice the trust of her family, her swim coach’s respect, and any hope of a date for the Harvest Dance. And oh yeah… discover that super-evil entities are nothing at all like they are on TV or in the movies Aside from seriously bad attitudes, they not only like to kill…but replay the killing again and again for all eternity. To avoid that fate, she’ll have to rely on her wheelchair-bound friend Davey, the mysterious Madame Maggie, and the surprising depth of her own power. Will Kaylee survive, or will she become someone else's DFF: Dead Friend Forever?"

Quick Thinking: Nerve-wracking and blood-pumping are tame words to describe The Reader's experience while delving into Dead Friends Forever. Saturated with creepy supernatural elements like earthbound ghosts and dark entities, grim mysteries and suspicious deaths, and chilling circumstances, this novel has a very spooky and thrilling air. Slowly discover the truth of long ago alongside Kaylee, the heroine, a seemingly average girl with a 'headshrinker' of a father and an overwhelming mother, as she comes into her own abilities and as she fights for the freedom of a young ghost girl imprisoned by evil.

My Thoughts In-Depth: *Note: May not be spoiler-free.* My heart's still pounding; my pulse was drumming so loudly I could hear it so clearly. One word for this book would have to be intense. While I secretly say that I'm not very much into the horror/thriller/mystery type of books, I'm so lying. I love the little thrill, that dark edge you get when you finish a book that fits into those categories. My problem... well, I'm a scaredy cat. I'm easily frightened. So, I was a bit skeptical coming into this book. But, man, what a book DFF turned out to be!

Honestly, I never expected to thoroughly enjoy this book or become so absorbed in it. It was a pleasant shock. Reading as Kaylee dug for the truth, as she struggled to deal with all the trouble helping a ghost brought to her, I became more and more invested in the story. In the beginning, Kaylee is just your pretty average girl, one who's in love with skating, hates math homework, and enjoys swimming and the competitiveness of it. And all because of these sexist teenage male pigs who claim all rights to the skating park unjustly so, Kaylee is forced to enter a haunted house as a kind of 'initiation'. Then, pardon the cliche, but her world gets turned upside down: Kaylee encounters her first ghost!

And this ghost is not just your average pale-skinned, dark-eyed earthbound spirit. No, no. This ghost has the skin-crawling, spine-chilling effect down pat with her decaying skin and dark eyes brimming with black fluid that appears to be blood. I nearly jumped out of my skin the moment I read that! And from then on, Kaylee gets no peace of mind. I could do nothing but sympathize with the poor girl! All this girl wanted was to be able to skate when she wanted, attract boys, do well in school and in swimming, and find a date for the Harvest Dance. And that no longer becomes an option, when the aforementioned earthbound spirit starts popping up at random, spooking the hell out of her...and me!

But, I have to admit, Kaylee was a pretty strong heroine, especially being that she had never dealt with anything paranormal in her life. I've had my share of supernatural experiences in old houses and so forth, and let me say they are not pleasant. But reading as Kaylee saw this ghost with such vivid clarity was enough to have me shaking down to the marrow! Plus her getting tossed around and abused by a dark entity wasn't much fun either! That's where the intense word comes in. As for the other characters, I loved Davey! I also empathize with the poor guy but I loved how supportive he was of Kaylee, how loyal and sweet. A true best friend to the core. Watching him endure his temporary paralysis was heartbreaking, seeing as he wanted to help Kaylee so much when things got so huge throughout the plot.

Kaylee's parents really grated on my nerves! Considering how well they thought they knew their daughter, you'd think that they'd try harder to help Kaylee instead of constantly offering a psychoanalysis. And then I just got more ticked off when they didn't believe their daughter's story when she finally decides to tell them what the heck's going on. How anyone can make up such an elaborate story to explain all that's happened seems pretty impossible to me. So the fact that Kaylee's parents didn't even try to give the notion that maybe Kaylee was telling the truth a try angered me. Aren't you supposed to believe your child before anyone and everything else, even when it seems irrational? Especially when said child is clearly scared and earnestly seeking comfort?

A few characters I wish I would've gotten to know more were characters like T.J. and Will. More particularly T.J. being that he was friends with both Kaylee and Davey. I would've like to seen him a bit more fleshed out like the two main characters.

But the two aspects of the novel which captivated me the most was the plot and the ending! Both were thoroughly done, well-written, and flowed very well! I ached for the ghost-girl, Isabelle, who had been cruelly murdered so long ago, had dealt with so much pain, loss, and fear. As Kaylee slowly unraveled the big mystery behind Isabelle's death and killer, I couldn't help but get engrossed in her quest and findings. Then, toward the end when everything comes together, it was rewarding and exciting to see all the pieces slide into place, if not terrifying! And watching Kaylee come into her power was the best part of all!

Since it ended...well, sort of sadly, I'm eager to get to the next installment! I want to see how Kaylee is going to deal with her new abilities regarding the dead, how she'll get together with her best friend again. I miss Davey already, for crying out loud! Luckily for me, I have access to the second book. Watch out for my thoughts on School's Out 4-ever coming up!

First Line:
"The frigid concrete step froze Kaylee right through her jeans."

Thanks for reading!


J.R. Turner said...

Thank you bunches for such a fabulous review, Asher! I'm so thrilled that you enjoyed the story and I can't tell you how much this made my day!!