Book Review: Dead Rules by Randy Russell

Monday, July 25, 2011

Dead Rules

Title: Dead Rules

Author: Randy Russell

384 pages, Published by HarperTeen

Randy’s Info:

Website | Twitter | FB | FB Fan Page

Buy The Book: Amazon


Till death

Jana Webster and Michael Haynes were in love. They were destined to be together forever.


But Jana's destiny was fatally flawed. And now she's in Dead School, where Mars Dreamcote lurks in the back of the classroom, with his beguiling blue eyes, mysterious smile, and irresistibly warm touch.


Michael and Jana were incomplete without each other. There was no room for Mars in Jana's life—or death—story. Jana was sure Michael would rush to her side soon.


But things aren't going according to Jana's plan. So Jana decides to do whatever it takes to make her dreams come true—no matter what rules she has to break. (Summary provided by HarperTeen.)

My Thoughts:

I am fascinated by ghosts. In fact, I spent the weekend of my 30th birthday at Myrtle Plantation in Louisiana. It is supposed to be one of the most haunted places in America, and I really wanted to finally see a ghost. But alas there were no ghosts to be seen at Myrtle Plantation on that particular weekend. I’m 35 years old now and still have yet to see a ghost. But I would love to. So what does this little anecdote have to do with Randy Russell’s book? Dead Rules is about a high school for dead teens (aka ghosts)! So, it was totally right up my alley.

I was initially drawn to Dead Rules because of the beautiful cover artwork and design. I was quite happy to find the story was just as intriguing as the gorgeous cover. Dead Rules centers around the school’s newest student Jana. Jana died in a freak bowling accident and is determined to have her boyfriend join her in the afterlife no matter what it takes to get him there. Jana is willing to break all the rules even if it means getting help from the school’s social outcasts the Sliders. Enter Mars Dreamcote the handsome Slider who wants to help Jana. I loved the Risers (“good guys”) vs Sliders (“bad guys”) set up. It reminded me a little bit of a modern day, ghostly version of the socs and greasers from The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton.

Another highlight of Dead Rules is the series of breaks in the story where each of Jana’s new friends at the dead school tell their respective death stories (i.e. ghost stories). Each spooky story within this already intriguing novel is sure to send chills up readers’ spines. Jana is an interesting and quite complicated protagonist. Jana has a singular interest in getting her boyfriend to join her in the afterlife, and she is a little psychotic at times in her efforts. She kind of reminds me of a much perkier Veronica from the classic teen film Heathers. And this is a very good thing, because I love me some Heathers. Basically, Randy Russell has created an awesome new paranormal series, and I can’t wait to read his next book!

Note to Parents: While this book sounds incredibly dark, it is actually surprisingly teen friendly despite the dark subject matter. For example, Jana’s favorite curse phrase is “Fudge, fart, popcorn!” The publisher recommends it for ages 12 and up, and despite a couple of very tame sexual references, I’m inclined to agree.

HarperTeen has added even more incentive to read Dead Rules by Randy Russell. They have generously put the first 75 pages of the book on their website for free. Also, according to the Dead Rules fan page on Facebook, Randy Russell is sponsoring a series of indie bookstore credit giveaways to teens, readers, classroom teachers and librarians. Click here to go to the Facebook page for more information. And be sure to “like” the Facebook page while you’re there.

Be sure to check out the awesome trailers for Dead Rules on the HarperTeen Youtube page! Here is one of many of the promotional videos for Dead Rules:

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