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Once Dead, Twice Shy [Library Binding]

Kim Harrison
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 20 2009

My name is Madison Avery, and I'm here to tell you that there's more out there than you can see, hear, or touch. Because I'm there. Seeing it. Touching it. Living it.

Madison's prom was killer—literally. For some reason she's been targeted by a dark reaper—yeah, that kind of reaper—intent on getting rid of her, body and soul. But before the reaper could finish the job, Madison was able to snag his strange, glowing amulet and get away.

Now she's stuck on Earth—dead but not gone. Somehow the amulet gives her the illusion of a body, allowing her to toe the line between life and death. She still doesn't know why the dark reaper is after her, but she's not about to just sit around and let fate take its course.

With a little ingenuity, some light-bending, and the help of a light reaper (one of the good guys! Maybe . . . ), her cute crush, and oh yeah, her guardian angel, Madison's ready to take control of her own destiny once and for all, before it takes control of her.

Well, if she believed in that stuff.

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Product Description


"Abounds with originality and introduces us to rich characters.is sure to introduce [Harrison] to a whole new generation of readers." (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

"An amusing and entertaining jaunt of an urban fantasy." (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))

"With a Kim Harrison novel, I expect action, humour, worldbuilding, strong female characters, true friendships, and a bit of realistic romance. I found it all right here." (Melissa Marr, New York Times Bestselling author of Wicked Lovely and Ink Exchange)

"Harrison injects her young adult debut with style and originality. Rocking good fun, packed full of twists and turns." (Kelley Armstrong, New York Times bestselling author of The Summoning)


"An amusing and entertaining jaunt of an urban fantasy."--Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Take on Angels Oct. 1 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I like the spin Ms Harrison has taken with her angels and their interaction with the human world. Madison strikes me as a more two dimensional version of Rachel from The Hallows novels. I don't dislike the character but the thought of her being trapped at 17 (emotionally) is not that appealing but maybe to to a teen reader, I think it would appeal.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Nov. 8 2012
By Megan
Overall, this one was disappointing for me. I hadn't heard anything about this book and just picked it up on a book-buying spree, so I'm not sure what I was expecting. There was nothing terrible about this one, but at the same time, there was nothing that stood out in a good way. The entire thing was underwhelming.

Madison Avery is dead. But in reality, that doesn't mean much to the reader, just that she can't remove her amulet. I had no connection at all with Madison. She was meant to be spunky and care-free, despite being dead, but none of it rang true for me. I found the supporting characters to be just as lack-luster. Josh, the potential love interest, could have had the whole tortured-popular-jock-with-a-sensitive-side thing going, but it didn't happen for me. Also, I thought it was totally unrealistic how quickly he bought into Madison's story. I would have been having multiple major freak outs! Barnabas, a light reaper, could have been so swoon-worthy, but he also fell flat for me. No spark; nothing to make me care one way or the other.

The plot also felt a bit convenient. The way the author arranged to have Madison and Josh be on their own for so long, it just felt too easy somehow. I know it was meant to be twisty at the end, but I think my lack of interest in the characters made the twists less impressive.

Another thing that drove me crazy was the really bizarre euphemisms Harrison used to avoid putting swearing in the book. Seriously? Puppy presents on the rug? What 17-year-old says that? Maybe my high school was just ghetto, but I remember there being tons of swearing in the halls etc. But no puppy presents. I would have found it much less distracting if Madison could have just said crap or something normal.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars Aug. 31 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Well written, but targeted at a young adult audience.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too May 1 2009
Madison's dead. Well, sort of.

See, there was this dark reaper who scythed her, for reasons she still hasn't figured out, and technically she should be long gone. But when he came back to destroy her soul as well as her body, she was able to steal an amulet from him that's allowed her to keep walking around and breathing (even though she doesn't really need to), and appearing alive to anyone who doesn't know any better.

Unfortunately, the owner of that amulet wants it back - badly. And the light reaper assigned to help Madison adjust to her new pseudo-life may not be able to protect her from him.

As Madison struggles to hold onto her life and to save those she cares about who end up targeted as well, she discovers there's a whole lot about this life and death thing she doesn't know, and uncovering those secrets may be the only way she can hope to survive.

ONCE DEAD, TWICE SHY is a fast-paced and engaging read from start to finish. Madison makes an enjoyable narrator, stubborn and sarcastic but with a lot of heart, and enough smarts to get her through some very sticky situations. Harrison has created a fascinating and unique world of reapers and other afterlife figures, though at times readers may find all the information a little hard to follow.

With plenty of suspense and humor and a little romance, this book will appeal to paranormal fans of all ages.

Reviewed by: Lynn Crow
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating! A Whirlwind from Start to Finish. April 7 2009
By Nicola Mansfield HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Madison dies on prom night with her date holding her hand. Not as romantic as it sounds though. As he's only her date because their dad's set it up for them and she's not really dead as she was scythed by a dark reaper and managed to steal his amulet in the morgue when he came to claim her soul, thus she claimed his powers. Now she's been taken in by the light reapers and being taught there way while living on earth, as a dead girl, having several people's memories of that fateful night erased, but when the truth of whose stone she really carries comes out she is left alone at home with a guardian angel to look after her. Of course, this is exactly when the enemy strikes but instead of going for her they go for someone close to her and Madison must spill the truth of her death to a living person and that person soon becomes the only one whom she can only trust as light and dark and fate and choice battle it out with each other.

A fabulous book! What a whirlwind read from start to finish. The two main character's Madison and her friend, Josh are wonderful, well-rounded teens who at first seem stereotyped. Josh being a gorgeous, jock with an attitude and Madison a goth girl who tries to be as weird as possible but we soon see this is not so as we learn their many layers to discover that looks are often deceiving. Fabulous plot! I just love angel stories, but only when they are actually heaven sent angels. And while not harped upon it is mentioned these angels do come from heaven and that's enough for me. The story contains two factions, both originating from the same place, one dark and one light and each containing angels, reapers, and timekeepers.
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