She Smells the Dead by E.J. Stevens. Spirit Guide.
Sacred Oaks Press
Publication Date: August 2010
List Price: $9.99
Review: DEATH. That's all she smells. It changes all the time, from bunt brownies to a pungent vinegar smell; she smells it all. Yuki is a girl with a very odd and exquisite talent…she can smell the dead. She Smells The Dead by E.J. Stevens is a beginning, kind of like it's filling you in and preparing you for the series, to her whole collection based on Yuki's tales. The first book of the series A Spirit Guide is Spirit Storm. This book is about, yes; a girl who has a sixth sense for paranormal activity, but it doesn't get too into the creepy stuff. Like, there's no possession of souls or anything, it's just based on Yuki trying to help the lost souls find the light.
The main character is Yuki, (formally known as Vanessa, but swapped to Yuki after joining anime club), and her best friends Emma and Calvin, (Cal). Yuki is Goth, (very), and is known as "The Witch" at her high school. Not very popular but true to herself, Yuki keeps her own way and still achieves being admired by those she knows best. The story begins with Yuki smelling this very strong disgusting vinegar smell. She knows it must have something to do with the dead, since she's dealt with it before, but she needs to know how to get rid of it. She learns from Emma, The Research Queen, that the smell of vinegar is related to Mr. Green. Mr. Green owned a vinegar company and had died recently. His wife, Grace, is the only Green member left since her sons have all been killed in a boating accident recently, the same time as Mr. Green. Cal, Emma, and Yuki all set off to learn who killed Mr. Green. Was it his wife, his children, or himself? Yuki finds out that Cal (whom she had recently started to date a week or so before) is a werewolf. He is meant to be her protector from all of the dangers of the spirits trying to find their way into the light, because as the second book says, Let the spirits guide you, but never let them take you. Cal's inner animal is a wolf, and Yuki's is a scarab (a sacred dung beetle), and Cal's wolf is meant to protect her. But Cal's life is in grave danger at the Homecoming Dance, when it's a full moon and his wolf spirit is awakened. People may see him, and he isn't fully trained yet to control himself. The spirits are awakening, faster than ever before, and Cal may not be able to protect Yuki. It will take true courage for Yuki and Cal to train together to go against the spirits…but will Yuki be able to save Cal? Or even herself?
Basically, I see E.J. Stevens as a great writer. She writes deep, dark, mystical poetry on the spirits of the dead but doesn't include a dark side to her book. It contains some info on the spirits, but it has humor as well. I at first thought it would be all about how the spirits were entrancing Yuki's mind with scents and were going to imprison her through her nose, but they didn't. I judged a book by its cover, (which was why I judged it, if you can tell. She's frowning at the camera in her Homecoming dress with locks of hair sticks out while her eye shadow runs to her cheekbones…a fact I learned later was because of an incident at Homecoming). The book was nothing like its cover and I thought it would be considered a paranormal comedy. The book is written about werewolves as well, I found the two together were perfect…(mostly because the Twilight thing was getting old and this was a new type of fictional couple). All in all, Stevens did a great job. Yuki can't be considered the Goth type of person who goes around hating the world…she is energetic, fun, and exciting. I found her seeming more like Emma, who is the EXACT opposite of Goth. Kids can easily read this book maybe at the age of eight or nine, because really, it's not scary at all. That's what makes it so awesome, because I personally cannot stand to read scary books because it makes me say to myself, Alright, that's definitely NOT one I'm going to read again. NO WAY and I writing a review on that thing! But I didn't say that about this one, because honestly, it was totally, amazingly, awesome!
Review written by Amber (6th grade student).
We would like to thank E.J. Stevens for providing a copy of She Smells the Dead for this review.
Have you read She Smells the Dead? How would you rate it?