Monday, August 2, 2010

Enchanting Review: The Less-Dead

YA Contemporary
Delacorte Press
ISBN# 978-0-385-73675-6
229 pages
Hardback Available Now

Rating: 3.5 Enchantments

Noah Nordstorm likes to rebel, especially against his father who just happens to be the host of a popular Christian radio show. Noah is embarrassed of his father’s messages which he feels are spreading hate. Then a couple local gay teens are murdered. Noah is convinced the killer called into his father’s show.

Noah then meets Will Reed, who happens to be into poetry and is also gay. Noah at first feels strange around Will. When Noah finds out Will has been kicked out of his latest foster home, he tries to reach out. Then tragedy hits. Noah is filled with guilt and determined to find the killer. He’s also wants to show his father and others like him that spreading anti-gay propaganda is behind the recent killings.

This book haunted me and brought the recent gay hate crimes to light. I totally believe in the message--that it’s dangerous to label others and justify this by using the Bible. I agree with the author that God is love, not hate. Also I thought the author’s interpretation of the scriptures used to flame anti-gay propaganda was interesting and insightful.

But this story is more than that. It’s a murder mystery where a teen searches for the killer of a friend. Noah at first seems unlikeable but I could understand some of his reactions as I’ve been around mega conservative Christians too. His struggle to separate himself from his father’s intense views is something I know teens can relate with. The author does a great job of showing this during a family dinner scene where Noah’s father actually meets someone, in this case Will, who happens to be the very person he uses in his homophobic radio messages.

The problem I had with this otherwise engaging tale, had to be that I felt at times the storyline was a tad bit too preachy and forced. Also I kind of guessed who the killer was.

This story does address a subject that is sure to resonate with teens, especially those who live in ultra religious homes where anti-gay propaganda is preached.

April Lurie lives near Austin, Texas, with her husband and their four children. You can read more about her work at

Kim Baccellia
July 2010