If you want to be taken seriously as a YA writer, the one thing you should probably not do is write a paranormal fantasy novel. What with all those Twilight adepts out there, one would start to think that YA fiction is always dark and it’s a struggle to find anything light on those library bookshelves,… So I guess, writing an urban fantasy book of fiction as your debut novel with the word necromancer in the title is something you would only do when you’re totally desperate and want to hop on that dark desperate wagon of despicable dark YA fiction… ‘Cause, you know, these books are a few of our favorite things.
Sam (short for Samhain) LaCroix is a slacker college dropout. He works at the local fast food place, Plumpy’s (great name for a fast food place!), and enjoys the occasional game of potato hockey with his friends. One night that game gets rudely interrupted when über-baddy Douglas Montgomery notices Sam and accuses him of hiding his necromancy powers from the Council and he’s about to get seriously hurt if he doesn’t do as he says. Say what? Sam is as clueless as Megan Cox Gurdon in a Teen Library, but figures that when his co-worker Brooke ends up as a body-less speaking head, he’d better take Douglas Montgomery’s threats at face value.
Yes, there are dead bodies, zombies, werewolves, killings and other rough and gruesome bits and pieces scattered throughout this urban tale of darkness and doom. However, there’s also wit, and snark, and self-deprecating humor. Not to mention that if books could be TV, Hold Me Closer, Necromancer would be Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and is hence chockfull of pop culture references, not to mention that it has its own musical soundtrack (the titles of the chapters all refer to songs). The cat likes Buffy The Vampire Slayer. A lot.
Besides the fact that Lish McBride has found a healthy balance between fun and scary, she also shows that she can carefully construct her own world within a book. The book alternates between different perspectives: mostly first person narrative when we’re dealing with Sam, and third person narration when other characters are introduced or when the reader needs to hear background story. The different storylines ultimately merge and there’s of course the almost obligatory final battle, in which Lish McBride can hardly disguise that she’s written a hugely entertaining metaphorical story of growing up in an urban jungle. Yes, there’s sex involved. Yes, there’s death involved. And witchcraft. How…dark….
With a huge amount of cross-over appeal, Hold me Closer, Necromancer is an eclectic tale of wit and horror. It blends the modern urban fantasy, romance and coming-of-age genre, making it incredibly hard to not to like this novel at least a little bit, let alone to dismiss it based on cover, title or place on the Teen Library shelves. BTW, did I mention there were gnomes involved?