A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a novel for young teens. There are mild sexual references, a good bit of swearing, commercial references, and some mild violence.
What's the story?
Bug Smoot, on her own at 18 after all her family members died off one by one, broke, about to lose her cruddy apartment and her job delivering pizza, finds that fate has dealt her one more blow. Apparently her grandfather had sold his soul to the Devil for a Cadillac, but when he died he somehow escaped collection. So now the Devil's minion, Beales, wants the car and Bug's grandfather's soul, and if she can't deliver, he'll take hers instead. But Beales may have more on his mind than a simple repo job.
Is it any good?
Though it goes on a bit longer than it should have, and the resolution is not entirely clear, this is mostly a joyride. Most of the pleasure comes from the often delightfully-named characters: crabby and cantankerous Bug (who tells the story in her own peculiar mashup of Hispanic and African-American idiom and attitude), kind, enthusiastic, and lovelorn Pesto, Pesto's earthy witch mother, the ancient lawyer E. Figg, not to mention the wickedly charming Beales and Scratch. Though many of the characters are rather one-note, those notes often make a pleasing harmony.
The setting, in the Hispanic neighborhoods of El Paso around the Day of the Dead, adds flavor as picante as any salsa -- in fact, after several of the scenes you may find yourself craving some Mexican take-out. The story is in need of some tightening, but this is one of those books about which it's best not to think too hard. Just enjoy the ride, and hope for Bug and Pesto to reappear in another devil-fighting adventure.
From the Book:
Most folks don't know the exact minute that life's going to be over. I wasn't any different. I had no idea the end was coming, so I didn't realize when the landlord woke me up by beating on the front door of my apartment—a two-hundred-square-foot roach motel with a half bath, no phone, no cable, and no air conditioner—I only had sixty-one hours and forty-four minutes before my soul was taken away.