Susan Heyboer O'Keefe is a masterful weaver of words who creates an exciting story in "My Life and Death by Alexandra Canarsie." When the novel begins, a young girl named Alexandra "Allie" Canarsie has moved yet again. As she killed time until school started, she found and found a new, rather strange, pastime in her new town: going to the funerals of strangers.
One funeral she goes to is that of a boy her age named Jimmy. She believes he was murdered and sets out to solve the mystery behind his death.
There are many exciting twists and turns in this novel to keep you interested and on your toes. At certain points throughout the story, you might make an assumption of "whodunit," but the clues change constantly, making your guesses change as well. The ending is a real shocker.
Allie, the protagonist, is a freshman in high school with a sharp tongue and quick wit. She is a very capable heroine and a great detective, which is her main role in the book.
Dennis Monaghan, the supporting male protagonist, is also a freshman, but that is where the similarities between he and Allie end. Where Allie is a loud, rambunctious troublemaker, Dennis has never thought about breaking the rules. They become fast friends, though, as they work together to solve the mystery of their friend's death.
The characters in the novel are intelligent and entertaining. Allie's voice is a strong part of the novel that draws you in from the very beginning. It's easy to become completely immersed in the world of Alexandra Carnarsie.
This is a great novel for any middle or high school student to read, especially one who enjoys a good mystery. It mixes suspense and mystery with humor, which makes it even more compelling to read.
Allie is definitely not your average girl, and her antics make the book very interesting. Once I started reading, I could not put the book down. The effect will probably be the same for anyone else who reads it.
In some ways, readers can relate to Allie and her strange (but nice) personality, yet Allie is also completely original and unlike any other character in books. She has her unique ways of doing things, and she is very determined to solve her mystery, no matter the cost.
Allie and Dennis make a great team of investigators. They work well together -- when they are not arguing, that is. Either way, both are strong and capable characters.
"My Life and Death by Alexandra Carnarsie" is an action-packed novel filled with mystery and suspense. It is a must-read if you love books that put on the edge of your seat and keep you there.