Famous Last Words, by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski (book review) – writing obits, deadpan humor

book cover of Famous Last Words by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski published by Henry HoltVoted least likely to do something crazy.
Known around school as “Um, hi there?”
Quiet in private, boring in public.

Her party-hearty best friend thinks that’s what their yearbook will say about Samantha, who has indeed been pretty cautious in life – until she gets used to calling families of the dearly departed many times daily to verify obituary facts, then helps an investigative reporter on a stakeout.

The other interns include a well-connected dreamboat who’s no great writer and a drummer guy with a flair for words who shares obit duties and coffee runs with Sam. She wanted a job to improve her writing – why not wish for a little summer romance, too?

Snag a copy of Famous Last Words at your favorite local library or independent bookstore, cue up the playlist that Doktorski kept on repeat as she wrote it, and enjoy Sam’s most interesting summer yet.

And ponder Sam’s favorite question – if you were writing your obituary now, what would it say?

Book info: Famous Last Words / Jennifer Salvato Doktorski. Christy Ottaviano Books (Henry Holt), 2013.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Writing obituaries wasn’t what Samantha expected during her summer internship, but helping an ace  reporter’s investigation should be more interesting. And then there are some cute guy interns, too…

Sam knows she’s quiet (her best friend Shelby reminds her often), but the obit desk at the New Jersey paper is mighty dull. Thankfully she can swap duties with AJ, another summer intern who’s in a band and good company as they file articles. Tony is also an intern, but he’s too handsome (and too connected to the paper’s owner) to have to do such menial work.

Michael covers City Hall and is sure that the mayor’s up to no good, with cronies being paid for jobs that no one sees them doing. The mayor has bankrolled the new coffeehouse/bookstore in Sam’s area, so she visits often, trying to see the silent partner that Michael is investigating.

Sam and AJ are filling in and working longer hours as staffers take vacation. Her best friend feels abandoned, her parents and grandmother worry about her late hours, yet Sam feels like she’s part of something important.

How long can a print newspaper survive in this digital world?
How long can Sam put up with Tony’s slacking and Shelby’s hurt feelings?
What about AJ’s raised-eyebrow glances as they follow the mayor on surveillance?

Sam knows that any writer improves by writing – even obituaries. Check out Famous Last Words  to see how far this summer job will take her. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

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