For Rose Gardner, working at the DMV on a Friday afternoon is bad even before she sees a vision of herself dead. She’s had plenty of visions, usually boring ones like someone’s toilet’s overflowed, but she’s never seen one of herself before. When her overbearing momma winds up murdered on her sofa instead, two things are certain: There isn’t enough hydrogen peroxide in the state of Arkansas to get that stain out, and Rose is the prime suspect.
Rose realizes she’s wasted twenty-four years of living and makes a list on the back of a Wal-Mart receipt: twenty-eight things she wants to accomplish before her vision comes true. She’s well on her way with the help of her next door neighbor Joe, who has no trouble teaching Rose the rules of drinking, but won’t help with number fifteen– do more with a man. Joe’s new to town, but it doesn’t take a vision for Rose to realize he’s got plenty secrets of his own.
Somebody thinks Rose has something they want and they’ll do anything to get it. Her house is broken into, someone else she knows is murdered, and suddenly, dying a virgin in the Fenton County jail isn’t her biggest worry after all.
First off, there were elements of this novel I really enjoyed and others that grated on me. The storyline was quite entertaining and, although elements such as her ‘visions’ were obviously unrealistic, I do like a bit of mysterry and this novel had some of that to make up for elements wasn’t such a fan of…
Firstly, the main character Rose is a tricky one; she is painted as very sweet and innocent, having been kept on a tight leash all her life by her controlling mother, but DAMN is she naive for a 24 year old! One notable example: Joe is talking to her about drinking water after her having drunk alcohol, and he says to her “Yeah, take another drink. It will stop you from getting a headache tomorrow” and Rose replies “I’m gonna get a headache tomorrow?”. I couldn’t help but think “DUH!”- does anyone really not have any idea that drinking alcohol can give you a headache? Reaaally? You’re 24!
Even more annoying is the very over-used repetition of the exclamation “Crappy doodles”. I lost count of the times this was used throughout the book and it has been also been highlighted many times in other reviews, so I know it’s not just me getting tired of this! However, she was ultimately a likeable character that you did root for (when she wasn’t irritating me).
Rose’s neighbour and love-interest Joe is another interesting character; he seems too good to be true (also quite self-confident and bossy around Rose too which is a little annoying, I kind of wanted her to tell him to shove off sometimes) and there are aspects of his character which certainly seems suspect. I actually quite like this though as it makes you question, as Rose sometimes did, whether he is a good guy or actually a wolf in disguise.
This novel is quite fast-paced and entertaining, with a good smattering of humorous lines. Basically it’s worth a read if you’re after a light-hearted, sort-of-mystery story. It isn’t particularly amazing for me though, but it is an easy read which wis a little different, and there’s 3 sequels already out for you to get your teeth into if you so wish! I am glad I gave it a go (but I say it once, I’ll say it again- it could do with waaay less ‘Crappy Doodles’!…)
Have you read Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes? What did you think?