What worked: I really loved the snarky voice of RJ. She's not over the top mean but shows hints of vulnerability. For sure RJ is flawed as a character. She's not the nicest girl around and only cares about herself and her small circle of friends. What happens after a gypsy woman, at a psychic reading, pushes RJ in front of the Grim Reaper is hilarious. She tries to boss her way around the Reaper and those in the Afterlife. Schmitt shows us RJ's encounters with Saint Peter, the guardian of the gates of heaven, a tribunal of angels, and Death himself. There's a lot of fun lines and scenes that are very engaging and hilarious. It's hard to not like RJ. I laughed out loud more than once at her encounters with the heavenly hosts.
RJ's given tasks to see if she can change her timeline. Ghosts are sent to her to achieve these tasks. This gives the book a twist on the whole IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE idea only in her case her second chance changes not only her timeline but others around her too. These scenes were very insightful and showed readers the vulnerabilities hidden behind the mean girl mask RJ hides behind.
The trial for RJ to be able to come back to Earth does drag at times. The humor is lost and the story becomes a little more serious. It also is a little less funny when she does come back to Earth but this is when RJ finally arcs as a character. This part of the story is more insightful and reflective of her journey.
Another plus is this story is more a case of redemption for RJ and doesn't have a love interest that I think would have held this story back.
Mean Girls meets IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, this is a snarky, hilarious ride through the Afterlife and Earth with a memorable heroine who needs to face her selfish past in order to finally move on.
2. Snarky, hilarious tale where a Mean Girl meets her match with a Grim Reaper