Review by: Lauren
Copy: Sent from the Author
Amazon Associates: Buy the book from the link and the site gets a small percentage.
Summary from Author's Site:
Pink-haired Hilda and endearing punk Benji, each seventeen, have an obsessive hobby - they haunt theplaces where Hollywood celebrities have died.
In rundown Echo Park, once the hub of the movie business, they find the squalid apartment where a second-rate silent movie star stabbed himself to death with nail scissors. Its current tenant is Hank, an old man with a mysterious past.
While Benji dives deeper into the cult of celebrity death, Hank and Hilda make an unlikely pair. Then Jake the screenwriter turns up. What's his story?
John Belushi is Dead is officially in my top favorite books. I find that many MTV Books have made there way there, so when you're finished reading this one...go and search out the others.
All of the characters in this book are interesting and different. You have Hilda who uses celebrity death and suicide to comfort herself over her parent's own death and then her best friend Benji that is losing himself amongst the darkness. Not to mention the elderly Hank who is hiding a big secret that will shake Hilda's soul and make her question the ideas of right and wrong. Finally, you get Jake. Is he Hilda and Hank's savior or is he just using them for something else? These are just the main characters too, as you get to know Benji's mom and Hilda's aunt and they also bring a layer of love and sadness to the overall story.
One of the things I adored about this book is the various tales about celebrities. John Belushi is a big name in the book, really coming into focus near the end of the book when Benji reaches his own breaking point. However, there are many others mentioned from Charles Mason to Marilyn Monroe. I personally find it all very fascinating and it makes me curious about other people's stories now. While reading this book I actually went to a drive in movie with my mom and I sat there telling her things I'd read in the book while we waited for the movie to start. It made her so interested she's actually getting ready to read the book next...just after she finishes what she's reading now.
Kathy Charles has come out with an outstanding debut, a read that sucks you in and makes you think. I can't wait to see what she comes out with next! She perfectly blends Hollywood legends and the gritty areas of L.A. with an amazing coming-of-age story that many can relate too in some way or another.
To Go Along With This...
One of the things I'm trying to do with some of my book reviews (to make them a bit more unique, and it's fun for me!) is to find products that I feel fit the book. Essentially, these are things you could buy and put with the book for a fun gift package for someone you know.
LA County Coroner's Skeletons in the Closest Shop
The above item is called the Glitter Body Key Chain which can be bought here for only $5.00. This shop is included because it's actually mentioned in the book. Over halfway through the book, Benji brings Hilda to the actual store as a surprise.
A Couple Quotes from the Book-
At the end of the corridor on the second floor was a converted office with a tiny sign that read SKELETONS IN THE CLOSET. We walked in and found a small room decked out in merchandise branded with the LA County Coroner name: baseball caps, T-shirts, bags, even mouse pads decorated with the outline of a dead body and plastic skulls for holding pencils. -Page 193
"It goes to a good cause," the woman said, sensing my uncertainty. "All the money goes to educating kids about drunk driving. We bring them in here on tours, make them look at the bodies of crash victims. It's very effective." - Pages 193-194
This shop is a collection of rubber ducks designed in the shape of famous singers, actors, even animated characters! You're sure to find something you like. I included these products because you can even find a couple ducks of celebrities mentioned in the book such as Marilyn Monroe. Then of course you have James Dean, as seen in the photo above. John Belushi isn't on the site, but his partner in The Blues Brothers can be found here.