by Kathy Charles
Hilda and Benji are best friends with an odd obsession: death. Instead of going to the movies or to the mall like other teenagers, they spend their days cruising around Los Angeles searching for the sites of celebrity murders and suicides. Hilda's parents died in a car accident and ever since, obsessing over death has made their grisly ones somehow easier to deal with. Hilda and Benji's morbid hobby takes an unexpected turn when they meet Hank - an eccentric recluse who lives in a rundown Echo Park apartment building. For reasons unknown to her, Hilda feels a connection with Hank and starts spending her days watching movies with him and taking him on non death related adventures. She then meets Hank's downstairs neighbor Jake, who alludes to something dark and terrible in Hank's past. What is Hank hiding? Can Hilda make him learn to trust people again? She must figure out which relationships are most important to her, and decide whether she is ready to let go of the past and start living again. This book is at times morbid and edgy, so younger readers or readers looking for something light should steer clear, but at the same time it is a great and insightful story about self discovery.