Literature / Croak
A Young Adult Literature
series by Gina Damico about a juvenile delinquent
who gets sent to stay with her uncle
in an effort to rehabilitate her. Unbeknownst to her parents, however, her uncle is actually a Grim Reaper
and the town of Croak
is actually a town housing and regulating their jobs
. Lex goes on to make friends and enemies, Kill people, and stand at the center of the most chaos the Grimsphere has faced in centuries.
For more of Damico's work, see Wax
This series contains examples of the following:
- Abusive Parents: Almost every Grim comes from this type of household.
- Addictive Magic: Damning is this. Lex admits that it feels good and only Damning inanimate objects isn't satisfying.
- Angsty Surviving Twin: Lex to Cordy after book one.
- Barred from the Afterlife: This is Lex's/Zara's power, in a nutshell.
- Berserk Button: Zara gets Lex to unlock her Damning power by killing her twin sister.
- Blessed with Suck: Lex's natural abundance of Killing power is actually a result of her power to Damn souls.
- Celestial Bureaucracy: While it's not quite a celestial bureaucracy, the town of Croak does run the Grim Reapers, which is as close as this universe seems to come to a god.
- Chekhov's Gun: Hey, remember the nest in that tree in a town where no animals will live?
- Chekhov's Skill: Pip's climbing ability.
- And in case you forgot from an early scene, Lex's Escape Artist abilities get her out of captivity in the climax.
- Conveniently an Orphan: The Grims who didn't come from abusive households tend not to have had parents at all.
- Cool Car: The Stiff. Part hearse, part Batmobile. All awesome.
- Cool Old Guy / Cool Old Lady: Corpp and Pandora.
- Delinquents: Every Grim becomes this when they come into their powers.
- Descriptiveville: Croak, De Myse, Necropolis...
- Easy Amnesia: The Grimsphere keeps up The Masquerade using this. A concoction distilled from spider venom wipes out a period of the victim's retrograde memory, which they then fill in with, shall we say, 'friendly suggestions'.
- Enemy to All Living Things: While Grims aren't technically enemies, animals avoid their towns like the plague because they can sense the death.
- Everyone Can See It: When Driggs and Lex get together, Pandora announces to the entire diner that it's about time.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The majority of the in-world terminology falls under this.
- Fate Worse Than Death: Damning, where a person's soul is sent to Fire and Brimstone Hell for an eternity of burning torture. Though, there's also a Fate Worse Than a Fate Worse Than Death, which is Annihilation, which is when a person's soul is sent to The Nothing After Death.
- Fingore: The Wrong Book can only be read right by Grotton—specifically, when he waves his hand over it or holds it. Since he refuses to let them read it freely, Pip and Bang decide to cut off his finger and put it in a jar so they can hold it by the book whenever they need to read it.
- Freudian Excuse: Zara.
- Good Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Bartleby, mostly.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: See Delinquents. For some reason the Grim powers make the teenagers misanthropes until they move to one of the Grimsphere towns.
- Healing Hands: As of Scorch, Driggs is a combination of this and Power Limiter for Lex.
- Hurricane of Puns: Every single location in Croak, including the town itself, with the exception of the library.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Lex, who used to have a Hair-Trigger Temper and beat people up, but only as a result of being a Grim. She's still rather snarky but has become much nicer.
- Mama Bear / Papa Wolf: Corpp, Pandora, and Mort all fall into this category at one time or another.
- The Masquerade: While Grims don't leave their towns except for the yoctosecond-long journeys they need for their jobs, they do collect spider venom to make a serum called Amnesia, which they use to erase people's memories of their time in the Grim towns.
- Moment Killer: Mort for Lex and Driggs, in the Overprotective Dad variety of this trope.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: Somewhat justified in that they're basically extensions of powers the characters already had.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Lex accidentally gives Zara the power to Damn people. And again when Lex accidentally gives Norwood the power to Damn.
- Off to Boarding School: The kick-off for the whole series.
- Overprotective Dad: Mort to Lex, despite being her uncle.
- Power Incontinence: Crosses with Addictive Magic; Lex Damns Corpp on accident. She was aiming for Zara.
- Self-Made Orphan: Driggs. His parents were incredibly abusive, and his father intended to kill him after Driggs fought back by breaking his nose, but he managed to grab the gun out of his father's hands and knock him down. He killed his mother first, one right between the eyes. And then his father, one in the head and four elsewhere on his body.
- Shipper on Deck: Pandora for Driggs and Lex.
- Significant Anagram: "Bone the sick scythe bandit" can be rearranged to spell "the cabin beyond the sticks".
- Team Mom / Team Dad: Ferbus calls Corpp their "collective grandpa." His wife Pandora also qualifies.
- Theme Twin Naming: Mrs. Bartleby named her daughters after the first two battles of the Revolutionary War.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Lex was a model child before her teenage years.
- Vigilante Man: Zara, before suffering Motive Decay due to Damning being addictive.
- Viva Las Vegas!: Via an Expy of the city located in the Grimsphere, literally described as "Las Vegas times ten. On crack."
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Zara, who wants to rid the world of murderers, rapists and other criminals.
- You Didn't Ask: This is literally Pip's explanation as to why he didn't tell anyone about his climbing skills.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: A justified example with some of the Grims, as staying in the Ether too long messes with hair follicles.