For What It's Worth

Monday, November 14, 2011

Review: She Smells the Dead by E.J. Stevens

It's the beginning of senior year and Yuki's psychic awareness of ghostly spirits is threatening to ruin her life. Her ability to sense spirits of the dead isn't glamorous like the ghost hunting on television.


The smell impressions are becoming stronger. Yuki is being visited in her dreams, and she suspects that her friend Calvin is involved in something strange. To make matters worse her crush on Garrett is going unrequited, Yuki's friend Emma is on a rampage against bee oppression, and annoying Calvin Miller mysteriously disappears.

Will Yuki be able to focus her powers in time to save the lost soul who is haunting her? Meanwhile, who will save Yuki from following the spirits into the light?

I have been dying to read this series for a very long time. Just look at that cover - so pretty and creepy!!
I'm really happy to say that in the book Yuki is described exactly how she appears on the cover. 

I loved Yuki's personality; she's very confident in her quirkiness but she's not one of those rebellious types trying to buck the system. She's in a black dress with combat boots and heavy eyeliner because that's what she likes - not as an F-you to the world. She is picked on a bit by the jocks but she has her friends by her side and is pretty well adjusted.

Yuki can also smell the dead as the title implies. Whenever a ghost is near, she can pick up a smell impression rather than see them. In order to make the spirit go away she has to find out what he/she needs resolved in order to pass on by following these scent trails.

In She Smells the Dead Yuki is trying to help a spirit pass on and believes that his death was a result of murder, which puts Yuki and her friends in more danger than usual as they try to solve the case.

Yuki treats this talent as very matter of fact, going about her business with the help of her best friends Calvin and Emma to solve the mysteries of the undead. I never really understood when or why Yuki obtained this particular gift. If it bothers her, she doesn't really show it which was quite refreshing actually but I still felt like I was missing some background information.

As an added romantic element, she is beginning to have feelings other than friendship for best friend Calvin who is suddenly acting a little weird and distant. I absolutely loved the relationship between Calvin and Yuki. He's such a great guy and they have such a great rapport. There is a twist to the story connecting them in a pretty cool way that really adds to the paranormal feel.

Emma is hysterical as Yuki's other best friend. Another kookie character for sure but she cracked me up fighting for bee rights or any number of her other causes. She's loyal, compassionate and smart.

She Smells the Dead was a fun lighter type of mystery with paranormal elements. I think I would recommend this to younger teenage readers or those who are tired of the overblown, angst and drama of a lot of the YA out there right now. For my reading tastes, I would have liked it to be a bit darker and edgier but I did enjoy all the characters. This is a really quick novella length read that leaves the door open to future adventures that hopefully explain more about Yuki's powers. I'm also looking forward to learning more about Calvin and Emma.

Rating: 3 out 4: Cute, quick read. I would have liked the story to have delved a little deeper concerning Yuki's gift and the ending was fairly abrupt leaving me with an unresolved feeling but the characters are so sweet and fun to be around I didn't mind too much. 

Find the author: E.J. Stevens writes poetry and young adult paranormal novels. E.J. is the author of the haunting collection of dark poetry From the Shadows, the chilling collection of paranormal poetry Shadows of Myth and Legend, and the young adult paranormal Spirit Guide Series, including She Smells the Dead, Spirit Storm, and Legend of Witchtrot Road.

When E.J. isn't at her writing desk she can be found blogging at From the Shadows, a paranormal book blog, or hanging out on Goodreads or Twitter.

Buy the Books! Amazon
Source: Provided by the author for my honest review.
You may also be interested in: My interview with E.J. Stevens (NOTE: the giveaway has ended)


  1. I've read all the books in this series and I really love them. I'm a grown up adult that has seen more than one anniversary of my 40th birthday and I still enjoy these books. Like you I enjoy books on the edgey side but this series is a fun one to read for just an escape.

  2. I'd glad that one is fun! been wanting to check it out for awhile

    here's my review of A MILLION SUNS. stop by?!?!

  3. Huh, I haven't even heard of this one, lol. The cover scares me for some reason. But it's good to know you wanted it darker. That means it can't be all that scary. :-P

  4. Great review and I still need to read this book.

  5. This sounds so good! I have seen a review for this somewhere before, but I hadn't actually paid too much attention. I love it. I will be looking into this.

  6. It is definitely light and a nice break from the angst. You're completely right. I did like this book, but I also felt like background on Yuki's ability was missing, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't revealed in the second book either. I still have to read the third book though. Maybe some information will come to light!

    The Musings of ALMYBNENR

  7. Yep, it's pretty cute! I tend to like YA with plenty of quirky characters in it.