Boo by Neil Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A rare example of the blurb matching the book: the comparison to The Lovely Bones is apt (toss in some of Zevin's Elsewhere, too). "Heaven" is segmented into age and location-based groups, and Boo finds himself in with the thirteen-year-old Americans; they get to stay for fifty years after their death and then, well, no one knows what happens. Soon after his arrival, a friend from school arrives and Boo and Johnny embark on a rediscovery of their friendship and figuring out what happened to them back home. Boo is clearly on the ASD spectrum, while Johnny was a depressive who'd been sent to a recovery facility the summer before their deaths - does this have anything to do with it? Will they learn who shot them and why? And if they do, will this knowledge change anything?
There were some twists here the really surprised me, inserted into the plot in such a natural way that it didn't feel as though there was a deliberate lead up to the revelation. This might not be the right read for people who have problems with children dying, even if the book is more about growth than death. I did vacillate between a 4 and a 5 because there's a major twist that, while it really works, seemed slightly off (when I read it, that is; upon reflection it worked better).
ARC provided by publisher.