Stand Alone // YA // Contemporary Witchery
This book revolves around one friendship. Dino + July, friends forever, but that ended a little bit before this book begins. Dino is going through the steps of mourning what he expected to be a lifelong friendship, and it gets complicated when July mysteriously dies, and then even more complicated again when July comes back from the dead but not quite back to life.
You guys know that I love what I call Contemporary Witchery books – a contemporary setting with a little bit of a dark magic twist. This book drags the tension out with the mostly unexplained necromancy because July really starts to fall apart since her body hasn’t got the message that she is still walking and talking around. This puts a shorter timeline on the book and appropriately nerve-wracking for both Dino and July.
The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried focuses on this platonic friendship and uses everything as tools to push this friendship back together, focusing on Dino and his continuing life after July’s death. I love when characters come back from the dead because of something unfinished, and (little spoilers I guess?) towards the end, the two of them are finally figuring out how to resolve why July came back, and that section is really heartfelt, meaningful, and deep.
The rest of the book is a fantastic, light-hearted feel paired with extraordinary magic. Some of the scenes were so visual, and that added to the humorous tone (though not laugh out loud funny). July coming back from the dead at the beginning of the book is my favorite scene because of the perfect timing and all of the genuine emotions that well up in the two of them.
Characters: This book is 100% characters. Everything else in the plot, in the story, in the worldbuilding, all revolves around getting these characters where they need to go. But it totally fits the feel of the story.
I really related with Dino as our main character. I am, like him, always the friend who comes running back and apologizing, even though it may have mostly been the other person’s fault. I think it’s always worth working hard to make a friendship work. And July is not a great best friend. She is a horrible best friend. I was mad at her a lot of times in this book, but that tension, paired with me relating to everything Dino did, felt real and genuine. It’s hard to face the fact that your best friend is not being a good friend, but choosing to be friends anyway.
I also really liked Dino’s “new” friend group, and his fears of July being a bad friend (she is) really come to pass as she is an absolute insensitive asshole to them in her afterlife. But Dino’s new friends are really good friends and understand that her reactions and dumb statements don’t reflect Dino or what he thinks. They’re great. Also, Dino’s boyfriend is a gem. Love him.
The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried is worth the read, and the tone is enjoyable and the emotions full. I felt like Dino and July’s friendship makes sense and everything that happened fit perfectly. Shaun David Hutchinson talks about important things in this book, and though they didn’t fully reach the finish line on some of them, addressed most of them, and I understand that July’s number one worry is her being alive but falling apart at the same time. Dino is the true star of this book, and I love the balance between appreciating what a big part of his life has been, but seeing what it truly is made of and moving on when it’s time.
Other July 2019 Reads:
July 2019 Wrap-up
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
The Past & Other Things That Should Stay Buried by Shaun David Hutchinson
This Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura
The Similars by Rebecca Hanover
Last Things by Jacqueline West
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
The Girl in the Green Silk Gown by Seanan McGuire
Books Read During the Reading Rush:
Let’s be friends!
The Reading Rush Reviews
The Disasters by M.K. England
Grim Lovelies by Megan Shepherd
The Near Witch by V.E. Schwab
Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi
Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia
Mera: Tidebreaker by Danielle Paige