How to Experience Death for Beginners: a book about murder, mystery and friendships

How to experience death for beginners book review

What is this about?: Casey has visions of death, she always has since she experienced her father’s death. Now, she’s starting to experience murders happening in her town, of students and her classmates. And then, her story gets way more complicated.

What else is this about?: Friendships and family.


A clairvoyant introvert can enter the minds of people at their moment of death. When a serial killer emerges in her small town, she receives audacious advances from an enigmatic newcomer. While dodging detectives and falling in love, she joins forces with the FBI to take down the killer.

How to Experience Death for Beginners is the story of Casey, a young girl who has experienced death over and over — by entering the minds of people as they are about to die. Worst of all, she begins to experience the deaths of people — classmates — she knows and she realises someone is stalking students like her.

When readers meet Casey she has withdrawn into herself, not wanting to make friends beyond her close group. She has a twin, Christina, who is close to mute, and talks mostly to Casey. Their mother is a drunk, going downhill since her husband’s death and it’s been up to Casey to hold things together.

But when her friends start dying, she has to share her secret with her friends and the FBI in an effort to find the killer. There are more secrets to be revealed in the book, and Casey finds herself just one part of a very interesting story.

While this is labelled as YA, it’s better suited to those on the younger end of this age range. Casey and the other characters do tend to sound much younger than their 16/17 age range. But the strength in this book is the way the author draws the relationships — family and friends around Casey. Those relationships are strong, and supportive and the kind of relationships young readers will empathise with.

In fact, I almost feel like Cameron, the love interest in this, would have been better suited a friend and a romance evolve over the course of the book than start as quickly as it did simply because there’s such potential to be explored in his character and Casey’s. 

All in all, this is a great book to get young readers started on the paranormal YA genre. 


  • Jen Mullen says:

    The idea of clairvoyance always captures my interest. I like what you mention about the strength of family and friend relationships. A tendency in many YA books is to have a character isolated physically or emotionally from friends and family.

    • Verushka says:

      Yeah, the isolation is a trend in YA. For me especially, it’s as as if older characters can’t possibly understand what a YA character is going for.

  • Sophia Rose says:

    I like what you’re saying about the relationships being explored as much as her psychic gift and the mystery.

    • Verushka says:

      That really was a strong writing choice for the author. LIke Jen mentioned too often YA writers like separating characters.

  • This sounds really good, especially the way all of the relationships are handled. I’m always drawn to books that do a good job with those, especially wen it comes to family.

  • Laura says:

    That’s a good point that the romance with Cameron might have been better if it evolved over the course of the book. Sounds like it still worked out pretty much anyway. It seems like it was a good introduction to the genre. Interesting review.

  • Lark says:

    Like the whole clairvoyant thing. But why to YA novels always feel they have to push the romance thing, too?

  • Angela says:

    Interesting premise! And I like that it doesn’t only focus on the romance, but other relationships as well.

  • Kelly says:

    This sounds really intriguing Verushka, it reminds me of another young adult book I’d read a few years ago where the main character also predicted death but would sing the deceased into the afterlife. It’s a shame about the romance. I don’t know why young adult authors feel the need to pair their characters up and so quickly. Will definitely be grabbing a copy, awesome review Verushka darling!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.