Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a little slow in the middle but otherwise was a fantastic read that puts an interesting spin on the concept of death and what happens after. After Wallace Price’s untimely death he’s collected from his funeral by a spunky reaper named Mei. She takes him to a small village to an unusual tea shop that also serves as a way-station for the dearly departed. Hugo, the shop’s owner, doubles as a ferryman, helping the souls who need to cross over. The longer Wallace spends with Mei, Hugo, and a few other resident ghosts, he begins to see all the things he missed out on during his cold and empty life. He’s content to stay in the tea shop indefinitely but when “the Manager” shows up and gives Wallace one week to cross over so as not to disrupt the natural order of things, he’s got to figure out how to live an entire lifetime in just seven days.

I’m just going to say it, Wallace was a real prick when we first met him and he wasn’t exactly nice in the afterlife either. At least not as first. But I loved his growth over the course of this story. It felt organic and I really grew to like him by the end. I also absolutely loved Hugo, Mei, Nelson, and Apollo. They were an unconventional “family” for sure but they were a lot of fun and the perfect group to initiate the changes in Wallace. As I mentioned, the middle of the book was a little slow but once the Manager shows up, things really take off. The last quarter of the book was actually super emotional. The epilogue left me in tears, it was such a bittersweet ending. This book was thought-provoking, funny, heartbreaking, sweet, and even had a love story mixed in there. I really enjoyed it and was very glad I picked it to end my reading year! 

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