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Once Dead, Twice Shy (Madison Avery, Book 1) [Hardcover]

Kim Harrison
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Kindle Edition £3.77  
Library Binding £8.06  
Hardcover, 1 July 2009 --  
Paperback £6.99  
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Book Description

1 July 2009

My name is Madison Avery, and I'm here to tell you that there's more out there than you can see, hear, or touch. Because I'm there. Seeing it. Touching it. Living it.

Madison's prom was killer—literally. Now, thanks to a mysterious amulet, she's stuck on Earth: dead but not gone. She has no idea why the dark reaper who did her in was after her, but she's not about to just sit around and let fate take its course. With a little skilled light-bending, the help of a light reaper (one of the good guys . . . maybe), her cute crush, and oh yeah, her guardian angel, Madison's ready to take control of her own destiny once and for all, before it takes control of her.

Well, if she believed in that stuff.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Once Dead, Twice Shy (Madison Avery, Book 1) + Early to Death, Early to Rise (Madison Avery, Book 2)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen; First Edition edition (1 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061718165
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061718168
  • Product Dimensions: 21.7 x 14.6 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 898,809 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

The only girl in a large family of boys, former tomboy Kim Harrison invented the first Brigadier General Barbie in self-defence. She shoots a very bad game of pool and rolls a very good game of dice. When not at her keyboard, she enjoys lounging on the couch with a bowl of popcorn watching action movies with The-Guy-In-The-Leather-Jacket. She plays her Ashiko drum when no one is listening, and is hard to find when the moon is new.

Product Description


“Harrison injects her young adult debut with style and originality. Rocking good fun, packed full of twists and turns.” (Kelley Armstrong, New York Times bestselling author of The Summoning)

“With a Kim Harrison novel, I expect action, humour, worldbuilding, strong female characters, true friendships, and a bit of realistic romance. I found it all right here.” (Melissa Marr, New York Times Bestselling author of Wicked Lovely and Ink Exchange)

“Abounds with originality and introduces us to rich characters…is sure to introduce [Harrison] to a whole new generation of readers.” (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

“An amusing and entertaining jaunt of an urban fantasy.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison was born and raised in the upper Midwest. Her bestselling Hollows novels include Dead Witch Walking; The Good, the Bad, and the Undead; Every Which Way But Dead; A Fistful of Charms; For a Few Demons More; The Outlaw Demon Wails; White Witch, Black Curse; Black Magic Sanction; Pale Demon, A Perfect Blood, Ever After, and The Undead Pool, plus the short story collection Into the Woods, The Hollows Insider and graphic novels Blood Work and Blood Crime. She also writes the Madison Avery series for young adults.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Madison Avery and the Dim Reaper 5 July 2009
'My name is Madison Avery. And I'm here to tell you that there's more out there than you can see, hear, or touch'.

Madison is dead. After she leaves her school prom with a mysterious guy she ends up in a car crash. She manages to survive this event but is unfortunate in that she's struck down by said guy's magic sword -- now Madison is walking around seemingly alive; but not alive. Confused? All this is chronicled in the Prom Nights From Hell anthology, where Kim Harrison wrote the short story of Madison's prom. You don't need to have read this short story to understand Once Dead, Twice Shy but it certainly would help matters. This book picks up a month or so later during the summer holidays where Madison is being taught metaphysical skills by her long suffering mentor Barnabas. People can still see Madison and she goes on with her life as normal, all the while actually being dead. Heh. It sounds much weirder than it is!

As well as being dead (only not) Madison is a 17 year old hormonal teenager with a bad attitude and purple hair. Harrison excels at characterisation and I was not disappointed here. I really liked Madison's voice and thought her interactions with Barnabas (her light reaper guide) were quite funny. Barnabas is a mysterious character. He's somewhat grumpy and serious, not to mention a little tactless with people's feelings -- which amused me.

This book is very much a short introduction into Madison's world of dark wings, time keepers and reapers. It was nice to read a book that isn't chock full of vampires; it gave the Madisonverse a fresher feel. There are some interesting themes going on here as well -- the nature of fate and free will.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too 10 Aug 2009
By TeensReadToo TOP 500 REVIEWER
Madison's dead. Well, sort of.

See, there was this dark reaper who scythed her, for reasons she still hasn't figured out, and technically she should be long gone. But when he came back to destroy her soul as well as her body, she was able to steal an amulet from him that's allowed her to keep walking around and breathing (even though she doesn't really need to), and appearing alive to anyone who doesn't know any better.

Unfortunately, the owner of that amulet wants it back - badly. And the light reaper assigned to help Madison adjust to her new pseudo-life may not be able to protect her from him.

As Madison struggles to hold onto her life and to save those she cares about who end up targeted as well, she discovers there's a whole lot about this life and death thing she doesn't know, and uncovering those secrets may be the only way she can hope to survive.

ONCE DEAD, TWICE SHY is a fast-paced and engaging read from start to finish. Madison makes an enjoyable narrator, stubborn and sarcastic but with a lot of heart, and enough smarts to get her through some very sticky situations. Harrison has created a fascinating and unique world of reapers and other afterlife figures, though at times readers may find all the information a little hard to follow.

With plenty of suspense and humor and a little romance, this book will appeal to paranormal fans of all ages.

Reviewed by: Lynn Crow
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Once read, twice? not so sure. 27 July 2009
I almost had to push myself to finish this novel, although it was not a terribe read its not the usual type of book i would read, so i thought it would be nice to devel into something different.

In retro-spect even though i am 17 i feel that this book is aimed at a slightly younger age group and may be part of the reason why i found it hard to get through.

Saying this i found the most enjoyable part of the book to be the last 3-5 chapters so its not all bad =]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars well written - but light-weight 19 Dec 2012
By alan
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Kim Harrison fans who are looking for an alternative Rachel or Ivy may be slightly disappointed.
This is "light-weight", without the rich tapestry of a richly characterized interweaving story. The plot development is there in these three books, but it is much simpler.
I would recommend Madison as "festive fare", especially for the younger generation. Given sufficient suspension in their belief of our material world, the readers will find the books a "good read"!
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Madison Avery is dead. She was “reaped” at her prom, but grabbed the dark reaper's amulet, which stopped her moving on. The light reapers have given her a body, so she still appears to be alive to her friends and family. Which means she still has to go to school. But the most important lesson she needs to learn is why the dark reapers came for her, and why they are still searching for her.

This is fun mind candy. It has the standard YA trope of “My parents don’t understand that I’m different. _Really_ different.” However, the plot spins off in unexpected directions, and Madison feels realistic, caught between wisecracking her way out of difficulties, and genuine terror.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Slow start, annoying heroine, otherwise okay 5 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is presented as the first book in the series but feels like the second because it is a follow up to the story in 'Prom Nights from Hell'. Most of the first three chapters are spent throwing background at you and playing catch up. Frankly, it was slow and boring to read. If the book had been by a different author, I would have put it down before the end of the third, but KH is usually good so I figured that it would pick up.

About halfway through, the book picks up dramatically and by the end, I was thinking that I might even read the next one in the series. Aside from a slow start, the only real problem that I found was that I really didn't like the heroine much. She is one of those heroines who blames herself for everything that goes wrong and apologizes incessantly. She also rushes headlong into obviously dangerous situations even after being warned about them repeatedly, but she survives because she always either gets lucky or is saved by someone. Kind of annoying. That said, the action at the end of the book is well paced and the story gets interesting enough that you continue reading it.
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