Cover of Over My Dead Body, featuring a young woman in a school uniform holding white flowers over her chest, funeral-style

About the Book

Title: Over My Dead Body
Published: 2022
Swoonworthy Scale: 1

Cover Story: Funereal
BFF Charm: Eventually
Talky Talk: Emotional Real Talk
Arty Art: Familiar
Bonus Factors: Witches, Talking Animals, LGBTQ+ Representation
Anti-Bonus Factor: Awful Adults
Relationship Status: Intrigued

Cover Story: Funereal

This is the second book I’ve read in the past few months with a cover that invokes a funeral. I’m not mad about it. (Give me all the spooky fall vibes, whenever, wherever.)

The Deal: 

Abigail Younwity is a student at Younwity Insitute of Witchcraft and a foundling (hence her last name being the same as the school’s name). She’s a decent student, but more concerned with the disappearance of her mentee, Noreen, than she is with classes or following the rules. She’s not supposed to venture into the Untamed Woods, nor is she supposed to read books on dark magic, but Abby’s going to do whatever it takes to find Noreen and bring her home safely.

BFF Charm: Eventually

BFF Charm with a sweatband on

I didn’t really get to know Abby well—this book is short—but it’s obvious that she’s a caring, loyal, and dedicated person when it comes to her friends (her found family). That’s a great quality to have in a BFF, but I’d have to get to know her a bit better before I felt comfortable calling her one of my friends.

Swoonworthy Scale: 1

Abby’s got no time for romance in this book, but a couple of the secondary characters make a love connection while other things are going on. I’m sure they’re great together, but that’s not the focus of the story.

Talky Talk: Emotional Real Talk

Although Over My Dead Body is set in a fictional world of magic—there are non-magical mortals around, but they don’t feature in the story—it’s got a familiar vibe for anyone who’s ever been or known a teenage girl. Emotions are heightened, authority is ignored, and danger means little if it’s in the way of achieving a goal. Boo’s writing feels very accurate to the way I often felt when I was a teen, even when my problems were much less dire than finding the whereabouts of a missing, possibly injured (or worse), friend.

I do wish this was the first in a series or that the story was a bit longer, however. Boo’s worldbuilding is great, but it really only scratches the surface of what’s obviously a large and interesting universe. I’d love to read more!

Arty Art: Familiar

Page via author’s website

I hate to liken anything to the book whose author shall not be named, one because it’s not like they were the first to feature students at a magical boarding school and two because of said author and the varying degrees of how folks feel about said books. But a few of the panels in Over My Dead Body look like they were pulled straight from HP. Boo’s obviously a talented artist, and her illustrations are really stellar, from the realism of the characters to the details in the backgrounds. So I apologize for my brain immediately going there, but it can’t be helped.

Bonus Factor: Magic

Open book with moving pages in front of a glowing blue sphere and twinkle lights

Boo doesn’t get too much into the magical system of Younwity, but the few spells that the students use are very cool and very handy, from the heatless flame they carry in the palm of their hand (very useful for reading under the covers at night) to the location spell they use in the search for Noreen. 

Bonus Factor: Talking Animals

Screenshot from Chaos Walking, with Todd holding his dog Manchee

Abigail has a hairless cat named Seymour, who is just as delightfully sassy as you’d hope from a cat familiar—and yes, he talks. Talking animals is one element of fantasy that I’ve never stopped wishing were real. Although, I’m not totally sure I’d want to know what my dogs thought all the time. One of them in particular can be extremely sarcastic, even without speech and the ability to experience emotions the same way humans do.

Bonus Factor: LGBTQ+ Representation

Pride flag being waved in a parade

Although Abby never gets into her sexual orientation, there are a couple of girls who get into a relationship (I couldn’t tell you if they’re lesbians, or bi, or pan, not that that matters) and a non-binary character in Over My Dead Body.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Awful Grownups

Boxtrolls characters

Is someone still considered an awful adult if the most awful thing they did was when they were a kid and then just sort of kept being a less awful but still awful jerk for the rest of their life? 

Relationship Status: Intrigued

Our date was sweet, Book, but it ended before we really got to know each other and you left me wanting more. Perhaps we can meet up again sometime? So I can get to know you better?

Literary Matchmaking

Season of the Witch (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #1)

Sarah Rees Brennan’s novelizations of the show have a similar spooky, witchy vibe.

The Year of the Witching

Alexis Henderson’s book also features a powerful young (witchy) woman and includes similarly unexpected dark themes.

Hex Hall (Hex Hall #1)

Rachel Hawkins’ series is also set in a magical boarding school, but in this case, it’s a reform school.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Harperalley, but got neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. Over My Dead Body is available now.

Mandy (she/her) is a manager at a tech company who lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, son, and dogs. She loves superheroes and pretty much any show or movie with “Star” in the name.