In this modern-day suburban town, one percent of all fatalities come about in the most peculiar way. Deaths—eight-foot-tall, silver-gray creatures—send a letter (“Dear So-and-So, your days are numbered”) to whomever is chosen for a departure, telling them to wrap up their lives and do the things they always wanted to do before they have to “depart.” When sixteen-year-old Gabriela receives her notice, she is, of course devastated. Will she kiss her crush Sylvester before it’s too late? Friendship, first love, and fantasy artfully mesh in this magically realistic world that ultimately celebrates life.
Steven Arntson is the author of the middle grade novel The Wikkeling. He’s a writer and musician who lives in Seattle, Washington. Visit his website at www.stevenarntson.com.
VOYA Top Shelf for Middle School Readers 2013 list
* "Quirky, charming and life-affirming, supernatural style."
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"With a strong mystery at its core and fantasy elements, this has potential to appeal to a wide range of readers."
"Fans of Lois Lowry's Giver quartet will most likely appreciate this imaginative tale."
"The fantastical nature of Departures allows the book to stay lighthearted, even as Gabriela explores some of her deepest fears and existential questions. . . .The Wrap-Up List is likely to appeal to fans of the end-of-life issues genre."