Review of Life Is Short & Then You Die edited by Kelley Armstrong (physical arc)





Life Is Short And Then You Die edited by Kelley Armstrong


Life Is Short and Then You Die is the Mystery Writers of America’s first teen anthology, edited by #1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong.

Adolescence is a time of “firsts.” First kiss. First love. First loss. First job. The first taste of adult responsibilities, and the first look at an independent life away from both the restrictions and the security of home.

And in this case, a very different type of “first”: murder.

This short story collection of murder mysteries adds a sinister spin to the joy and pain of firsts that have always been a major part of life, whether it be high school cliques who take the term “backstabbing” too seriously, stumbling upon a body on the way home from school, or receiving a Snapchat message that promises something deadly.

Contributors include Barry Lyga, Caleb Roehrig, Emmy Laybourne, Jonathan Maberry, R.L. Stine, Rachel Vincent, Y.S. Lee, and more!


Expected publication: September 10th 2019 by Imprint






I’m going to start with the warnings first.  Since this anthology is all about death and murder, you can already expect that it contains just about every trigger warning there is.  Murder, implied suicide, implied sexual assault, some sex (nothing explicit), language, animal deaths (not described, just mentioned), all types of abuse, Nazi Germany, teenagers saying slurs at others, talk about appearance (both good and bad), young teens in jail (historical), school shooting drills and talk of shootings, teacher/student relationships, teenage drinking, teens going to college parties, bullying, and probably a lot more.  If you read crime stories, you pretty much know what to expect.


I would normally try to talk about all the stories a bit in anthologies.  But since these are more mystery, it’s very hard without spoiling anything.  So instead, I’m just going to talk a tiny bit about the standouts for me.  I didn’t hate any story, but some were much better (for me) than others.


Floater by Kelley Armstrong

I had a feeling I would like this since I enjoy Kelley’s writing and it didn’t disappoint.  Except that it was shorter than I would have liked and it started the book.  It’s so hard to enjoy the rest when I like the first story so much.  This one is about a dead body found floating and trying to figure out what happened.


The Day I Killed Coach Duffy by R.L. Stine

It’s R.L. Stine.  I don’t really have to say more.  It was short and strange and I really liked it a lot.


The Boy in the Red Vans by Rachel Vincent

This was one of those twisty short stories where you’re trying to figure out what is going on.  Not everything is as it seems in the beginning.


Concealment by Eileen Rendahl

I wasn’t sure at first with this one since it started out with a school shooter drill.  But that wasn’t what the story was about at all.  A young teen girl started having weird flashes that she didn’t understand until she googled herself.


A Killer Story by Julie Tollefson

This starts off with a trio of friends who grew apart the summer of senior year.  A body is found and everything is all connected somehow.


First Party Back by Emmy Laybourne

This is about a boy that attends his first party after accidentally killing someone while driving home from another party.  It also deals with alcohol poisoning and had a really great friendship that I loved.


What I Did On My Summer Vacation by Jonathon Maberry

I love books with bodyguards and threats, so this story stood out to me.  There was another with secret service that I enjoyed, too.  I think this one stood out a bit more because of it taking place on an island.


Six Ways To Kill Your Grandmother by Barry Lyga

This was the final story in the book.  It was about a 14 year old boy whose father was a serial killer and taught his son all his tricks.  He’s living with his grandma and it seems like she has dementia.  He goes over all the ways he can kill her and get away with it.


There were quite a few more than I really enjoyed and a few that were just ok.  I gave this book 4 stars.


Thank you to Imprint/Macmillan for sending me a copy for review.




Is this on your TBR?  Do you enjoy YA mysteries about murder?













Author: confessionsofayareader

I'm Kristi. I'm a wife, mom, and grandma. I have been breeding leopard geckos for ten years. I love to read and have been trying to review more books (the reason for this blog besides wanting to talk about books with everyone). I also love music and going to concerts, mostly punk and pop punk.

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