Shaun David Hutchinson’s The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried is a weird, surreal ride—one that might be bumpy in the hands of a less adept writer. But Hutchinson (We Are the Ants) has become known for his unique and offbeat takes on the young adult experience, and in his latest, he pairs a quirky premise with vitally alive—or, in one case, half-alive—teen characters.
Dino’s parents own a funeral home, so he’s no stranger to death. But he’s not expecting his best friend, July, to die suddenly. Their relationship was, like many teen friendships, challenged when Dino started dating. It’s clear the two had unfinished business, so it’s lucky that just days before her funeral, July comes back to life—as an animated corpse. July and Dino try to come to terms with this supernatural occurrence while revisiting their friendship and trying to find out how Dino’s relationship with his new boyfriend will be impacted.
Could Dino and July really have done things differently to stay friends while July was alive? And what does this mean for the future? Does July even have a future? This quirky novel has just enough surrealism to keep teens wanting more.