In this modern world, some people die and some Depart.
Sixteen year-old Gabriela Rivera gets a Departure Letter, which means she has seven days to wrap things up in her life before she is to leave with Her Death, an eight foot tall, silvery colored, gilled creature that only she can see named Hercule. First, she must write out her list of wishes – things to accomplish before her departure: a first kiss from a particular boy, first kisses for her three best friends, and most importantly a Pardon from her Departure, not something Hercule will give willingly.
Hercule will help her with those wishes but it’s up to her to take advantage of the opportunities he provides. And while she’s working on her Wrap-up List and spending time with her friends, she needs to spend time with her family. She learns to be a better friend, discovers her friends’ and her family’s secrets, and goes to extreme lengths to get her Pardon. Unfortunately, it seems that while her friends are getting their wishes, she won’t be getting hers.
I loved the unusualness of this story – Gabriela’s growth, the quirky, well drawn characters, and the complete unpredictability of the story twists that caught even this jaded reader by surprise!