Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Review: If I Die by Rachel Vincent

Title: If I Die
Series: Soul Screamers #5
Author: Rachel Vincent
Genre: Young Adult Supernatural
Elements: Bean sidhes, Reapers, Incubi, Demons
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN, Harlequin Books
ISBN-13: 9780373210329
ISBN: 0373210329 
Release: September 20, 2011
Rating: 5/5

Tagline(s): The last thing you hear before you die. / Nobody wants to be this teachers pet.


The entire school's talking about the gorgeous new math teacher, Mr. Beck. Everyone except Kaylee Cavanaugh. After all, Kaylee's no ordinary high-school junior. She's a banshee—she screams when someone dies.

But the next scream might be for Kaylee.

Yeah—it's a shock to her, too. So to distract herself, Kaylee's going to save every girl in school. Because that hot new teacher is really an incubus who feeds on the desire of unsuspecting students. The only girls immune to his lure are Kaylee and Sabine, her boyfriend's needy ex-girlfriend. Now the unlikely allies have to get rid of Mr. Beck…before he discovers they aren't quite human, either.

But Kaylee's borrowed lifeline is nearing its end. And those who care about her will do anything to save her life.




Kaylee Cavanaugh is a bean sidhe. She screams---or sings---for the souls of the dying. She's beaten and endured many challenges, but this time she may not be so lucky. With less than a week left of her borrowed lifeline, Kaylee will have to, somehow, get rid of the incubus pretending to be her math teacher, and come to terms with her own impending death.

Tod Hudson is a reaper---and when he was living, a male bean sidhe. Tod has been trying to get Kaylee to realize that Nash (his younger brother) is not the right person Kaylee should be with. Tod will do pretty much anything for Kaylee. His feelings for her make his sadness over not being able to prevent her death even more unbearable. 

Nash Hudson is Kaylee's boyfriend and Tod's younger brother. Being a male bean sidhe, Nash thought he would have hundreds of years to be with Kaylee. But the news of her impending death causes Nash to jump back on the frost bandwagon. 

Sabine Campbell is a mara---a nightmare. She's Nash's ex-girlfriend, but she's still in love with him and trying to get him back. She's always there for Nash when Kaylee isn't. Especially when Nash was going through withdrawal from frost. Where Kaylee can't trust or accept Nash as he is now, Sabine does without question. With Kaylee's death on the horizon, Sabine is hoping to finally get Nash back. 

Emma Marshall is Kaylee's best friend and 100% human. She's fallen victim to the supernatural elements in Kaylee's life countless times, and this time is no different. Emma falls under Mr. Beck's influence with ease until Kaylee comes to the rescue. But all the Netherworld creatures would never be able to tear Emma from Kaylee's side. The news of Kaylee's death hits Emma pretty hard when she realizes all the things they'll never be able to do together. 

Mr. Beck is the new math teacher who just happens to be an incubus---another Netherworld nasty. He's very determined to have a son and will impregnate as many girls as it takes for him to finally have that son. But when Kaylee messes up his careful planning for the soul of his unborn son, he goes after Kaylee's. 


Knowledge and acceptance of one's own death is one theme in If I Die. When Kaylee first learns that her borrowed lifeline is nearing it's expiration date, she's completely shocked and quickly goes into denial. As the initial shock wears off, she slowly begins to accept that there is nothing that can be done to stop her death. So she sets about doing one last thing to help those around her. This is her way of accepting and dealing with the knowledge that she's going to die. 

Another theme is grief. Though Kaylee is not dead yet, her loved ones are in some stage of the grief process. Kaylee's father is in the denial stage and tries to find some way to keep her from dying. In his mind, she is NOT going to die. Tod is in the guilt stage because there is no way that he can prevent Kaylee's death. That causes him great pain and guilt. Nash is in the anger stage and tries to gain more time with Kaylee. He even goes so far as to use his Influence on Kaylee to get more alone time with her. Emma is in the depression stage and reflects on all that she'll never be able to do with Kaylee. This causes Emma to feel the loneliness Kaylee's absence will leave behind. And finally, Kaylee is in the acceptance stage. She knows there's no way to prevent her death. So she accepts it for what it is and tries to make it easier for those around her. 


The plot leading up to the climax of the story is full of suspense and drama. If the wait for the release of the book wasn't enough, we're kept waiting even longer for the part everyone's waited for. But that's not a bad thing. The drama and suspense build up the excitement for the finale. 

After we learn Kaylee's fate at the end, we're left wondering what could possibly happen next. 

I like the use of the Dylan Thomas poem when Tod is speaking to Kaylee about her death:
"It's just a relief to hear you sounding less than rational and perfectly accepting of your own death. For a while it looked like you were going to 'go gentle into that good night,' or whatever. And that's not you, Kaylee."
"You like it better when I 'rage, rage against the dying of the light?'"
"I like it when you 'rage, rage' against anything. It makes you look fierce and...alive."
The poem itself has a message that no matter how one has lived their life or what one feels at the end they should die fighting. It implies that one should not die without fighting for one's life, or after life. That death is unavoidable, but one should fight death. Not for one's own sake, but for the hope and closure for those they leave behind. 

For those who have never read this poem or don't know the meaning of it, it may seem meaningless and unimportant. But for those who do know the poem and message, they will see the significance. 

Tod is telling Kaylee that she shouldn't be so accepting of her death. That she should be fighting to the very end, instead of just sitting back and waiting for it to happen. That even though her death is unavoidable, she should fight in the face of death, just as the always fought through life. And fight she does.  



The school is the place where a lot of Netherworld activity is centered. It's also where Emma almost gets trapped by Mr. Beck before Kaylee interferes. It's the place where Kaylee kisses Tod and Nash finds them in the act. Kaylee feels humiliated after the very public fight.

The Netherworld is a place that Kaylee never wants to go back to if it can be helped. A place full of supernatural creatures. But Kaylee must cross over if she wants to save Emma from Mr. Beck. What she discovers there is something she never would have thought could happen. Tod has handed the reaper charged with reaping Kaylee's soul over to the hellion Avari. This is when Kaylee first recognizes her growing feelings for Tod, but she also feels regret for realizing it too late.

Lakeside is another place Kaylee never wants to go back to. Lakeside is the portion of the hospital that houses mental patients. It's the place Kaylee was sent for her "panic attacks." And even though she now knows she's not crazy, Lakeside still instills that fear in her that she really is. But if Kaylee wants to get rid of Mr. Beck, she needs to sneak in and speak to a former "student" of his. With Tod's help and support, she's able to accomplish what she set out to do.

And finally, there's Kaylee's home---specifically her bedroom. This is where Mr. Beck attacks Kaylee, fatally wounding her. But she does manage to pull the knife out of her stomach and kill the incubus. She's able to call Tod and he gets her to the hospital. On the way, Kaylee is more scared of seeing Tod crying than knowing that she's dying. Because reapers don't cry and she made Tod cry.

My Final Thoughts:

I truly believe that If I Die is the best book in the Soul Screamers series so far. It's full of suspense and drama, emotional overload, and hope in the face of death. It's going to take a lot to beat this one. What could possibly happen in the next book?

I really love the developments between Kaylee and Tod. When I first started reading the Soul Screamers series I was all for Nash, but once he started using frost he just became annoying. I really believe what Tod said when he told Kaylee that Nash wasn't the right person for her. I'm glad that Kaylee finally realized that as the truth. Team Tod forever! Kaylee is one lucky girl, that's for sure.


Chapter 10, Pages 136-137

"I'm not a saint, and I don't want to be. I just want to be normal. I want to have fights with my dad, and secrets with my best friend, and sex with my boyfriend. But most of all, I want to not be dead in a few days. I'm not done living! And I can't fit everything else I want to do into the next ninety-six hours, and no matter how many dying wishes I make, that's not going to change. And I hate it!"

Chapter 16, Page 244

"There's a good kind of crazy, Kaylee. It's the kind that makes you think about things that make your head hurt, because not thinking about them is the coward's way out. The kind that makes you touch people who bruise your soul, just because they need to be touched. This is the kind of crazy that lets you stare out into the darkness and rage at eternity, while it stares back at you, ready to swallow you whole. I've seen you fight, Kaylee. I've seen you step into that darkness for someone else, then claw your way out, bruised, but still standing. You're that kind of crazy, and I live in that darkness. Together, we'd take crazy to a whole new level." 

About this Author: 

A resident of San Antonio, Rachel Vincent has a BA in English and an overactive imagination, and consistently finds the latter to be more practical. She shares her workspace with two black cats (Kaci and Nyx) and her # 1 fan. Rachel is older than she looks-seriously-and younger than she feels, but remains convinced that for every day she spends writing, one more day will be added to her lifespan.


  1. This was absolutely my favourite of the series! I was shocked by some of the developments and REALLY ELATED WITH SOME OF THEM. Hint, hint: TOD. I've loved Tod for a while now and it was nice to get to see more of him in this one. And I think I bawled buckets while reading this! It was so good!

    Great review! :)

    Liza @ Book Crook Liza

  2. I totally agree with you. I love the developments that happened between Tod and Kaylee. It was great to see more of him in this book. I cried so much when I read about Tod finding Kaylee on the bed dying, and when Kaylee saw Tod disappear in the hospital right before she died. I was like, "You can't separate them like that!" It was the best in the series so far, in my opinion. I can't wait to see what happens in the next book.

    Thanks for much for commenting and following my blog!