Velveteen Monroe--or Velvet, as she's usually called--is a 16-year-old girl who was kidnapped and murdered by a serial killer named Bonesaw. This lands Velvet in Purgatory, the in-between place for souls not quite ready for Heaven or Hell. Purgatory is a gray and dismal place where souls have to cover themselves with ashes so that they don't shine too brightly. Everyone has a job in Purgatory, and Velvet's is on a Salvage team (full of delightfully snarky characters) that retrieves souls. Velvet herself has her own share of snark, and she's also dark, feisty, and in-your-face. She's obsessed with the idea of haunting and taking revenge on her killer, something that's totally forbidden since souls aren't supposed to return and interact with the living. (If you read the first chapter on Amazon, you can see a scene of her sneaking back to trash Bonesaw's house). As she wrestles with her desire for revenge, she also finds herself getting caught up in secrets that are unraveling the very structure of Purgatory. Complicating things just as much is the introduction of a hot new guy on her team. Getting involved with him is problematic for a whole series of reasons, but if you look at the cover, you can understand her dilemma.
Here are some truths about Velveteen. It's absolutely one of the most original YA books out there right now. It's also one of the darkest and most disturbing--which is a pro or a con, depending on your personality. There's romance in there, yes, but don't pick this up thinking your getting a sweet and sunny love story. There are some really violent and graphic parts in there that made me squirm, so if that's not your thing, you may want to skip this one. But, if you like dark and morbid, then you'll love the characters and the incredibly complex world and society Daniel's created with Purgatory. Discovering its inner works is a big part of the book, and I'm amazed at how he was able to come up with something so detailed. He's also a really fabulous writer and uses metaphors and similes like...well, like someone who's really good at using metaphors and similes.
Daniel's also a pretty active and hilarious vlogger, so you can get a healthy share of his wit and wisdom over on his site. He even did a vlog about my office library during my Halloween party two years ago, right before Last Sacrifice came out. Good times. And finally, his site also lists his tour dates and locations, so if he'll be near where you live, you'll have a fun time listening to him read and say inappropriate things.