Book Review: She Smells the Dead (Spirit Guide #1) by EJ Stevens

Before you gasp and ask "Where is Kelli?"... stay calm... I do occasionally like to give my two cents and review a book :)

It's the beginning of senior year and Yuki's psychic awareness of ghostly spirits is threatening to ruin her life. Her ability to sense spirits of the dead isn't glamorous like the ghost hunting on television. 


The smell impressions are becoming stronger. Yuki is being visited in her dreams, and she suspects that her friend Calvin is involved in something strange. To make matters worse her crush on Garrett is going unrequited, Yuki's friend Emma is on a rampage against bee oppression, and annoying Calvin Miller mysteriously disappears. 

Will Yuki be able to focus her powers in time to save the lost soul who is haunting her? Meanwhile, who will save Yuki from following the spirits into the light? 

To begin I really enjoyed the cover art! I like a good book cover and it is one of the first things that attracts me to a book (other than Kelli’s recommendations).  What also caught my attention was the title, Smell, this was a new catchy paranormal twist that I had not read before.  I knew I would enjoy this fun read right from the beginning... I like love and  EJ didn’t mess around. 

The story is based on the new paranormal life of Yuki, a spunky heroine who is experiencing love for the first time and a new-found gift (that delivers terrible smells) all while trying to be a senior. Her two closest friends, Calvin "Cal" and Emma, know about her heightened sense of smell and the dead spirits that follow.

Yuki and Cal have a very comfortable friendship that is free of the typical high school stereotype. She is the freak and he is the hippie-jock and it works. It was very fun to read how Yuki just one day realizes that Cal is “hot,” it made me giggle and think how blind we are in our teenage years. I also enjoyed the time Cal told Yuki to stay the same, that sends a nice message to youth to remember who you are and love it. Yuki doesn’t even think twice to ask Cal to go on her sleuthing adventures... both of them just saddle up and go! 

The characters in this story are very unique and can easily remind you of different people you might have met or know.   The best friend and best friend's boyfriend are an oddity to say the least, from vegan living to anime, what a pair. And of course the mentor that Cal and Yuki are training with, Simon... oh cocky Simon, how I have pictured you in so many ways... his personality is a mixture of Fennick from the Hunger Games series and Adrian from the Vampire Academy series... need I say more.

The ending is nice and clean and leaves you with a lot of hope for Yuki and Cal but still with a black cloud hanging over their future... will they master their new paranormal powers in time... that remains to be known until the release of Storm Spirit (Spirit Guide #2) set to release Spring 2011... and so the waiting begins!

Just One Gripe:
Everytime I read the word incredulous, I cringe... Thank you Twilight series for the harsh overuse. 

The Best Thing About This Book:
I loved the sleuthing aspect that goes along with Yuki’s gift/curse... This series is like Nancy Drew meets the Winchester Brother’s from Supernatural.

Appropriate for a younger audience:
Absolutely, this is a fun quick read for preteens and up.

Total Score: 

PS: Spoiler Alert for She Smells the Dead:
My hopes for Storm Spirit (Spirit Guide #2): 

1.  We will learn more about the world of the wolves and their bond to their mate.  
2.  What is up with Yuki’s parents... trusting or do they secretly know about what she is going through?
3.  I would like to learn a little more about Simon.
4.  More of Yuki and Cal's backstory.


  1. if youre interested im hosting my first giveaway on my blog!!! :D

  2. Dude, I was already wanting to read this one, but after reading "This series is like Nancy Drew meets the Winchester Brother’s from Supernatural" I know I HAVE to read it!

  3. I have been on the fence about this one, but after your review, I def need to read it.

    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog (From CEP)

  4. I always think a 'romance' between two seemingly different characters works well. Thanks for recommending what sounds like a promising read.

  5. This was a really fast read and a cute story. You can sit down and read it in one sitting (it took me two days because I had kids crawling all over me when I was trying to read :) ).

    @ Jami You crack me up! I hear you are writing?!

  6. Hi Natalie,

    I laughed when I saw your little intro.."before you gasp Where's Kelli..." Great way to ensnare us girl.
    I completely agree that the cover is classic with an almost manga reality. I imagined this girl straight off a manga illustration book and voila this is her in a "real people's world" . Very eye catching.

    Comparing to Nancy Drew with Winchester Bros... who are the Winchester Bros?? Anything like the Hardy boys???? Going to look them up now :)

    Great review and looking forward to laughing again.

  7. Hi Natalie,

    Yes, I am writing! I am on the first draft of my newest WIP. =)


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