Conor O’Neill has a banshee named Ashling hiding in his game closet. Ashling has come to announce the death of one of the members of the O’Neill family, but doesn’t know who. Conor doesn’t want anyone in his family to die. Grumps wants to be the one to die instead of anyone else. Little sister Glennie doesn’t believe half of what Conor says and is a royal pain. Mom and dad are clueless in so many ways. Mom insists on calling Conor Pixie which doesn’t help his image at all and dad is trying to force Conor out of Southie and into Latin School, Boston College, hockey and economics despite Conor’s dislike of all of the above. Conor travels to the underworld to hopefully stop the death, but things aren’t exactly as they appear.
I liked this book a lot more than I thought I would. The characters are fully realized and the adventure kept me reading. Conor is not your typical hero; he is scared of so many things and a very reluctant hero. At one point he even wears a bike helmet to school. Ashling’s story is revealed throughout the book and it is a tragic one that directly connects to Conor. I thought Grumps was the most heartbreaking. He is obsessed by Irish death culture because of something that happened in his past; something that also caused him to neglect his son which in turn causes Brian to smother Conor. The ending will break your heart and the trip to the underworld will make you laugh. Who knew you could phone a friend from the land of the dead!