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Book Review of Cherie Dimaline's Funeral Songs for Dying Girls

Hello everyone! This week, our book club is once again expanding its recommendation list!

Title: Funeral Songs for Dying Girls

Author: Cherie Dimaline

Age range: 14+

Length: 280 pages

Content warnings: course language, mentions of sexual activity

Cherie Dimaline, Métis author of the popular The Marrow Thieves series, has once again delivered a stunning, poetic novel with Funeral Songs for Dying Girls. The novel follows Winifred, a fifteen-year-old macabre, relatable, dark-humor-loving girl who lives with her father in a cemetery. When her home is threatened by capitalistic woes (the crematorium is being run out of business!), Winifred and her con-artist cousin begin hosting Ghost Tours to bring in some extra cash. As Winifred is playing the part of a ghost for their con, she meets Phil – a real ghost haunting the cemetery. Without giving too much away, this story is full of grief, love, horror, and all the fun of the paranormal.

Dimaline oscillates between teen rom-com and paranormal horror throughout the novel, somehow managing to always keep the two genres in balance. If you are a fan of either genre, you are sure to love this novel! Winifred is a gripping, engaging, and fascinating protagonist, and she will keep you laughing and wondering throughout the book. I loved experiencing this story and Winifred’s world through her eyes – she is a refreshing change from most protagonists of YA novels (enthusiastic readers will know what I mean). I don’t think I have ever read a novel with a more relatable, teenaged main character. She navigates all of the realities of teen hood (first loves, grief, loss, self-realization) through dark humour, fear, ambition, and so much more. Winifred definitely reminded me of myself as a teen!

Beyond a thrilling storyline and protagonist, Dimaline’s writing is a treat in its own right. Her novels are prose-like, and easy to devour in one or two sittings. Like fog drifting between tombstones, Dimaline’s novel flows beautifully throughout, and leads to a satisfying conclusion. Funeral Songs for Dying Girls is a must-read for any teen who has felt like an outcast, who has a love for horror and the paranormal, and who is ready to cry, laugh, and jump in fear throughout the novel. An easy 5/5 stars!


Author: Kassidy, ITMP Blog Writer

Photo Credits: Cherie Dimaline via Penguin Random House Canada


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