These are the first six chapters of The Not So Dearly Departed, a young-adult novel centered on Emma Braxton, a sixteen-year-old girl, who desperately wants to live a normal life. Unfortunately she is not normal; she has a rare paranormal gift that allows her to experience how a person dies when she touches his or her gravestone. Emma finds this gift to be a curse, but chooses to explore it anyway with the help of her best friend, Toby Stone. Emma's tight-knit family includes her father, Sean, a Boston police officer and her older brother, Conrad. Forced to battle with a tragedy that rips her small family apart, Emma has to learn to cope with not only the paranormal nightmares, but the normal ones as well.