[b:Lullabies for Little Criminals|22207|Lullabies for Little Criminals|Heather O'Neill|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1327893204s/22207.jpg|23263] meets [b:The Cement Garden|9957|The Cement Garden|Ian McEwan|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1166111732s/9957.jpg|1189398].
The horrible alcoholic parents of two young teenage girls die within a day of each other, one by the hand of his wife, and then the wife by her own hand out in the garden shed.
Their children have little sympathy for the deaths. Their life of neglect and abuse have toughened them, and they know that if the authorities become aware of the loss of their parents then they will be taken into 'care' by the social services, a highly undesirable result. So after being prompted by the smell and mess of progressive decomposition, they bury the dead in the garden. Under the lavender. It is a gruesomely funny scene.
The story is told in alternating voices of the two sisters and their old gay neighbour who becomes entwined in their lives. The voice of the older sister is convincing; she is teenagerly-tough and funny and still vulnerable. Other characters become interesting when they turn out differently from our preconceptions.
Despite the nature of the story, it's surprisingly light and funny. A good summer read.