Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Review: Getting a Life, Even if You're dead (No Going Back #1) by Beth Watson

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18633358-getting-a-life-even-if-you-re-deadGoodreads Synopsis:
*This is a young adult novel. Due to subject matter pertaining to teen suicide it is not recommended for middle grade readers, ages 12 and under.

If you died, could you live with your regrets?

When Kendra’s mother drags her to a creepy Paris cemetery for work, the last person Kendra expects to see is Amber, her best friend who moved away three years earlier. Amber helped Kendra through a dark time, and Amber’s departure was just one more loss for Kendra. Amber was Kendra’s confidante but it turns out Amber failed to share her biggest secret: she was dead. 

Amber never planned to disclose her traumatic past and true identity to Kendra, but a boy’s life is at stake. Amber is suddenly unable to connect with troubled kids and she needs Kendra to console Pierrot, a despondent boy who holds the answers to the suspicious death of his brother, Loic. Although Loic needs closure to cross over, the truth about his death might impact everyone’s future, including Kendra’s, since she has fallen for Pierrot, the mysterious boy and murder suspect.

But dead or alive, there is no going back…

***I received the eBook free as a review copy from the author in exchange for an honest review***

Who could not be intrigued by the title of this book? You know from the get go that it has an interesting concept, and this runs true through the book. I did find that it took a little for the book to hit its stride and the beginning was touch and go, this might be because at the start Kendra seems a quite immature and therefore an un-relatable character. However this quickly changes with the novel and meant you could see her character develop into someone who isn’t so self-absorbed but understanding and appreciative of everything she has.

This book was also written in dual POV, both Kendra and Amber, so while Kendra was being a bit touchy it was nice reading about Amber who even though has less pages in her POV the book is essentially about her. She has a really interesting background and it was nice trying to pick up all the hints, until the end where you still don’t know all the gritty details.

The end seemed to conclude everything nicely, and then keep one thing wide open for the next book and I haven’t seen this done many times before because authors tend to either go for the major cliff-hanger, or having everything tied up in a big happy bow (I’m generalizing obviously). It was great that Beth Watson strayed from this, and I actually hope more authors do in the future.

Getting a Life, Even if You’re Dead is a great paranormal/coming of age story, where even the dead have their chance to grow and find meaning in a life they can’t help but resent. It was surprisingly fun even with the subtle threads of teen suicide running through, which wasn’t shoved in your face with the author’s opinion and was instead done artfully letting the characters run the story. This is why it had the lighter feel to some parts; the characters while still in their upper teens tended to seem quite juvenile, in an enjoyable way.

I would very much recommend this to the YA fan base, because even if you don’t see the deeper messages about love and death it doesn’t detract from the book. I think this is why people will take this book differently, and appreciate it differently, but still appreciate it’s a good book.
Favourite Quotes:
“Too bad a guardian angel hadn’t been around to show me that I didn’t have to die to achieve a sense of worth.”

“You could be with someone and still feel alone because you were never fully connected to them. Story of my life.”

“Love wasn’t something you should take for granted like oxygen. It is more like…sunshine. When the sun was shining, it lit up your life, making you feel good all over. And it could majorly depress you when it wasn’t out. So you had to appreciate it when it was there.”

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