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Seventeen-year-old Dez Donnelly crashes headlong into fate on the side of a rural highway, her life ending in a violent collision of steel and screaming brakes. The train that delivers her newly departed soul to the crossroads of the afterlife won’t be carrying her to the sweet hereafter until she accepts her abrupt end and learns to let go of the life she’ll never finish.
Her new reality is conduct manuals, propaganda, and unrelenting staff, all part of a system to ease her transition from life to death, while helping her earn her way out of limbo. Atman City, beautiful and enticing, is an ever-present temptation that is strictly off limits to underage souls. The promise of adventure proves too strong, and beneath the city’s sheen of ethereal majesty, Dez discovers a world teeming with danger.
Welcome to Life, A.D. where being dead doesn’t mean you’re safe, and the only thing harder than getting out of limbo is getting through it.
COVETED! A MUST READ!
My Splats: Growth is an ongoing process even after we die.
A favorite aspect of this story for me is a rather simple one. I love, love how appropriate the title is. And it does not represent what you might think. It fits on so many levels. The cover is pretty sweet, too.
The opening scene is powerful. It instantly pulled me into the inner character of Dez, who she is, how she reacts, and what she is feeling. Her confusion, denial, admissions, and doubts as she grips what's happening to her are touching and very real. Initially, the why is left for the reader to discern. I liked this tactic.
Transitions from life to Dez seeing herself after, is done well through smooth and effective transitions of scenery and secondary characters.
The writing is easy to follow. The story is presented in first person, present tense - the official, Here and Now. For some readers, this is hard to digest. I enjoy it, and it works for this story, especially with the complexity of the world building that challenges the reader to self-examine his/her own beliefs and hopes and dreams for what comes after this life.
Clever and vivid are both the world Reed creates as are her characters. Reed gives an altered perspective of what the afterlife might be, giving the feel of hope and the need to grow mixed with a purgatory kind of setting. This afterlife is all about personal growth and brings to the forefront how in charge we truly are with our lives during life as well as in this afterlife.
There was a theme threaded throughout the tale: Most people are busy living life preparing for the future instead of living in the moment. Gosh, I love that.
I'd recommend this book to any enthusiast of young adult, adventure, or romance. Also to anyone open-minded and willing to ponder the afterlife.
Michelle E. Reed was born in a small Midwestern town, to which she has returned to raise her own family. Her imagination and love of literature were fueled by a childhood of late nights, hidden under the covers and reading by flashlight. She is a passionate adoption advocate who lives in Wisconsin with her husband, son, and their yellow lab, Sully.
What are your thoughts on the afterlife? In fiction?