Release Date: March 4th, 2014
Genre: Young Adult – Science Fiction
Source: I received an e-galley from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
Synopsis: For as long as 17-year-old Alex Wayfare can remember, she has had visions of the past. Visions that make her feel like she’s really on a ship bound for America, living in Jamestown during the Starving Time, or riding the original Ferris wheel at the World’s Fair.
But these brushes with history pull her from her daily life without warning, sometimes leaving her with strange lasting effects and wounds she can’t explain. Trying to excuse away the aftereffects has booked her more time in the principal’s office than in any of her classes and a permanent place at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Alex is desperate to find out what her visions mean and get rid of them.
It isn’t until she meets Porter, a stranger who knows more than should be possible about her, that she learns the truth: Her visions aren’t really visions. Alex is a Descender – capable of traveling back in time by accessing Limbo, the space between Life and Afterlife. Alex is one soul with fifty-six past lives, fifty-six histories.
Fifty-six lifetimes to explore: the prospect is irresistible to Alex, especially when the same mysterious boy with soulful blue eyes keeps showing up in each of them. But the more she descends, the more it becomes apparent that someone doesn’t want Alex to travel again. Ever.
And will stop at nothing to make this life her last.
Author bio: When she’s not writing, M.G. moonlights as a web designer and social media/creative director.
She’s the current web ninja lurking behind the hugely popular website YABooksCentral.com,
a social network for YA (and kids!) book lovers. The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare is her debut novel. M.G. lives nestled away in Michigan pines, surrounded by good coffee and good books, with her husband and son and three furbabies. Say hello on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.
I think the best way to get my point of view across here is to do my review by likes and dislikes. It’s kind of the way I read it too. I kept thinking as I went along, “I like this. Nope, I don’t care for this.” Thing is, most of what I have to say is positive. And I ended up giving this book 4 stars. So let’s get the dislikes out of the way first.
- The pacing was an issue. I already stated this, but you should know that the more you read, the better it gets. It just takes this one a little while to get going. It is a slower paced book than most other YA novels, but since I read a lot of adult fiction too, it wasn’t hard for me to get into the swing of things.
- I mentioned loving the writing, and I did, but I did feel the book was a BIT too long. Maybe too wordy? Or maybe just some of the exposition and conversation at the beginning could have been whittled down so the plot moved faster?
- Honestly, some of the descriptions were a bit odd. I would be trucking along and reading when this really odd sentence would yank me out of the narrative. See example below.
- There was also a really odd one towards the beginning where Alex mentions she feels like oatmeal. Not that she is moving sluggishly like she is stuck in oatmeal, but that she actually IS oatmeal. It was just…odd.
- It was always that way with us. Whenever we found forgotten or broken objects, I would repair them and bring them back to life, and Audrey would make them beautiful. I was the stoic one with Coke-bottle eyeglasses. Audrey was the beauty, with a laugh that gave color to our world.
- The story is just so unique. I usually don’t mesh well with books about time travel. But this one…wow. I just loved the concept and the science behind it. Even though much of it is completely implausible, it was believable within the context of the narrative. And fascinating. Especially the soulmarks. WOW. I loved that we got to relive historical events from the past, and I love that this is a series and that in the next book I will get to relive more important historical events through the protagonist’s eyes. We only really got a glimpse of THREE of Alex’s past lives in this novel, and can you imagine what all the rest of them will be like? The opportunities are ENDLESS.
- And then there was Alex herself. Okay, so I didn’t love how judgmental she was of her female peers and I am never a fan of nerdy girls who think they are better than everyone else, but I was able to overlook that one aspect of Alex’s behavior because I loved her relationship with her sisters and her grandparents. I loved how healthy this family was even when a horrible disease was ravaging them from the inside out. I loved their movie nights and I loved grandma’s baking. There were just so many AWWWW moments.
- And then there was the sort-of love triangle. I say SORT OF because I am not sure where this is going, and I don’t specifically want to call it a triangle because it was so unique in its approach. Unique and I loved it! I don’t want to spoil anything but I do want to discuss it with you if you have finished it. Who do you ship? I have to know. *coughs* Team Jensen. For now.