Who says love is the strongest emotion? My Second Life by Faye Bird – a darker vision of reincarnation.

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Who says love is the strongest emotion?  My Second Life by Faye Bird – a darker vision of reincarnation.

Finally – a YA book about reincarnation that doesn’t focus on everlasting love. This book focuses on everlasting guilt, and that makes this compact read a little darker than I expected, but also very compelling.  The plot is, at times, improbable (reincarnation, people), and the feelings are raw, but I just couldn’t put this book down until I had the answers. This is a fast moving book, and it felt shorter than the 250+ pages. I read it in a single sitting, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find others will as well.

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Goodreads Summary

A pacy page-turner that asks: Can you be held responsible now for something you did in a previous life?

Fifteen-year-old Ana has a good life–she has friends and a boy she likes and a kind mother–but still, she’s haunted by her past; she knows that she lived once before as a girl named Emma, and she still misses her old family. When, by chance in her life now, Ana meets a woman she knew in her previous life, a terrifying memory flashes through her mind of a young girl drowning. Was Emma responsible? And should Ana pay the price? Consumed by guilt, Ana sets out to find out as much as possible about the person she was before and what she had done, only to discover that the family she misses so deeply had dark secrets of its own. To come to terms with her life now, Ana must figure out how to let go of the past.

My Thoughts

I can’t resist a book about reincarnation, and this time I’m glad I didn’t try.  I enjoyed this moody mystery a lot.  I did feel like the ending was a little anti-climatic for all the build up; it was a resolution that did give me answers, but it left me a little unsettled.  I think that is a good word for the feelings this book evoked – it was unsettling.  Part of this is the situation itself, but part of it is the way Ana feels so disconnected from her present and so connected to her past.  I think the lesson here is about clinging to a past that leaves you with no future, and that is a valid life lesson that many of us need to be reminded of when thoughts about mistakes start consuming us.  I think my high school readers will find the premise intriguing, so this is definitely going on my classroom library wish list.  Language and situations are appropriate for grades 9+.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange beg for an honest review.

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About queenbook

When the final bell rings, I stash those messy piles of essays and analysis assignments in a desk drawer and I head home to a pile of good books. My kids and dog eat too many chicken nuggets and the house could be neater, but as long as I get my daily read, I guess we are doing all right. When I was twelve and fifteen and eighteen and twenty, I believed I needed to get out there and do those things I had just been reading about, which ended in disaster, tears, a tattoo that scares me every time I catch a glimpse of it in the mirror, and the realization that some of us are meant for action, and some of us are meant to critique the pace of action in a book. I read primarily YA fiction as I have a rather hulking classroom library and a hundred high school readers to engage daily. Nothing makes me happier than coming to school and finding an impatient teenager waiting by my door to turn in a book and get another one just like it. I adore a good zombie, a medieval princess, or girl assassin (I would like them all in one book if you are a writer looking for some inspiration). I add historical mystery to my wish list a year in advance, and you should get out of my way when the next Outlander book comes out. I have an embarrassing fondness for rock star books, but only if they don’t get too trashy and embarrass me. My favorite book of all time is The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. My book boyfriends include Gilbert Blythe, Alonzo Wilder, and Jamie Fraser. They are mine and you can’t have them.

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