Getting a Life, Even if You’re Dead (No Going Back, Book 1) by Beth Watson is the next entry in The January Project, my one month effort to give authors reviews.
I love the title and cover for Getting A Life, Even if You’re Dead and I enjoyed a previous book by one of Beth Watson’s alter egos so picking this up on a Kindle free day was a no brainer. Two female leads narrate. Kendra isn’t happy about being dragged along on her mother’s trip to photograph cemeteries in Paris. How will operation get a boyfriend succeed if she’s not at home? Soon, Kendra has bigger problems in the form of her best friend, Amber. Amber (the other narrator) is dead and has been long before meeting Kendra three years ago. Amber implores Kendra to help her with two lost souls, one alive, Pierrot and one dead, Loic. Loic doesn’t remember his death, but blames his brother Pierrot. To help Loic pass on to the afterlife, Kendra needs Amber to navigate mysteries in a physical world.
Great concept, but something fell a little flat for me in the execution and I wish I could pinpoint the issue. From a technical standpoint, I have no quibble with the book. The plot buzzed along. The setting made me feel as though I were creeping around a Parisian cemetery and traipsing through the streets. The hook at the end makes me want to read the next book in the series. A number of pity one liners prompted my husband to ask “Why are you smiling?” All the elements are there. I think the hiccup for me was a failure to develop a deep relationship with the characters. It may be because I read this concurrent with the deeply emotional satisfying The Boys of Summer by Sarah Madison. The dual narrators may have thrown me for a loop. I only connected with Amber in the last few chapters. Maybe I’m too old to relate to this young adult/teen novel? Perhaps if I had dreamt of Paris or viewed it as a romantic city rather than one where I battled waves of tourists and couldn’t get service at restaurants, the story would have resonated more.
In my reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, I’ll go with a 4/5 although a 3.5 more accurately reflects my reaction. If my daughter is interested, I’d share this book with her. The story is wholly appropriate for the intended audience of later tweens and teens. I suspect the failings to fully enjoy this novel fall more to this reader than the author. Besides, due to that hook, I am looking forward to more of this series.
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