Author: Jeyn Roberts
Series: Bodies We Wear, #1
Released: September 23 2014
Publisher: Knopf BfYR
Lenght: 368 pages
Source: Publisher for review
A streetwise girl trains to take on a gang of drug dealers and avenge her best friend’s death in this thriller for fans of Scott Westerfeld and Robin Wasserman.People say when you take Heam, your body momentarily dies and you catch a glimpse of heaven. Faye was only eleven when dealers forced Heam on her and her best friend, Christian. But Faye didn’t glimpse heaven—she saw hell. And Christian died.Now Faye spends her days hiding her secret from the kids at school, and her nights training to take revenge on the men who destroyed her life and murdered her best friend. But life never goes the way we think it will. When a mysterious young man named Chael appears, Faye's plan suddenly gets a lot more complicated. Chael seems to know everything about her, including her past. But too many secrets start tearing her world apart: trouble at school, with the police, and with the people she thought might be her friends. Even Gazer, her guardian, fears she's become too obsessed with vengeance. Love and death. Will Faye overcome her desires, or will her quest for revenge consume her?
The Bodies We Wear is my first book by Jeyn Roberts (although I own several) and I’m thrilled to have discovered an author with such a wonderful, strong voice. The story is in many ways deeply philosophical – it gives us plenty to think about as we put ourselves in Faye’s shoes and try to imagine what it would take for us to survive in her world.
Faye’s character is far more complicated than it first seems; the depth of her anger and need for revenge all-consuming. As we learn more about her past and the horrendous episodes she had to survive as a child, the same rage starts building within us, until vengeance becomes all we can think about. Faye is very mature in some ways, being forced to grow up at the age of eleven, but in others she is so obviously a teen with poor impulse control. The Bodies We Wear is essentially about her finding balance and learning to live with the mistakes from her past, mistakes made by others that she had to pay for.
Roberts’ worldbuilding is simple, but excellent, the type that has no trouble convincing us and transporting us right in the middle of things. Although no scientific explanation is offered (and none is necessary), it is easy to imagine a drug like Heam in our own future as well. Heam is a drug developed in Switzerland by overzealous college students which kills its users for a short time, offering them a glimpse of heaven. People who wouldn’t even consider taking drugs normally can’t resist seeing the pearly gates, and the fact that the drug is highly addictive and very likely to kill them permanently doesn’t factor in at all.
The pacing is a bit of an issue, especially around the middle, and things were a bit repetitive at times. The romance was also a bit formulaic and completely predictable, making me wish that Roberts had chosen to leave it out. Other than that, the book was thoroughly enjoyable, a bold and very dark read that still manages to leave us with a smile and a full heart.
The Bodies We Wear is a very somber story, but in the end, our hearts are full of hope for Faye and her world. No matter how dark it seems at times as we suffer with Faye, she allows us to grow with her as well, and through her we find optimism we never expected to feel. I recommend this book to fans of thought-provoking reads and great characterization. The ending is well-rounded, which will make waiting for the next book much easier, if GoodReads is right and there is a second book in the making.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.
Thanks to the lovely people at Knopf Books for Young Readers, we're giving away a hardcover copy of The Bodies We Wear. The giveaway is US/CAN only. Good Luck!
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