Author: Sarah Schmitt
Genre: YA Fiction
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Year of Publication: 2015
Main Character: RJ (2/5)—this girl is a spoiled brat who only has a few shining moments of humanity. Too bad it takes death to bring out the best her, and only then because she’s angry.
Secondary Characters: The secondary characters were enjoyable enough, but very one-dimensional. The only ones that were developed were Madeline and Daniel.
Pacing: It takes about over one hundred pages for her to even go back in time to the moments she has to fix. Up until then, the whole book is just banter and arguing between ethereal pious beings. The moments she relives go by quickly before the angels of the afterlife resume their bickering again.
Accuracy of Publisher’s Synopsis: There was a heck of a lot left out. The portion where RJ actually gets to relive a few moments of her life (AKA the premise of the entire book) makes up a relatively small portion.
Resolution: I can’t even say how annoyed I am by how this book ended. Had I liked RJ or the story more, it would have really upset me.
The Good: At least RJ does exhibit some personal growth during the moments she revisits. If not for those moments, I may not have finished this book. I enjoyed a few of the characters, mainly Madeline, Daniel, and a couple of the angels. It was lighthearted, despite the subject, and was good for a few laughs.
The Not So Good: I can break this entire book down into about four events. The first hundred pages consist of her arriving in heaven and causing an unprecedented upheaval with her diva fit. The next handful of chapters consists of real plot in which RJ appears to learn the difference between right and wrong. Then we’re right back to an obnoxious court case. **Spoiler Alert** Then RJ spends a few chapters being dropped back into her old life for a total of one day. **End Spoiler Alert**Seventy percent of this book is just banter and arguing between fictionalized versions of religious figures.
When I read about some of the things RJ had done, I could understand perfectly why hell was an option for her. Some of the things she did, while not illegal, were definitely immoral. If I had to read one more time about how RJ wasn’t “the person [she was] meant to be,” I was seriously going to chuck this book at the wall. To top off the circus that was this storyline, the justification for RJ’s return to her life rests on her influence on someone who will eventually cure cancer. Really? There is literally nothing more clichéd or less cool than using the cure for a terrible disease as a plot point. And did I mention how terribly disappointing the ending was?
Overall Impression: This book was a misguided attempt to satirize the proceedings of the afterlife. In actuality, it was equal parts ridiculous and boring.
Would I recommend it? I wouldn’t really recommend this one if you’re looking for a meaningful, serious story. It would, however, be a perfect waiting room read if you’re in need of distraction.