Title: The Bodies We Wear
Author: Jeyn Roberts
Publisher: Knopf Books For Young Readers
Pages: Hardcover; 368
Release Date: September 23, 2014
Content Screening: Mild Violence
HDB Rating: 2 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who enjoy darker reads with twists and turns.
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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 biggest compliment that I can give The Bodies We Wear is that it starts strong. It truly does. The Faye I met on page one was electric. She was vengeful and strong. The initial world-building drew me in. The idea of Heam as a drug, especially as a whole drug culture, had me interested. Even the supporting characters caught my attention at this point. What was built up in the first few chapters was something that I wanted more of. Unfortunately, it never actually delivered on any of that.
I'll start with Faye, since this is her story. The entire plot hinges around the fact that Faye wants revenge. After being forced to take Heam as a young girl, we're told that she's lived the life of an addict since. That the only recompense, for her, is to kill the men who made her this way. Here's where things get a little fuzzy. First off, Faye doesn't act like an addict at all. Other than a few vague mentions of want, it doesn't seem to affect her at all. She goes to school, wanders the city, exercises daily, and I can't remember one point where her addiction really came into play. According to the story line, all addicts suffer horribly. Even if they quit, they still always want it. That just didn't come through.
Added to this, is the fact that Faye claims to want revenge, but (again) it just doesn't actually come through in the story. She says it, but there's no feeling that she means it. In fact, she spends most of this story feeling sorry for herself. It's a pity party for one, and Faye is the only attendee. I wouldn't have blamed her at all for feeling down. It's obvious her life has been tough. The problem is that she claims that revenge is her life. That if fuels her. I felt like there should have been more rage and purpose in her character. The way she's written makes her a tough character to believe in.
Then Chael came into play. In an effort not to spoil this for any potential readers out there, I can only tell you that this whole piece of the book was very odd to me. Writing fiction allows for a lot of rule breaking. I love that authors can build places where anything is possible. The only thing I ask is that you explain to me (even vaguely) how something is possible. In this case, Chael's very existence was just something that was assumed to be viable. Once I figured out his purpose, I was happy that this wasn't an insta-love story. Still, it opened up a whole new set of issues and questions for me. His character was okay, just confusing.
Which brings me to the ending of The Bodies We Wear. I was hoping that, despite the fact that I'd been feeling slightly off about this book so far, things would pick back up. I wanted Faye to get her revenge, wanted things to at least moderately tie up, and was hoping for some more explanations so that I could get my footing once again. Suffice it to say, this ending didn't meet my expectations. It wrapped up in a way that I just couldn't wrap my head around. For a story that started so strong, I was deeply saddened that it didn't stay that way. Great premise, but I just wanted more.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.