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In LAST CHANCE ANGEL, 14-year-old Jessica Rowley is life-threateningly injured in an accident but gets a last chance to say goodbye by Darren, the designated Angel of Death.
Not a YA read!
I tried my very best to like this novel and I really wanted to, but it is sort of obvious that this is neither adult nor young-adult literature but rather aimed at an audience aged about maximum 12.
The writing is very simple and therefore it is insanely easy read, but the content is nothing that intrigues me personally. This is by no means a judgement saying that this is a bad novel or bad writing, but just not what I'm looking for personally.
I was very excited about the story being about someone that's on the verge of death, just like in Gayle Forman's "If I Stay". I was stoked to get another chance at exactly this scenario, hoping for a bit of romance and finally a near-death-experience novel that doesn't drip with cliche. Well. In general "Last Chance Angel" is pretty much the toned down version of "If I Stay", no even remotely questionable topics, you could probably read this to a five year old without having to worry.
When I think about it the story idea also reminds me of Lauren Oliver's BEFORE I FALL, but without the Groundhog Day aspect. A shame, really, because I love novels like this. This is essentially a Middle Grade read, there is no sex, no violence, no swearing, therefore exactly what some people might look for and won't find in novels like "Before I Fall" for example.
Personally, I jsut missed these aspects and I couldn't identify with a 14-year-old, which just massively impacts whether I enjoy a novel or not. Her thoughts throughout the novel are simple, revolving around the same topic and very naive. Given the fact that the novel highly relies on internal monologue and is told from Jessica's perspective, that's all we get as readers.
Where's the teenage drama when her crush gets snogged by a friend? Where's the angst? Where's the hysterical obligatory I-Don't-Want-To-Go meltdown?
It's just a very frustrating read for someone that can not identify with the main character. Gutteridge did a good job at drawing her characters in general, though - I got the notion that her characters were planned thoroughly. I'd rather had read about the story from her brother's perspective or one of her friends though.
Overall: Do I Recommend?
Genre: YA / Paranormal / Ghosts
"A poignant, bittersweet story of friendship and family
When Jess is knocked off her bicycle she finds herself at the gates of Heaven early – before her actual death date. Striking a deal with Darren, the angel of death on duty, she is allowed to return to earth to visit her friends and family, in invisible form, for five days.
But saying goodbye is harder than Jess ever imagined, as she learns new things about her friends and family. And, when Darren offers Jess a last chance at life, she is faced with an impossible dilemma."