Wednesday, March 11, 2020

REVIEW: Layoverland by Gabby Noone


Two teens, one stuck atoning for her sins and one destined for heaven, fall in love in purgatory in this darkly hilarious and heartfelt rom-com, perfect for fans of The Good Place.

Beatrice Fox deserves to go straight to hell. At least, that's what she thinks. On her last day on Earth, she ruined the life of the person she loves most--her little sister, Emmy. So when Bea awakens from a fatal car accident to find herself on an airplane headed for a mysterious destination, she's confused, to say the least. Once on the ground, Bea receives some truly harrowing news: not only is she in purgatory, but she has been chosen to join the Memory Experience team. If she wants another shot at heaven, she'll have to use her master manipulation skills to help 5,000 souls suss out what's keeping them from moving on.

There's just one slight problem. Bea's first assigned soul is Caleb, the boy who caused her accident, and the last person Bea would ever want to send to the pearly gates. But as much as Bea would love to see Caleb suffer for dooming her to a seemingly endless future of listening to other people's problems, she can't help but notice that he's kind of cute, and sort of sweet, and that maybe, despite her best efforts, she's totally falling for him. And to make matters worse, he's definitely falling for her. Now, determined to make the most of her time in purgatory, Bea must decide what is truly worth dying for--romance or revenge.
I've been looking forward to this book ever since I first read that premise! I didn't love this book as much as I expected to, but it still carries an interesting premise and it was a fun book!

After dying suddenly in a car accident, Bea finds herself in Layoverland, an in-between place that helps people move on to heaven. But Bea is not there to "move on", she's the new employee, meant to help other people move on, something she doesn't look forward to. Especially when she assigned Caleb, the boy who crashed into her car and killed her.

I love books featuring the afterlife, it's one of those premises that always interests me. Since no one could tell us what it's like, there are so many creative ways authors show it. I do think this book had a creative afterlife, a dingy airport way past it's prime. The mediocracy of everything reminded me of Sanctum, but in a more light-hearted way. Nothing was what you really wanted, but it was not terrible. I did wonder about the jello, though. Every food is encased in jello, which sounds like hell to vegans.

As for the plot, it was intriguing and I found myself quickly turning the pages, but it did not feel focused. The main plotline is that Bea wants to get revenge at Caleb because he killed her so she drags him along hoping to find something to tear him down. Of course, she ends up liking him, but it made the plot drag because she had no idea what she wanted to do. I kept turning the pages because I wanted to see the confrontation between them when Caleb realizes that he is why Bea is dead, but it takes a while to get there.

The book occasionally flashes back to Bea when she was alive. I liked the set-up, even if I preferred the afterlife. It helped show Bea's character and how she ended up in the afterlife. Supposedly, she is in the afterlife because she wasn't a great person, but we don't really see that in either the afterlife or in her life. She believes that she ruined her sister's life, but that was not directly her fault. She is opinionated, but she isn't a bad person, and I don't see why she has to atone for her sins (unless they just really liked her personality and thought she was great for the job). I didn't love Bea as an MC, but I didn't find her unlikeable.

I think it comes down to the fact that this is more rom-com than afterlife, though it is rom-com meets afterlife. I expected romance, but I didn't expect the romance to take up so much of the book. The first half is Bea plotting revenge, the second half they are running around kissing. It just happened too quickly for me and I grew tired of it.

The ending was great though. I was worried that the ending would be cliche, but it turned out to be completely different. It also made me less annoyed with the romance. [highlight to view spoiler] I honestly expected that Bea would move on right away, or Caleb would stay, or something would happen to force them together again. Instead, Caleb moves on and Bea stays (and it is perceived that she will be there for decades). This made it so that the romance was not "we will be together forever" and more realistic, so, yeah, it was a pretty good ending. [end of spoiler]

Even though I did not love this book as much as I hoped, I still enjoyed reading it. It was a great twist on the afterlife and it's a solid debut.

I hereby give this book
3 Stars
Meaning: I liked it

1 comment :

  1. From what you said, I think I would really like this. I was also looking forward to this book, but I was all about the rom-com.