by Carrie Mac
Phoenix lives in a world where science has advanced enough to be able to give people a second chance at life. Actually, a lot of people get four. Depending on what class you are, you can be brought back to life up to three times, provided your death was an accident. Phoenix has had two accidents already. She is jealous of her superstar athlete brother, Gryphon, who has never died.
Until one night he does. The circumstances of his death are mysterious enough that the governing body has ruled his death a suicide, and are refusing to bring him back. But what really happened? Phoenix is determined to figure out what really happened to her brother.
I had high expectations for this book, because I think Carrie Mac usually skillfully weaves her social conscience into her books, and her stories are usually very creative. I liked the idea of the society Mac painted in this book, but I did not particularly enjoy any of the characters. The writing was even less likable than the extremely shallow characters. Everything was revealed so awkwardly in the beginning, with characters basically saying “I know you’ve told me this already, but let’s hear it one more time for the readers’ sake.” When the mystery starts to unfold, the only action keeping the story going Gryphon’s friends telling Phoenix that she will have to wait for them to tell her. Mac also tries to bring “issues” into the book, but it’s done more didactically than an after-school special from the 80’s. A mulligan in Mac’s career, but hopefully she’ll be up to Droughtlanders-level quality with her next one.
Set in British Columbia, so BC teens may enjoy it for the setting. Fans of dystopian books may enjoy the premise.