There Will Come a Time – book review

There Will Come a Time

There Will Come a Time is a touching and bittersweet novel, written by Carrie Arcos.

Mark knows grief. Ever since the accident that killed his twin sister, Grace, the only time he feels at peace is when he visits the bridge on which she died. Comfort is fleeting, but he feels like it’s almost within reach when he’s standing on the wrong side of the railing. Almost.

Grace’s best friend, Hanna, says she understands what he’s going through. But she doesn’t. She can’t. As her twin, Mark should have known Grace as well as he knows himself. Yet when he reads her journal, it’s as if he didn’t know her at all.

As a way to remember Grace, Hannah convinces Mark to complete Grace’s bucket list from her journal. Mark’s sadness, anger, and growing feelings for Hanna threaten to overwhelm him, but Mark can’t back out. He’s made a promise to honour Grace, and this is his one chance to set things right.

*

There Will Come a Time was another one of those books about grief and death, but not one that should be overlooked. This book is ultimately about what makes us the person we are, and that was really interesting to read about. This book poses the question: if you lose your twin, do you lose yourself? I liked seeing the journey the characters went on to try and figure out their place in the world again when someone close to them has gone. I think the fact that the main character is a twin and his twin tragically died was the real hook in this book. I’ve read a lot of books similar to this one now and without that, it would have felt slightly repetitive and unoriginal.

I liked how strong this book started off. It told me everything I wanted to know and sometimes and there was no mystery behind the events, which meant that it was easy to dive right into this novel and not be questioning things. I felt as though I was immediately a part of Mark’s world and I was enveloped in his feelings and thoughts. And while that was engrossing, it wasn’t always enjoyable. Let me explain. Being in the mind of someone like Mark – someone so broken by their loss – is a difficult thing to experience. We see first hand how he is feeling and what he is thinking, and that’s very confronting at times. His pain and agony felt incredibly real, but I’m grateful that this book was so raw and realistic.

There was a particular aspect of this book that reminded me of Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson, but definitely a lot more sad. Of course. Have you not read any books by Morgan Matson? You’re practically bound to read them with a smile on your face. So what I mean when I say it reminded me of that particular Morgan Matson book is that Mark discovers Grace’s journal and a list of things that she wanted to do that year. Then, of course, Mark and some of his close friends decide to do the things on Grace’s list in her honour. That was genuinely beautiful and I loved seeing how Mark wasn’t completely on board with the idea at first but he finally embraced the list and decided to live for Grace as well as himself.

Even though we didn’t know Grace at all during the novel, I felt as though I knew her by the end. Her little ‘to-do’s gave us insights into her mind and her notebooks filled with memories and raw thoughts made Grace feel as though she was still there and her voice was so present, even though she was not. But she was present in other ways and stayed alive in Mark’s memories and in the fun and scary adventures he went on in search of finding a way out of his anger and heal his heart. These adventures were the most enjoyable parts to read about because each time, I could see that Mark was starting to heal more and more and realise that him living wasn’t betraying Grace in any way and he couldn’t blame himself for her death.

Another thing I absolutely loved was the inclusion of an online group that was called ‘Twinless Twins’. They were all people who had lost their twins and they were reaching out to people in the same situation. I liked seeing Mark get to know these people more and eventually even meeting them in real life. They offered sage advice and really played a big part in Mark learning to move on from his past while still remembering and honouring Grace. And that’s one of the most important messages in this book – that your pain and suffering may not really end, but you have to hope that there will come a time when it lessens to a degree that you can live with.

There was so much about this book to love, even the tiniest of details. For example, I loved how unique Mark’s school was and how it was prominent in the storyline. Mark went to a performing arts high school, which was always alive and buzzing with energy. I loved seeing what went on there because I always wished I could have gone to one of those schools, and so it was like I was experiencing it through this book. And while this book is about death and grieving, it is just as much about life and learning to love it as the sad stuff. In my opinion, you can’t have either the good or the bad without each other and while the good stuff doesn’t necessarily soften the bad things, the bad things don’t ruin the good things or make them unimportant. Oops, I think I just quoted Doctor Who there. But I think that’s an important thing to remember and it’s something that Mark learns throughout the novel.

As well as getting to know Mark, I also really enjoyed meeting Hanna and Lily and Pete and Jenny and Sebastian and I felt like they all added something to the novel, as well as providing Mark with support and friends he could learn to trust again after shutting himself off from the world. While death is cruel and unfair, it is a part of life that we all have to learn to cope with and understand that we can and will make it through. All we can do is hope that given time, those painful memories will turn to warm ones, giving us nostalgic feelings which we accompany with a smile, not tears. But missing someone isn’t a bad thing. The love we have for that person is never gone from our hearts, we just learn to deal with the pain better. I’d give There Will Come a Time by Carrie Arcos a score of 9 out of 10. If you’re in the mood for a deep and touching book, I recommend giving this one a go!

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Australia for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review!

Afterworld – book review

Afterworld book

Afterworld is the intriguing novel, written by Lynnette Lounsbury.

After Dom’s untimely and sudden death, he awoke in the last place he thought he’d be. Stuck in Necropolis, a ‘waiting place’ between death and what comes after, Dom discovers that death is just the beginning. As the youngest person to ever come to Necropolis, he is different from anyone else. He’s instantly a celebrity. It isn’t long before Dom catches the attention of Satarial, a Nephilim planning on throwing Dom into his brutal gladiatorial games for his own amusement.

But when Dom’s still-living sister Kaide suddenly appears in Necropolis, everything changes. Dom realises that his only option is to compete in the Trails. There, he could win what he needs to go into the Maze and escape to the next phase of death. By his side, he has the alluring young Guide Eve, and a Guardian, Eduardo, who is hiding a big secret.

For me, Afterworld wasn’t a novel that really stood out from all the others I’ve read. Although the plot was interesting, the overall book wasn’t particularly great and the characters weren’t anything special. I liked the idea of this book being about what happens after death, but as soon as I saw the words ‘vicious gladiatorial games’ in the blurb, I immediately thought: Oh no. The thing is, I can be really fussy about what types of books I decide to read. If the blurb mentions anything about zombies, gladiators or it is set in the past; I am less likely to read it. I will admit that there are probably some really spectacular books out there that either have zombies or gladiators or are set in the past. Perhaps all three. Here’s a challenge: write or find a novel that is set in the past and includes zombies and gladiators. I’d be fascinated to read that! So anyway, when I saw the word ‘gladiatorial’, I immediately became doubtful about this book. I thought of gladiators fighting one another with swords in an old, falling down arena. Ummm… boring. But this book actually surprised me with the gladiatorial scenes. They were just so alive and I felt like I was actually there. However, for the whole middle part of the book I struggled to keep reading. I took a long time to get through this book because I just wasn’t enjoying what events took place in the middle. The one part I liked about this book the entire way through was the idea of using ‘minutes’ instead of money. People would earn minutes and pay with minutes. When one accumulated 10,000 minutes, they could attempt going through the Maze. It was interesting. I liked the beginning of this book and I liked the ending, I just though the rest could have been done a little better.
I think the main reason why I didn’t really enjoy reading this book at times was because of the characters. Dom was meant to be fifteen, but he was just so mature. I mean, mature teenagers are great… and rare. Both his actions and thoughts were so mature and I felt kind of detached from him. I would have felt more connected with him if his flaws were more prominent and he made more reckless, teenage types of mistakes. Also, Dom’s lack of emotions after he died was unconvincing. I think if he showed more emotion I would feel for him more. I really liked Kaide. She was fun to be around and made me laugh. I just really liked her personality and I loved how she’d see the good in every situation. I was really pleased she became more involved in the story towards the end. Although Eva was kind enough, I didn’t really feel anything for her and Dom as a couple. I never paused and though: Awww… they’re so cute together!  She was nice most of the time, but a lot of the time, particularly in the beginning, she was quite insensitive towards Dom. Seriously, Dom had just died and she’s telling him to stop being melodramatic? If I were Dom, I’d be screaming and crying and totally uncontrollable, which would probably result in Eva hitting me to get me to shut up. She just didn’t seem like the comforting type. Overall, there were some characters I liked and some that I didn’t, but emotions weren’t any stronger than that.
I liked the idea of this novel. It was interesting, but also kind of religious. It included angels and a God, which they called the Awe. I’m not really a fan of novels that are built on the ideas of religion. The author focussed on Christianity and biblical characters. I guess that without the idea of the Awe and angels, this book wouldn’t be what it is now. I partially liked this book and I was satisfied with the ending, but I won’t be reading it again in a hurry. I’d give Afterworld by Lynnette Loundbury a score of 6.5 out of 10.

Thank you to Allen & Unwin Publishers Australia for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review!