[443]: The Bodies We Wear by Jeyn Roberts

Random House Children’s Books | Hardcover, 353 pages
Publication Date: September 23rd, 2014
Young Adult | Suspense
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Faye was only 11 years old when she overdosed on Heam; a drug that’s lethal to some and terrifyingly addictive. Forced to ingest a sufficient amount  enough to put her in a stasis on the verge of death, the drug didn’t live up to its name (Heaven’s Dream).  Instead, she saw hell. But before she closed her eyes, her tormentors made sure that she witnessed the killing of her best friend, Christian. Ever since then, and even at such a young age, she made a promise to avenge his death. With the help of a former cop who knew only too well the pain of such a loss, she trained under his tutelage to become a seasoned fighter. All the while, biding her time until she rids the world of those men who stole her future, and the life of the only person who’d ever shown her kindness and love in a world full of cruelty.

There’s not a lot of opportunities for people like her; people who’d overdosed on Heam. Society rejects them like the scum of the earth. They become pariahs.

For the most part, she’s kept her head down at school, and her grades close to perfect. She kept away from trouble; and trained with the tenacity and discipline like that of a veteran fighter. But no matter how careful she’d been to reveal her past, fate seemed to be determined to exact her more pain.

My first Jeyn Roberts novel wasn’t without expectations. I’ve known her writing to be dark; her story arches – different. I was prepared, to say the least. What I didn’t anticipate is how different the entire experience would be. For one, the world was set in an alternate universe where lawlessness was pervasive. Ruled by drug lords, dealers, and defeated authorities who’d learned to look away wherever injustices occur. For another, I was not entirely sure how to put this book in a proper classification. Was it paranormal? Thriller? Suspense? Dystopian? It was as elusive and thought-provoking as its ending.

Faye was a kick-ass character as much as fighting heroines go. But there were instances when she played the woe-is-me card way too much. It seems as though she spent way too much time psyching herself up; giving herself a pep talk before she goes on an avenging spree. Don’t get me wrong, a girl who can pick off a gang of weapon-wielding men with her bare hands one by one wins my vote for bad-assery. And Faye did exactly that. However, I thought that if you’re giving us a character who’s state of mind is on a perpetual must-kill-bad-men loop, I thought that it would be better to have made her a cold killer instead of one who unknowingly second guesses herself.

There are a couple of underlying social issues laced amongst the pages of this book. One is religion: Do you believe in the after life? Do you believe you can be saved? Do you believe in God? Another point is drug use. While the first was something that she’d left to the readers’ prerogative, the latter was a lesson hammered with an iron fist: taking drugs is bad.

The Bodies We Wear is such an appropriate title. It speaks of the masks we wear on a daily basis to get through the day. And while this novel also has some Body Snatchers undertones, I chose to believe that it has more to do with what Faye needed to do hide her real self.

Over all, I can see the appeal of Jeyn’s dark story-telling. This novel ended the way you’d expect from a writer like Jeyn. It was hopeful, but stingy in a way that it left the ending unresolved.

Thanks to Random House for the tour invite. 🙂