Monday, September 26, 2016
Review: For This Life Only by Stacey Kade
A young man struggles to move forward after the death of his twin brother in this gripping, coming-of-age tale about loss, redemption, love, and the moment you begin to see the world differently.
Jacob Palmer died for three life-changing minutes.
And when he woke up, nothing was the same. Elijah, his twin brother, is dead, and his family is broken. Jace’s planned future is crushed, along with his pitching arm. Everyone keeps telling him that Eli’s in a better place, but Jace isn’t so sure. Because in those three minutes, there was nothing.
Overwhelmed by guilt and doubt, Jace struggles to adjust to this new version of the world, one without his brother, one without the certainties he once relied on. And then Thera comes into his life.
She’s the last girl he should be turning to for help.
But she’s also the first person to truly see him. ~ Goodreads
Source: Borrowed from a friend/purchased
I’m a lucky reader to have TWO Stacey Kade books released in one year (and within 1 month – the other being the NA title, 738 Days). I adore her writing and love the fact that she’s expanding into different genres and getting into some heavier topics like rape and grief – all handled with the same deft touch as her Ghost and the Goth and Paper Doll series, which are lighter in tone – yet still have a lot to say about society and relationships.
In For This Life Only, Jace is the rebellious *bad* twin, dealing with the death of his brother Eil, the *good* twin, in a horrific accident that also left Jace dead for 3 minutes.
As the son of the local pastor, Jace has to hold in his complicated feelings about the loss of Eli, the guilt he feels, believing that his parents wish it was him who died instead, and the fact that he didn’t see anything when he died. Appearances matter to his father and you can’t have a son questioning his faith or show a pastor's family unable to handle it’s problems to the other parishioners.
For This Life Only is a beautiful exploration of faith and grief. Don't be put off by the religious aspect. It is a strong and complicated factor in Jace’s relationships but it's very well done - respectful but not overwhelming or preachy.
There's a small subplot about his father’s church that I didn't love (I wish the focus stayed on the family) but I do see how it tied everything together and moved things forward in the end.
For This Life Only reminded me a bit of This Side of Salvation by Jeri Smith-Ready - another story that tackled grief and religion very well.