My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is such a difficult book to review, not because it’s a difficult book, but because the subject itself – and the feelings the book provokes – are hard to explain.
I’m not sure if it’s aimed at a Young Adult market but, if it is, I think it’s going to be a wonderful way for them to be gently eased into dealing with death not only as a concept, but the after effects on peoples’ emotions when a loved one dies.
It also works perfectly fine for adults too! It’s an interesting narrative, a tale which is better to be experienced without knowing what’s coming next, so I won’t be spoilering anything about the actual plot.
I found it took me a good quarter of the book, until around the 35% mark before I would say I was actually enjoying reading it, rather than just reading it because I had an ARC from the publishers.
But, once I clicked with the story being told, I couldn’t put it down, staying up until 3am this morning to finish it because I had to know what happened to Wallace and the rest of the gang in Charon’s Crossing Tea Shop.
It’s a beautiful book, it’s one which makes you sit and think, not only about what might come after death – although this isn’t a religious book by any stretch of the imagination – but also about how we live our lives.
What regrets would we have if we suddenly found ourselves in a way station on the way to whatever comes next? How would we deal with any unfinished business we might have?
It’s also funny, Tj Klune does have a real talent for making you laugh while ripping your heart out at the same time and at its heart, it’s about love.
I won’t lie, the dedication made me get a bit teary and, like TJ, I really hope the late, and wonderful author Eric Arvin woke up in a strange place and that it might have been somewhere a bit like this…
How much of this book is directly related to Erik’s death I don’t know, but I think it will be a cathartic read for anyone who’s had to deal with the grief of losing a loved one, whether it be suddenly or not.
It’s beautifully written, as is anything from this author, and it carries a wry appreciation that the very things which make us human are also those which we may overlook until it’s too late.
#ARC kindly received from the publishers TOR via NetGalley in return for an honest and unbiased review