On August 1, Lauren Miller’s new YA novel was released by Three Saints Press. The book combines serious health issues with a discussion about our immortal souls for a story that has depth and character.
Jessa Gray was a mess before the accident, living with paralyzing panic attacks and trying to cover them up with a pretty façade. She lives to be normal, dating the popular guy just to fit in. When she finds out he’s cheating, she has an attack in the car and ends up in a serious accident. Now her muddled outsides match her insides. Because of the wreck, Jessa is covered in scars and can no longer see anything in her mind’s eye. In response, her regular vision amps up and she starts seeing scars, gashes and bruises on other people. Are they just hallucinations based on her brain injury or do they have a deeper meaning? When Jessa moves in with her father, she starts making new friends. What will they think of her ability and can she heal emotionally?
Jessa was a broken character but she grew a lot as the story went on. Not just from meeting Marshall, but on her own as well. She was there for her friends as their lives went wrong and grew from that love. The story itself was great up until the last few chapters. While the twist was interesting, I saw it coming and then the story took on a bit of a preachy tone that I didn’t enjoy. It suddenly went from a philosophical contemporary YA to a Christian contemporary YA read. I thought it could’ve been handled a little more delicately to be spiritual without diving directly into Christian territory. I feel like it alienates those of other religious backgrounds because there’s no hint that this plot line will be introduced from the book’s summary. We’re just kind of blindsided.
If you don’t mind a sudden Christian backdrop, this book is excellent. It’s emotional and the characters are well thought out. I just wish we had been given a bit of warning before the last few pages. The transition didn’t seem smooth.
3.75 out of 5 stars