My Life as a Bench – Jaq Hazell

Ren Miller has died aged seventeen and yet her consciousness lives on, inhabiting her memorial bench by the River Thames in London.

Ren longs to be reunited with her boyfriend Gabe, but soon discovers why he has failed to visit. Devastated, she must learn to break through and talk to the living so she can reveal the truth about her tragic end.

Unique, haunting, and compelling, this is a story about love, friendship, a passion for music and what, if anything, remains after we’ve gone. – Goodreads.com

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher via netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

I was drawn in by the concept of this novel when I read the synopsis. A tragedy that results in a teenage girl, at the beginning of her life, having her spirit literally stuck in a bench? Weird and wonderful!

Unfortunately this novel left a lot to be desired. I found the dialogue between spirit is a bit stilted and uncomfortable, it didn’t read the same way that people speak. I always feel that dialogue in books should sound quite normal when spoken out loud but this unfortunately just didn’t feel quite right.

The relationships in general seems a bit too easy. Of course, being teens, there were conflicts, however I personally felt that Hazell’s idea of teen drama was a bit removed from what it actually is, and a little trivial. I know plenty of teens (connections through acting), both younger and older than the protagonist and I can’t imagine half of them having similar dramas or being so air-headed. It made it difficult to connect with Ren, which I was hoping to do.

There was a good amount of character development for Ren, though, who goes from self absorbed to a little more self aware and I did like the writing of her younger sister Alicia. Her mum and brother seemed to be offsiders who didn’t contribute to the story, just being background characters, in fact, the majority of characters felt like they were just there to fill a space. There was just a lot of… substance missing, nothing to grab onto.

I’ve not read any of Hazell’s other work, so I’m not going to judge all their novels based on this one, but if I did, I wouldn’t be inclined to pick up another of their books. I’m not trying to be negative at all, I do think this concept really could have gone somewhere interesting but it just missed the mark for me.

Have you read this or anything else by Hazell? What did you think?

 

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2 thoughts on “My Life as a Bench – Jaq Hazell

  1. You read it with the promise of an honest review and this seems pretty honest, so don’t worry about seeming negative. I think a lot of interesting premises are mishandled more often than not, unfortunately. I haven’t read any of the author’s work, but reading that their dialogue seemed stilted and unnatural doesn’t really bode well. Great review!

    Like

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