February 25, 2015
Lives at stake
Best Friends through Eternity
by Sylvia McNicoll
Fourteen-year-old Paige, in an attempt to avoid the school bullies, takes a shortcut across the railway tracks and is hit by a train. Suddenly, she finds herself on a sandy beach where she meets her former best friend Kim, who died seven years ago. Not willing to give up her life and wanting to help her current friend Jazz, who is also threatened by the bullies, Paige is granted seven days to fix things up and maybe change her fate.
McNicoll has tackled the afterlife conundrum previously in an earlier book, Dying to Go Viral. While the protagonist in that book tries to enjoy the time she has left and ensure that her family will be able to go on, Paige has to deal not just with saving Jazz, but with coming to terms with her own past. Abandoned as an infant in China and adopted by a Canadian couple, Paige struggles with her cultural identity and the knowledge that her parents haven't always been truthful with her. At the same time, she tries to be nicer to people; even to Vanessa, the mean head bully. Paige's efforts aren't entirely successful, so she needs multiple tries to get it right. Events culminate in one final, desperate scene.
Full of twists and turns that mirror the uncertainty of life, this is a heartfelt, emotional novel. Teens will readily relate to the strong, believable characters and situations that so many of them encounter in real life.
Highly recommended, this is one of McNicoll's best.