ARC: The Fifty-Seven Lives of Alex Wayfare by M.G. Buehrlen

Posted on 03/03/2014 in Book Review / 2 Comments

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC: The Fifty-Seven Lives of Alex Wayfare by M.G. BuehrlenThe Fifty-Seven Lives of Alex Wayfare by M.G. Buehrlen
Published by Strange Chemistry on 3/4/2014
Genres: Science-fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 287
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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For as long as 17-year-old Alex Wayfare can remember, she has had visions of the past. Visions that make her feel like she's really on a ship bound for America, living in Jamestown during the Starving Time, or riding the original Ferris wheel at the World's Fair.\r\n\r\nBut these brushes with history pull her from her daily life without warning, sometimes leaving her with strange lasting effects and wounds she can't explain. Trying to excuse away the aftereffects has booked her more time in the principal's office than in any of her classes and a permanent place at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Alex is desperate to find out what her visions mean and get rid of them.\r\n\r\nIt isn't until she meets Porter, a stranger who knows more than should be possible about her, that she learns the truth: Her visions aren't really visions. Alex is a Descender - capable of traveling back in time by accessing Limbo, the space between Life and Afterlife. Alex is one soul with fifty-six past lives, fifty-six histories.\r\n\r\nFifty-six lifetimes to explore: the prospect is irresistible to Alex, especially when the same mysterious boy with soulful blue eyes keeps showing up in each of them. But the more she descends, the more it becomes apparent that someone doesn't want Alex to travel again. Ever.\r\n\r\nAnd will stop at nothing to make this life her last.

This is the debut novel from M.G. Buehrlen, and she knocks it out of the park. I am completely hooked on this series!  My first thought when I finished was “when does the next book come out?!”.  It was THAT good – I immediately wanted more.\n\nAlex Wayfare – or Wayspaz, as the not-so-nice kids at school like to call her – just wants to be a normal teenager. She has cut herself off from everyone because of the “visions” that she has in which she is transported to other times and places without any warning. Even though no time passes in her current reality while she is gone, she does retain any injuries that she sustains during her travels, which can prove awkward upon returning.  After being abruptly pulled from a vision that she is desperate to get back to (to help a boy she met in Chicago in 1927), Alex finally meets someone who knows what is really going on. This man, Porter, is able to help her understand that her visions are real and that she has been reincarnated 56 times, for a very specific purpose. She is what is known as a Descender – able to access all of her previous lives, and he helps her learn the rules of doing so. I won’t spoil anything, but the how and why of this is much cooler than it sounds.  Soon, Porter has Alex going on missions through time, but things quickly get complicated.  The boy she originally met in Chicago keeps showing up in her various lives, and she also learns that someone has found out about her missions and is trying to put a stop to them.\n\nThe main thing that struck me about this book was how original and creative it was. I haven’t read anything else like it, and I think there is a lot of room to make a lasting series with it. The characters were also really likable. I was invested in Alex from the beginning and enjoyed seeing how she reacted in the different situations she found herself thrown into across time. I also liked her family, and I feel like there is more of their story to be told. Is there more to her scientist parents than meets the eye? What will become of her sister who is sick? As the first book in a series, this one did a great job of setting up the story and filling me with questions. I can’t wait to read the next one!

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Jessica’s addiction to books began at age 4, going on weekly trips to the library with her mom. After being a young fan of Sweet Valley High and The Baby-Sitters Club, she discovered the thrill of reading a book that made her want to leave the light on and check under the bed. Her all-time favorite author is Stephen King, but she will read just about anything! Jessica never leaves home without her e-reader, and considers it the best gift she ever received. Her other hobbies include running and going to Disney World as often as possible.

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