Ana’s life is fairly normal for a 15-year-old. She goes to school, she gets good grades, she has friends, and a crush, but she can also remember her former life, as Emma.
Emma didn’t have such a normal life, and she did something, something bad, that still haunts Ana to this very day. So when Ana bumps into someone who Emma knew, her second life suddenly starts merging with her first.
The concept of My Second Life is really, very clever, and, having never read a book based around the idea of reincarnation before, I was intrigued to see how it would all work.
The plot itself is fairly simple, and the more emotionally-charged scenes are particularly well-written, but I did feel slightly unsatisfied by the ending. Faye Bird clearly wanted to focus on the emotional impact of something like this happening: how the people in Ana’s life and from Emma’s life are affected, and that for the most part is interesting and had me gripped, but I was left slightly frustrated over the decision not to explore why this reincarnation had happened. All the characters just seemed to accept that Ana was Emma-reincarnate and there was no real discussion about how this had happened, which came across as rather unrealistic. I understand that wasn’t the main point of the story, but it would’ve still been interesting to know, and, as it was, I felt rather let down that it wasn’t explored further.
The characters were interesting, although I did find it difficult to relate to any of them, and mostly just ended up feeling sorry for Ana’s mother, who a lot of the time was just left to accept that her daughter was acting uncharacteristically. Frances was a fascinating character, and I must praise how real her reactions felt. Out of all the people from Emma’s life who Ana met, Frances’ reaction to discovering Ana was Emma-reincarnate felt the most true to her character and, overall, Bird perfectly captured the character of a woman utterly destroyed by her past.
For the most part, this book was intriguing and even though I predicted most of what happened, it was still gripping and I did find myself desperate to read what happens next, but I also felt it didn’t quite live up to expectations.
This is part of a series of reviews I am writing leading up to YA Shot, a UK day-long convention celebrating Young Adult and Middle Grade literature, which takes place on October 28th 2015.
To read more reviews from authors attending the convention, click here.