Book Review: My Life as a Bench by Jaq Hazell

 

Title: My Life as a Bench

Author: Jaq Hazell

Publisher/Date: Nowness Books 2nd May 2017

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.

 

I received this copy from the author for an honest review.

When Jaq Hazell contacted me about reviewing her new YA novel, I felt compelled to say yes based purely on the absolutely bonkers title. I must admit, reading this one on the London Underground secured me a remarkable number of bemused glances – My Life as a Bench –  sounds thrilling!

Initial skeptism aside, this novel was surprisingly good and provided a unique take on life after death. Seventeen year old Ren Miller is dead, her soul living on in a memorial bench by the River Thames in London. Here she meets Lionel, a fellow spirit inhabiting an adjacent bench, and an unlikely friendship grows between the pair. As Lionel provides a listening ear, Ren spends the long days and nights reminiscing the weeks leading up to her death. Through these memories, the reader meets a series of characters that may, or may not, have played a part in Ren’s untimely death.

Although the ending was satisfying, it didn’t provide the shock factor it could have. I also didn’t feel invested enough in Ren as a character to care all that much she was spending the rest of her life as… a bench! However, props to Jaq Hazell for pulling off such a hillariously unique premise.

My Life as a Bench will leave you questioning what, if anything, remains after we’ve gone.

Rating: 3.5/5

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