Title: The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare (Alex Wayfare #1)
Author: M.G. Buehrlen
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Release Date: March 4, 2014
One girl. Fifty-seven lives. Endless ways to die.
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.
But 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.
It 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.
Fifty-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.
And will stop at nothing to make this life her last.
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The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare is M.G. Buehrlen's debut novel that is a blend of time travel and romance. The driving force of the novel is teenage outcast, Alex Wayfare, as she comes to terms with ability to drop into her past lives. While the book is technically science fiction (by my reckoning), there is definitely a contemporary feel to the book, as Alex has to deal with things that many teens are faced with.
I was immediately sympathetic to Alex and her situation upon starting The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare. She is a bit of an outcast at school, though much of it is self-inflicted. Alex has fantastic abilities to fix things, yet she is very hard on herself and keeps herself closed off from the world. Add in her "visions" and bullheadedness about what she believes to be right, and you get a girl who is a favorite with neither teachers nor her peers. However, she has a very healthy and close relationship with her family.
The time traveling bit of The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare is unique, but I have a lot of questions about the ins and outs of how it was done. (Yes, a lot of it is explained, but I'm the girl who wants all of the nerdy details.) Alex is able to visit her own soulmarks as needed, but other people can descend into any of the soulmarks in Limbo. What I didn't understand is while soulmarks can only be used one time (except for Alex), how were the Descenders able to go back fix a timeline (so as not to change history) after they altered it.
There was some romance in the book, but it wasn't overpowering. It verged on instalove, but with Alex being an outcast, it was understandable. Alex and her fellow didn't have too many scenes together, but her feelings for him is what factored in to a lot of the decisions that she made. While I enjoyed reading about the two of them, I wasn't on board with the intensity of her feelings. In all honesty, I like the idea of Alex with another guy better, but I guess you'll have to read the book to see who I'm talking about.
All in all, The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare was a really enjoyable read for me, and I look forward to reading more of Buehrlen's work. The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare ends with a pretty huge cliffhanger, so I'll be reading the next book in this series for sure. I think teens will like this book, but it does have a lot of adult crossover appeal, too. But then again, there aren't many YA novels that don't. :-)
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About the Author
When she’s not writing, M.G. Buehrlen moonlights as a web designer and social media/creative director. She’s the current web ninja lurking behind the hugely popular website YABooksCentral.com, a social network for YA (and kids!) book lovers. The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare is her debut novel.
M.G. lives nestled away in Michigan pines, surrounded by good coffee and good books, with her husband and son and three furbabies. Say hello on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.
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To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an eARC of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.