Review | The Bodies We Wear by Jeyn Roberts

A streetwise girl trains to take on a gang of drug dealers and avenge her best friend’s death in this thriller for fans of Scott Westerfeld and Robin Wasserman.

People say when you take Heam, your body momentarily dies and you catch a glimpse of heaven. Faye was only eleven when dealers forced Heam on her and her best friend, Christian. But Faye didn’t glimpse heaven—she saw hell. And Christian died.

Now Faye spends her days hiding her secret from the kids at school, and her nights training to take revenge on the men who destroyed her life and murdered her best friend. But life never goes the way we think it will. When a mysterious young man named Chael appears, Faye’s plan suddenly gets a lot more complicated. Chael seems to know everything about her, including her past. But too many secrets start tearing her world apart: trouble at school, with the police, and with the people she thought might be her friends. Even Gazer, her guardian, fears she’s become too obsessed with vengeance. Love and death. Will Faye overcome her desires, or will her quest for revenge consume her?

2.5 cupcakes

Having read and enjoyed Dark Inside and Rage Within, I was really looking forward to reading The Bodies We Wear. Its Kill Bill vibe and promise of delicious revenge drew me in, and while it delivered on some levels, I was left feeling fairly underwhelmed.

I loved the dark, gritty world that Roberts created. Although Heam’s origin wasn’t explained very much, it isn’t difficult to imagine its existence or why it would appeal to a significant portion of the population – a drug that allows you to glimpse Heaven for the price of dying momentarily is quite an interesting concept.

At first, I was intrigued by our protagonist, Faye. Her anger was all-consuming, so I was really interested to see how her self-destructive pathway to revenge would play out. Unfortunately, despite her constant reminders of how much of an amazing fighter she was, Faye wasn’t really that much of a badass. She spends the majority of the story pitying herself (which was understandable at first, but then began grating on my nerves) or fawning over the mysterious Chael, leaving much to be desired in the actual “revenge” aspect of The Bodies We Wear. Also, for an individual who has been exposed to Haem, she didn’t seem to suffer any of the side-effects that the other addicts did – aside from the scarring, that is. She barely spoke of her addiction and managed to attend school on a regular basis, all of which should have been impossible, given the way that Haem had previously been presented. Despite this, I did enjoy her transformation over the course of the novel as she learned about forgiveness and the power that it holds; I just wish that she had lived up to the Lisbeth Salander comparison.

The romance is where The Bodies We Wear really went downhill for me. The “mysterious” Chael (whose identity I had pieced together within the first ~50 pages) admits to stalking Faye, yet he’s gorgeous enough that it’s acceptable. It wasn’t the best first impression, and their interactions over the course of the story felt forced and unnecessary.

Overall, The Bodies We Wear had a strong start but it wasn’t quite what I was expecting (or what it was marketed as), leaving me fairly disappointed.

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