In this YA paranormal romance, a teenage girl has just a few weeks to live—and now a handsome stranger needs her help or he’ll die too.
“I know how I die. I know when, too,” says Cassidy Jordan; not because she’s ill or suicidal but because she just knows, which isn’t the only unusual thing about her. Cassidy lived before, as an actress named Anna Merrick. That life had to end early due to a cosmic accident, but because The Life-After was beautiful and calm, she didn’t want to leave. As her supernatural helper, Noah, explains, though, first Anna must become a “second-timer,” reborn with a task to complete: help Riley Davis, 19, to have the life he was meant for. Then she can die and return. If she fails, Riley will become a second-timer after death instead of staying in The Life-After, and Cassidy will simply die and disappear with no afterlife at all. Helping Riley, however, requires Cassidy to open up—difficult because her first life left her with a “dead spot” inside that makes her avoid getting close. Riley, too, has grief issues. Noah advises Cassidy to nurture her spiritual energy and connection to The Life-After through meditation and yoga, but the countdown clock is ticking. Can Cassidy open up in time to save Riley and herself? Farwell (Rock Star’s Girl, 2015) writes with verve; for example, in reply to a flirtatious, open-ended question from Cassidy, Riley grins wickedly, saying, “Choose your own adventure.” Cassidy’s situation is both sympathetic (orphaned at 6, lonely, soon to die) and enviable—she’s beautiful, owns her own home in the Hollywood Hills, was accepted into Harvard, and easily charms Riley, who has his own place above his parents’ recording studio. While Farwell’s New Age–y eschatology may not resonate with all readers, Cassidy’s task is actually an age-old romance classic: “It’s your job to help him open his heart again,” Noah says. This notion could bear more scrutiny because girls tend to do the emotional heavy lifting in relationships.
Appealing characters and a warm, sparkly love story tinged with wish fulfillment.