There are no spoilers in this review.
Layoverland, Gabby Noone
Two teens, one stuck atoning for her sins and one destined for heaven, fall in love in purgatory in this darkly hilarious and heartfelt rom-com, perfect for fans of The Good Place.
Beatrice Fox deserves to go straight to hell. At least, that’s what she thinks. On her last day on Earth, she ruined the life of the person she loves most–her little sister, Emmy. So when Bea awakens from a fatal car accident to find herself on an airplane headed for a mysterious destination, she’s confused, to say the least. Once on the ground, Bea receives some truly harrowing news: not only is she in purgatory, but she has been chosen to join the Memory Experience team. If she wants another shot at heaven, she’ll have to use her master manipulation skills to help 5,000 souls suss out what’s keeping them from moving on.
There’s just one slight problem. Bea’s first assigned soul is Caleb, the boy who caused her accident, and the last person Bea would ever want to send to the pearly gates. But as much as Bea would love to see Caleb suffer for dooming her to a seemingly endless future of listening to other people’s problems, she can’t help but notice that he’s kind of cute, and sort of sweet, and that maybe, despite her best efforts, she’s totally falling for him. And to make matters worse, he’s definitely falling for her. Now, determined to make the most of her time in purgatory, Bea must decide what is truly worth dying for–romance or revenge.
- One of my favorite things about Layoverland was its originality. This book has been marketed “for fans of The Good Place” and I feel like this is a perfect thing to say. I found again the afterlife setting, I found the sarcastic, witty, fun and intriguing kind of story we get in the show, just as well and I loved it.
- I really loved the idea of the book and its execution, too. The world-building wasn’t overly complicated and yet it made sense. It was fun to follow and really unique, I feel like you could write so many fun stories set in that universe.
- Bea was one main character you take a little time to get accustomed to, but once you do, you can’t help but love her. She’s hard hearted and wearing an armor around her feelings, she’s sarcastic, witty, funny and sometimes a little too stubborn and annoying, yet I grew fond of her and loved seeing her grow as the story went on, too.
- Bea is surrounded by other characters I equally enjoyed. I really liked Caleb, he was soft and sweet, caring and sometimes a little clueless, but I loved him. I loved getting to know him better, his flaws and weaknesses and really grew fond of him, too.
- Another thing I liked was the presence of friendship in the story. It’s not really the main focus of it all, but I loved Jenna as a character and how, slowly, she grew on Bea despite their differences and awkward first interactions. I also loved Sadie, another character and Bea’s mentor and her enthusiasm.
- Layoverland has strong elements of family, too, as one of the main focuses of the story is on Bea and her relationship with her sister Emmy. I loved seeing their strong bond, the way they interacted and fought, I just loved the closeness of their relationship and how important it is to Bea, too. I’m all for great sisters’ relationships in stories.
I HAD A HARD TIME WITH…
- I just feel like it ended a tiny bit… quickly? I feel like the wrapping-up part of the story was a little too quick to happen. I would have liked a little more resolution, especially with the sisters’ stories.
If you’re a fan of The Good Place, or if you’re looking for a unique, original kind of read, I’d definitely recommend Layoverland. Witty and unique, this book was a really promising debut I devoured and I can’t wait to read more from the author.
Final rating: 4 drops!
A million thanks to Penguin Random House International, Razorbill and NetGalley for the e-ARC of this book. This did not, in any way, influence my thoughts and rating.
Trigger warnings: car accident (narrated), death, cancer (leukemia), mention of abortion, blackmail.
Diversity: half Mexican-American main character (Caleb), POC main character (Sadie), Asian secondary character (Wayne).
Did you read Layoverland? Do you want to?
What was the last really original book you’ve read? Let me know in comments!