Author: Alex Gutteridge
When Jess is knocked off her bicycle she finds herself at the gates of Heaven early – before her actual death date. Striking a deal with Darren, the angel of death on duty, she is allowed to return to earth to visit her friends and family, in invisible form, for five days. But saying goodbye is harder than Jess ever imagined, as she learns new things about her friends and family. And, when Darren offers Jess a last chance at life, she is faced with an impossible dilemma.
This book has been tempting me for a while and whilst not exactly what I expected it presents a fascinating insight into what might friends and family might go through when you suffer a life threatening accident.
Introducing Darren the Angel – he’s in a way our guide to Limbo – he’s the angel of death assigned to ensure that Jess makes it to the other side following her bicycle accident. He’s not exactly how I’d imagine an angel of death to be – he feels more like a guardian angel.
Unfortunately, he’s new to the job and made an administrative error, calling Jess to her death a little too early and by way of an apology allows Jess the opportunity to go back to life on earth – with one little catch – she’s invisible – and some basic but essential rules.
Oh – the rules – Darren does like to be a bit of a spoil sport – he is one for the rules. Rules that are designed to prevent problems further down the line – but a rule not to go back and visit family – but hard to swallow and go along with especially if it’s the last opportunity you’ve got!
Jess was a sweet character who clearly cared for her friends and in her absence from their life wanted to make sure they were OK. In going back to see them she found out things about their lives that she hadn’t really appreciated before like the way Kelly held it together for her family. Plus a secret or two she’d rather not know about!
I was surprised by how quickly Jess accepted her situation – firstly the administrative error and later by her not challenging her situation – my first thought would be ‘how can I stop this happening and wake up?’ Instead she took the situation in her stride – became invisible and headed back to the land of the living.
She visited the people she loved and found ways she could be helpful to their lives and those she encountered without them ever realising her presence. If anything I think she found her invisible days quite lonely.
Do look out for the homeless guy though – we never find out his name but the light relief he provides earns him this reviews special mention alongside Mrs Baxter (her real life Maths teacher) whose voice pops up from time to time to encourage Jess to do things she might be shying away from but really should be doing.
There was a side story which played an interesting role in the dynamics of the friendship group – I don’t really want to go into it too much but it was insightful to see how Jess handled the situation. And that’s all I’m saying!
Last Chance Angel wasn’t exactly what I was expecting – much more gentle, and I would have perhaps liked it more if getting back to life was more of a driving point – making the encounters with her friends part of that. However as it is – it’s a nice little story which asks the thought provoking question – what will happen when I’m no longer around!
Thanks to Templar for sending me a copy