The Bodies We Wear by Jeyn Roberts Review

Monday, September 8, 2014

Title: The Bodies We Wear
Author: Jeyn Roberts (Twitter)
Publisher: Knopf BYR
Publish Date: September 23, 2014
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi
Pages: 368
Source: Publisher

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?
There's nothing like a good old-fashioned story that involves revenge, love and death. Right? These three elements hold so much power that they're enough to ignite a plot from mere ashes and really get readers involved in a story. And, The Bodies We Wear, promises readers all that and more. With a subplot of revenge, a protagonist hell-bent on righting the wrongs done to her and her friend in the past and a sinister drug that seems harmless but creates havoc, it's the picture-perfect setup for a science-fiction novel. Author, Jeyn Roberts, reels us into a world that's dark and evocative, but eerie in its secrecy, luring us into the fold and leaving us wondering how we'll ever escape.

The Bodies We Wear, essentially, lays out the framework for a pretty powerful sci-fi novel that should, based on the synopsis, be action-packed and gripping. I found, however, that it felt a bit flat once I got into the story. Yes, that picture-perfect framework is there, and it's a pretty incredible setup for a plot, but in terms of execution, I felt that it lacked a little bit of the oomph that I'd really hoped for. From the beginning, we're shown a protagonist who has had pretty much every bad thing that could happen to her actually happen, and I really wanted to see Faye take the bull by the horns and seek out the revenge. And yes, essentially, she did. But the voice that we're given for Faye felt a bit hollow, and instead of feeling fervor and passion in her story, I just felt a bit humdrum about it all. I guess, in the end, it felt like I was being shown her story, rather than experiencing it through her eyes. 

In a novel like The Bodies We Wear, I also expect certain plot devices to be used to "throw us off the trail" so to speak. It's those elements that keep me turning page after page, hoping to uncover the true nature of the sinister secret within Faye's world. Unfortunately though, these little revelations felt predictable and inauthentic, which made the plot feel more disingenuous than powerful. And, then we have Chael, who is supposed to be this beacon of honesty in the story - the one that reveals those darker elements that we can't wait to find out. But Chael turns out to be someone that I didn't really expect him to be and, unfortunately, in a way that I felt somewhat threw off the sincerity of the novel. 

Overall, I loved the concept of Heam, the consequences of such a drug and the underlying religious implications of the drug, but it seemed as though the drug and the story played second fiddle to a dry and cloying narrative. Had I felt more invested in Faye's voice, The Bodies We Wear might have worked for me, but in the end, I felt more let down than anything else. I give it a 2.5 out of 5, and I recommend it to to those who enjoy YA, especially those who like lighter science fiction stories.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.


  1. I was looking forward to reading this book, but it honestly seems like I won't enjoy it. I'm not in the mood for a flat sci-fi novel at the moment. I'm sorry this was a disappointment, Melissa. Lovely review.

  2. What an interesting concept for a book—I hadn't heard of The Bodies We Wear before, but I'm totally intrigued. A sci-fi YA novel that deals with a weird drug? Count me in! It is too bad that the author didn't capitalize on her set-up as much as she could have, though, and that she didn't go as dark in tone as it sounds like the story should have done. It is a shame that you didn't like it super much, though. Such a great premise falling flat is always disappointing.

  3. The premise sounds so good and yet...a narrative that's not going to sweep me up and carry me away means I'm probably not going to read it. Sadness!

  4. I haven't heard of this one at all but that cover is so eye-catching and I know I'd have wanted to read this based on the premise alone. Still, the fact that it didn't live up to your expectations speaks volumes and I'll be steering clear of this one--thanks for your honesty, Melissa! :)

  5. Hmmm, I hadn't heard about this one before, but even if your review made me curious (as did the summary) not enough to make me want to add it to the TBR pile.
    Thank you for your great and honest review, Melissa!

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