Life and Other Near-Death Experiences by Camille Pagán

51sSXG9MS2L._SY346_.jpgElizabeth Miller, Libby, has always had an overly bright outlook on life, but when she gets two doses of life-changing news in one day, she abandons her previous way of thinking for a tropical getaway. While in paradise, Libby tries her hardest to escape reality, but something is always standing in the way. Fate is determined to rear it’s ugly head when disaster after disaster lands. Will Libby discover the difference between living and having the perfect life or is it already too late? 

I read this book for the first time almost three years ago, not long after it was published and I loved everything about it. I was young and my taste in books was still changing. It offered me a new perspective that I had never read before and made me fall in love with reading all over again.

Now, I have read quite a bit more from a much larger variety of genres and age ranges. I am really nervous about going back to reread this book because I was terrified it would disappoint. While it was not as good as I thought it was the first time around, I have to admit that I still really enjoyed it.

There were a few technical aspects to the book that bothered me, such as word choice and pacing. But overall, the book was written nicely. It could have been written better, but I have definitely read worse. I was able to overlook most of the Pagán’s choices and still enjoy the storyline.

Libby was a character that I struggled to relate to in the beginning but she grew on me as the story progressed and I got to know her. She was quick-tempered and emotional. I love the way she handled the entire situation. While it wasn’t the most responsible, I actually found it extremely believable. It seemed a little dramatic, but with the two pieces of news that she was given, I think she was allowed to escape for a little while.

My biggest problem with this novel was Shiloh. I felt like he was a very flat character. Pagán did a good job of showing that he had a backstory and that there was more to him, but he still fell flat to me. His relationship with Libby felt extremely forced. The timeline did not bother me as much as the lack of real meaning behind anything that they did. I just wanted more depth, more emotion.

Overall I still enjoyed this book, but it was not nearly as impressive the second time around and part of me wished I hadn’t read it again so that I still loved it the way I once did. I do not give half stars, but I really wanted to give this book 3.5 stars. I had to think about it for a long time before I could decide if I wanted to round up or down. While there were several issues with it, I still really enjoyed it and I think that I just had too high of expectations going into it.

So I eventually decided to give it 4 out of 5 stars. I think it a great read for anyone who wants to try an adult contemporary.


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