Everlife #1. Author: Gena Showalter.
Tenley “Ten” Lockwood is an average seventeen-year-old girl…who has spent the past thirteen months locked inside the Prynne Asylum. The reason? Not her obsession with numbers, but her refusal to let her parents choose where she’ll live—after she dies. There is an eternal truth most of the world has come to accept: Firstlife is merely a dress rehearsal, and real life begins after death. In the Everlife, two realms are in power: Troika and Myriad, longtime enemies and deadly rivals. Both will do anything to recruit Ten, including sending their top Laborers to lure her to their side. Soon, Ten finds herself on the run, caught in a wild tug-of-war between the two realms who will do anything to win the right to her soul. Who can she trust? And what if the realm she’s drawn to isn’t home to the boy she’s falling for? She just has to stay alive long enough to make a decision…
The concept was good. It had all the components for a metaphor. Firstlife is only a preparation for death, when we enter the everlife… where millennium will be spent on one side or the other. The Main Character has held out in prison for months, refusing to be pressured into signing for one side or the other before she can decide which is truly right.
And then the advocates for the two sides showed up, and the story went into a screaming nosedive.
I can’t sign for the light, because I’ll hurt gorgeous boy #1! But I can’t sign for the dark, because then I’ll be on the opposite side from oh so handsome boy #2! Once agonizing over two inhumanly attractive boys has taken over up to or more than 10% of the plot (and believe me, this was about 70%) you know the story is doomed.
Sexual content: Various spoken innuendo. Two wardens walk in on prison girl half-dressed. Boy disguised as girl says “There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the equipment and getting a little some-some of my own goods and services. I’m so hot even I want a piece of me.” Character says she’s been propositioned by various guards, but won’t give up her virginity. One prisoner asks another girl if she’s sleeping with the headmaster. Character recognizes a guard, remembers his “Sixteen eyebrow winks, twenty-seven lewd grins, and three invitations to the party in his pants.” Character admits he slept with a girl while trying to bring her over to his agenda.
Language: 22 derogatory names, 6 scatological terms, 2 hell, 1 d***. Some rude handgestures.
Violence: Four men ambush two girls, are all knocked out. Hand to hand fighting between guard and prisoner. Character is tortured with serum, a scalpel, and simple hitting. Kids mob guards, kill them. Character kills another by stabbing in the neck. Character cuts a vital vein with scalpel in self defense. Brutal fist fighting in which bones are broken and men killed. Character cuts another’s throat with a scalpel. Multiple people killed by being shot.