Thursday, January 21, 2016

And Again

And Again
Jessica Chiarella

Published January 2016

First Sentence
"Maybe it's like being born."

Publisher's Description:

In the spirit of Station Eleven and The Age of Miracles, this exciting literary debut novel imagines the consequences when four ordinary individuals are granted a chance to continue their lives in genetically perfect versions of their former bodies.

Would you live your life differently if you were given a second chance? Hannah, David, Connie, and Linda—four terminally ill patients—have been selected for the SUBlife pilot program, which will grant them brand-new, genetically perfect bodies that are exact copies of their former selves—without a single imperfection. Blemishes, scars, freckles, and wrinkles have all disappeared, their fingerprints are different, their vision is impeccable, and most importantly, their illnesses have been cured.

But the fresh start they’ve been given is anything but perfect. Without their old bodies, their new physical identities have been lost. Hannah, an artistic prodigy, has to relearn how to hold a brush; David, a Congressman, grapples with his old habits; Connie, an actress whose stunning looks are restored after a protracted illness, tries to navigate an industry obsessed with physical beauty; and Linda, who spent eight years paralyzed after a car accident, now struggles to reconnect with a family that seems to have built a new life without her. As each tries to re-enter their previous lives and relationships they are faced with the question: how much of your identity rests not just in your mind, but in your heart, your body?

Dear Reader,

This was a unique read. I'm a science fiction fan and I love books that can delve into that genre without being TOO much sci-fi (if you know what I mean). This was kind of like that except it didn't go far enough, I'd categorize it as "Literary Fiction with a dash of Science Fiction". What was nice about the whole thing is that this book is one I can definitely see myself recommending to those readers trying science fiction out (pretty perfect for that). The story is all about this exclusive group of people who have been selected for a trial (think clinical trial) to test out being uploaded into a clone body. Each of the characters had a reason to be selected (some terrible illness) and each got a new purpose to live. How they decided to run with it was their own.

I enjoyed getting to see all the perspectives of what would/could happen if you had a second chance to live your life. Each one of them was on the brink of such a terrible illness that this chance should have been entirely positive. That was not the case. What would happen if you got downloaded into a new body? Would you enjoy the youthful new skin or would it freak you out? The Author does an excellent job going over all the little nuances that might come up if/when this type of procedure comes about. We have the Artist who can't paint the same way... is it her or the new body? What about the woman who was stuck inside her body for years with no way to communicate except for blinking... how can she cope in the world after all that time shut up? Or the actress who wants to make a comeback after being hidden from the world from her illness... will she be able to pick up where she left off? The most complex of them all being the Congressman, the one who gets picked or did he buy his way in? So many questions and the Author addresses them each.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves to read "what if" tales... this fits into that category perfectly.

Happy Reading,

P.S. - Thank you Netgalley and Touchstone for giving me the opportunity to read and review this title. 

And Again

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