- Layoverland by Gabby Noone
Noone, Gabby Layoverland. Razorbill, 2020 [320p] Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-9848-3612-0 $17.99 E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-9848-3613-7 $10.99 Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 7-10
After seventeen-year-old Bea is killed in a car crash, she finds herself in literal purgatory, an airport where dead folks with existential baggage from their mortal life wait until Memory Experience attendants can help them face their issues and free them to move on to Heaven. Bea was actually headed to Hell, but the people upstairs are giving her one more shot as part of the Memory Experience team, and she's got to help five thousand souls move forward to the Pearly Gates before she can too. Unfortunately, one of her first cases is super cute Caleb, who (unbeknownst to him) caused the car accident that killed her. With the right mix of bitterness and [End Page 219] authentic vulnerability, firecracker Bea narrates with focus shifting between her current in-limbo exploits and her last day alive, when an accidental betrayal on her part led to a heartbreaking fight with her sister. The romance with Caleb is sweet, but it's this sibling relationship that gives Bea her depth, and her side-eying and hilariously biting comebacks are tempered by her real grief and loss over her sister. The book wisely keeps Bea's story unresolved even as Caleb moves forward—after all, she's still got four thousand plus souls to help out, and readers can rest assured she'll do so with her own acerbic style.