The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare – Alex Wayfare #1 – M.G. Buehrlen
For as long as 17-year-old Alex Wayfare can remember, she has had visions of the past. Visions that make her feel like she’s really on a ship bound for America, living in Jamestown during the Starving Time, or riding the original Ferris wheel at the World’s Fair.
But these brushes with history pull her from her daily life without warning, sometimes leaving her with strange lasting effects and wounds she can’t explain. Trying to excuse away the aftereffects has booked her more time in the principal’s office than in any of her classes and a permanent place at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Alex is desperate to find out what her visions mean and get rid of them.
It isn’t until she meets Porter, a stranger who knows more than should be possible about her, that she learns the truth: Her visions aren’t really visions. Alex is a Descender – capable of traveling back in time by accessing Limbo, the space between Life and Afterlife. Alex is one soul with fifty-six past lives, fifty-six histories.
Fifty-six lifetimes to explore: the prospect is irresistible to Alex, especially when the same mysterious boy with soulful blue eyes keeps showing up in each of them. But the more she descends, the more it becomes apparent that someone doesn’t want Alex to travel again. Ever.
And will stop at nothing to make this life her last.
‘The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare’ caught my eye almost immediately when I scanned the Strange Chemistry catalogue last year for the books hitting shelves in 2014. The story deals with some sort of reincarnation and time travel, which sounded fantastic to me. With the incorporation of the time travel we have a cross here between fantasy and historical fiction, which are two of my favourite genres. After the reading the book, I’m really glad I had the opportunity to get a review copy from the publisher, because it is a great debut that kept me up most of the night, reading.
I really liked Alex’ character. She’s very down to earth because she had to handle her ‘seizures’ from since she was a small child. She can take care of herself, but she has so much going on, that’s she’s actually quite lonely. Her sister is sick and this really eats away at her. The relationship she has with her sister really jumped off the pages. I felt strongly for her sister and I could almost literally feel the pain Alex felt when she looked at her sister.
Alex leads us through her first experiences with the travels to her previous lives, though she doesn’t really understand what it is that’s happening to her.
The first time we experience it with her is also the first time she stays longer in her previous life than just a few minutes like before. This is also the first time she meets Blue, the mysterious blue-eyed guy that keeps showing up in her previous lives.
Then this guy shows up that seems to know all the answers and knows everything about her. She’s very suspicious of this guy, but if she wants answers about these visions/seizures, she has to trust him to some extent. From him she learns how to control her time travel and she also learns that she is in danger and that he has been protecting her, her entire life.
I was a big fan of all the different, previous Alex’s that we met in this book. There are many more, 57 in total, as you might have guessed from title, but the once we met were all very diverse and full of surprises. Alex doesn’t remember anything about that particular life when she ‘lands’ in that body, so it’s always quite the adventure to find out what she did in that life and especially how she was.
I liked the system the author created. It wasn’t just random time travel or even just reincarnation, no, there is a whole story behind it, a purpose and there are rules.
The more we learned about how it is that Alex has this ability, the more I loved this book. It was so well thought out, it had such a good storyline. The ending was quite spectacular and unexpected that way, answering a lot of questions the readers might have had while reading about Alex’ life. In some sort of way it was also a cliffhanger, making me guess at what will happen next.
Alex Wayfare is one of the best YA books I’ve read so far this year. A strong debut, with a powerful voice and an immensely enjoyable story that sticks with you long after you’ve finished the book. Absolutely can’t wait for more work from MG Buehrlen.