I love to travel and I really love reading stories that take place in foreign locales. So, I was really excited to be send a review copy of Getting a Life, Even if You're Dead by Beth Watson. It is a ghost story set in Paris! What more could I ask for?
Publication Date: December 6, 2013
If you died, could you live with your regrets?
When Kendra’s mother drags her to a creepy Paris cemetery for work, the last person Kendra expects to see is Amber, her best friend who moved away three years earlier. Amber helped Kendra through a dark time, and Amber’s departure was just one more loss for Kendra. Amber was Kendra’s confidante but it turns out Amber failed to share her biggest secret: she was dead.
Amber never planned to disclose her true identity to Kendra, but a boy’s life is at stake. Amber is suddenly unable to connect with troubled kids and she needs Kendra to console Pierrot, a despondent boy who holds the answers to the suspicious death of his brother, Loic. Although Loic needs closure to cross over, the truth about his death might impact everyone’s future, including Kendra’s, since she has fallen for Pierrot, the mysterious boy and murder suspect.
But dead or alive, there is no going back…
The setting, a French cemetery. Kendra is a reluctant tourist having been dragged away for the summer by her mother because her father was going on his honeymoon to Disney World. Kendra’s mother is a photographer and she is on assignment in Paris to capture the images of the cemeteries. Feeling resentful because she had a plan to snag the perfect guy over the summer, Kendra finds herself in what she considers to be a creepy locale for the next three weeks.
Her relationship with her mother is practically non-existent as her mother is always jetting off somewhere in the world for her job and has dedicated little time to her daughter. Even in Paris, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, her mother can find no time for her. Although she has promised to take Kendra to some of the sights of the city, the promises are empty and go unfulfilled. Instead, Kendra is forced to accompany her mother to the cemetery daily and is ordered not to leave the grounds. Some vacation.
Things are looking pretty bleak until Kendra encounters an old friend she hadn’t seen for three years. Her friend, Amber directs her attention to a funeral taking place. Standing over the casket is a family of four and watching them brings back memories of Kendra’s grandmother’s funeral. The passing of her grandmother was a devastating event that rocked Kendra to the core. She fell into a fit of depression and it was only with Kendra’s help that she could move on with her life.
While Kendra is watching, the family moves away from the grave site leaving a younger boy behind. Amber tells her the boy died three days before and it was his funeral she was watching. Amber asks her to help the boy, Loic. His older brother, Pierrot, is falling into despair feeling guilty over Loic’s death and Amber is asking Kendra to help Pierrot so he doesn’t follow on the path to suicide.
The stage is set, but the story is not as simple as that. The story is told in mostly alternating viewpoints between Kendra and Amber.
We do come to find out that Amber is also dead and has been for as long as Kendra has known her. Amber apparently had a very miserable life and ended up committing suicide. Now, to atone for her sin, she helps souls who are in despair. Her job is to save those lives that are heading down the path towards suicide. Amber starts to question purpose. Since she only stays in a place long enough to save a person’s life, she has no permanency. She is constantly moving around and feels no connection to anyone. She realizes that she is lonely and if she is going to be spending eternity saving souls, she’d at least like some company to do it. That is when she realizes she is starting to fall for Loic and starts devising ways she can delay his moving on.
At first Kendra is a bit freaked out that she can see ghosts, but she agrees to try to help Pierrot, however, she must do so behind her mother’s back. Since she can’t really do much by staying in the cemetery, she must leave while her mother is occupied.
Pierrot seems tortured about his brother’s death. He is mostly seen with Loic’s dog in tow and it seems he knows something of Loic’s death. Kendra takes to following him and finally is presented with an opportunity to make contact while listening to him busk at a restaurant. Pierrot performs playing his guitar. Kendra strikes up a friendship with him, but soon realizes she might be starting to have feelings for him. Everything seems to be going well until Pierrot’s ex-girlfriend shows up trying to talk to him about Loic, but he won’t listen to her and turns away, becoming once more full of guilt and despair.
Loic is also in need of help. He believes he was murdered and he demands assistance in helping discover who murdered him. His prime suspect is his brother, but Loic can’t remember anything that happened that day. With the aid of Amber and Kendra, he tries to discover the truth. He can’t cross over until he knows how he died and who was responsible for his death.
Matters are complicated further when Kendra’s mother finds out she’s been lying and sneaking around Paris with a strange boy. All this puts further strain on her relationship with her mother. Add to that the pressure from Loic and Amber to help solve Loic’s murder and to help Pierrot, what’s a girl to do?
The review copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.