Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
I requested this book having no idea that it was a companion to Estelle Laure’s YA debut, This Raging Light. This book focuses on Eden, and what happens to her when she wakes up from a coma after the tragic accident at the end of TRL. Because it had been a year since I read the first book, it took me a while to clock on to the fact that I already knew who Eden was, to a certain extent, but what I loved the most was how both she and I got to know her better as the book went on, and as she discovered new meaning in life. But Then I Came Back focuses on some of my favourite things: ballet, mystery and contemplation of the afterlife. I’m fascinated by books that touch on these subjects individually, so to find one that fit them all together was delightful! Eden wakes up from her coma, after being in The InBetween. (It’s all very Lovely Bones and I was loving it.) While she was asleep (dead?) she saw what her family were doing, but also a girl she’d never seen before. Eden tried to communicate with her to little success until she woke up from the coma and discovered that the girl was called Jaz and in a room down the corridor from her in the hospital, also in a coma. Eden becomes attached to Jaz and wants to find out more about her, which is lucky because she stumbles across her best friend, Joe and gets to know him. Some of my favourite scenes in the book where when Eden and Jaz saw each other. It’s when the magical realism was at its strongest and the imagery was just *kisses fingers* magnificent.
For fans of This Raging Light, you also get to see what Lucille and Digby are up to, but they’re definitely taking a back seat to Eden and her troubles.
You can see it coming a mile off that Eden is going to fall in love with Joe. The two of them get close as they share what they know about Jaz and their opinions on all that happens after death. It’s a bit insta-love-y, but if you’ve just been in a coma for a month, I’m sure you’d fall in love quickly too. I really liked how they worked as a pair, and came from such different backgrounds without relying on the cliches that can come from the princess-girl and streetwise-boy relationship.
Eden was so interesting. The book is written in a journal-like format, and you get to see doctor’s notes and excerpts of the book about near-death experiences that she’s reading that really feed into her thought processes throughout. She’s witty and down to earth and despite all this happening to her, she doesn’t let the crisis become overwhelming. There are a few tears, sure, but her coma doesn’t alter her life goal…it just puts things into perspective. Compared to Lucille, I liked Eden a lot more and she’s definitely a character I’m going to be remembering for a long time.
If you like books that deal with heavy topics that have cool main characters that don’t brush off the seriousness of what they’re talking about, But Then I Came Back is the book for you. I couldn’t tell from the beginning where it was going to end, but I liked the journey a whole lot. Overall, I’m giving the book 3.5 stars, and a glowing recommendation!