Book Jacket

 

rank  Editors Pick
word count 107429
date submitted 14.08.2011
date updated 30.04.2013
genres: Fiction, Literary Fiction, Children...
classification: universal
complete

The Library of Living

Jessica Jade Burton

When teenager Ben Bailey dies, he finds himself in an old library, in which the books detail his choices for reincarnation.

 

The Library of Living is about fourteen-year-old Ben Bailey, who is tragically killed by a taxi.
He wakes up in an old library that is full of books which detail the people and animals he can return to Earth as.
However, all he cares about is whether or not he will be able to see Anna Lawson again, his childhood companion and sweetheart.
The story takes the reader through the lives of Ben and Anna, how they met and became best friends.
Whilst Ben is getting to grips with the contents of the library and three spirits he meets there, Anna has to come to terms with her life now and a future without Ben.



 
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tags

afterlife, bereavement, death, family, friendship, life, love, relationships

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300 comments

 

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Kim Padgett-Clarke wrote 857 days ago

Hi Jessica

Sorry it's take so long to get round to reading The Library of Living. I was an avid reader in childhood and my teens and I would have loved to read a book like this. The theme of the story is great with the elements of love and the after-life running through it and the confirmation that even death can't break the strong bond between people we love. Pain has that theme too so I know where you are coming from! You portray the feelings between Ben and Anna beautifully and really capture their heartbreak at losing each other superbly. I am sure we will see your novel in the ED in the very near future. Six well deserved stars.

P.S. reading your bio your own upbringing would make a fascinating novel in itself!

Kim (Pain)

Robert McCracken wrote 876 days ago

Really enjoyed reading Library of the Living, Jessica. Although it is written for children and is written about children it reads like an adult's book. It's thought provoking, it's heart-warming and emotional. Re-incarnation is a fascinating concept that fires the imagination. The library idea is brilliant with endless possibilities for Ben. I can see how Mitch Albom's book has inspired you and yet Library of the Living is a valid story of its own, just as powerful and every bit as touching.
One small point, and you might have considered this already: As far as I'm aware publishers like to know what age group a children's novel is intended. This will have an effect, perhaps, on the themes within your story. Just a thought f you're intending to submit to publishers. I know. for sure that my daughter would have gladly read this as a twelve-year old. She'd probably read it now and she's twenty-three.
best wishes,
Robert

junetee wrote 861 days ago

Hi Jessica, this is an amazing book you have written. I thought I'd check it out.
The pitch is intriguing, and the title brilliant, along with the collection of ideas that make up 'the library of Living'.
The first chapter grabbed my attention immediately. I know this is a book meant for Yound adults, but I found myself carried away in the story.
Great characters, described with warmth and accuracy.
Top marks for your imagination, you share it with the reader with your beautiful descriptive writing throughout the first three chapters I read. Maybe minor editing required, but it was still it was a pleasure to read.
I give it 6 stars and I hope it will reach the editors desk very soon.
(I will back it in the next few days when I rearrange my book shelf.)
Junetee(Four Corners.

Johnny Appleseed wrote 861 days ago

How do the mechanics of the afterlife work?

Jessica Jade Barton's book "The Library of Living" gives her vision of what that final frontier looks like.

The book begins with an exchange of letters between Anna and Ben, two teens who are--or I should say "were"--deeply in love. Ben has died tragically and finds himself in the Library, missing his Anna, wanting to reassure her that he is fine. The Library is a place where souls come to find their next lives on the world. Ben has 30 days to find that next life, and he wants desperately to find something that will bring him close to Anna. One caveat though: He will not have any prior knowledge of his past life.

The story moves to a series of flashbacks showing the growing friendship and emergent love between the two children. I don't want to give too much away (to those, like me, who like to read comments and reviews before reading the narrative), but these flashbacks serve the story well, providing important characterization for both protagonists. Though the pace, at times, slows a bit, I did not get impatient. I wanted to get to know Ben and Anna.

The most interesting character, I believe, is Mrs. Vine, the librarian. Part grandmother, part teacher, she is a Mentor to Ben's Telemachus. I immediately saw Helen Mirren in this role. Mrs. Vine is a complex woman. I really liked her.

It has been suggested that this story is a teenage "Ghost." Perhaps...but to me it seems more like "What Dreams May Come"--an afterlife of familiarity and the option to go back and start over.Though Burton's story ends somewhat sadly, I cannot help but to think it ends rightly.

With a good revision to rewrite "telling" scenes into "showing" scenes, and to clean and clear up some of the language, "The Library of Living" will definitely grace the shelves of bookstores in the future.

I highly recommend this book.

Trularin wrote 321 days ago

Well done, but you already know that.

I gave it stars.

Tru.

stearn37 wrote 348 days ago

Hi Jessica
well done on getting to the Editors desk.
You are onto a winner here, i showed the book to my partner yesterday and she loved it.
I am sure your review will be superb.
Cheers,
John Stearn
Author of Derilium.

liampatrik wrote 356 days ago

Hi Jessica - have just made it through the first chapter, but wanted to say what a phenomenal idea this is, and how well you've executed it - well done! There are aspects to the Library that remind me of the book warehouse in Shadow of the Wind.... while different scenarios, they both present books as more than human creations, but pieces/gateways/smidgens of human (or other) lives.

Your have a good balance between writing poetically and cutting to the chase - this chapter is pacey, without skimping on some nice descriptions and character sketching. Ben and Anna seem very alive (err, even when when they're not.....!).

There were a couple of points where I thought you could provide little insights as to his thoughts on rapidly changing circumstances - for example, what triggers Ben into thinking/realising that he's dead? The awareness strikes him suddenly, but I'd love to know how that realisation dawns - it would be an incredibly weird thing to suddenly think. Was he primarily nervous, happy, etc. etc? Also, when he first entered the building, he becomes aware that he'd been there "before he was born" - that, too, is an unusual conviction to have (though we all feel deja vu!) - how do you think he'd feel to come upon such a bizarre certainty?

Hope those little thoughts make some sense - really compelled what what you've done, and will definitely keep reading! (and backing)

Cheers,
Liam - "A Eurasian Diary: From Hong Kong to London by Train, Bus & Lada"

stearn37 wrote 357 days ago

Hi Jessica
Congratulations on getting this great book to the editors desk.
Can't wait for Harper Collins to publish it, which they will. I will be first in the queue to by it for my daughter.
Cheers,
John Stearn
Author of Derilium.

David Blackdene wrote 359 days ago

Well, normally I hate fantasy...However, I love this. In the same way that I love 'Always' the Hollie Hunter/Richard Freyfuss film, or 'It's a wonderful life'....I love the simplicity of it all. For me, this story, be it fiction, is totally feasible....Why not? 5 stars and backed happily. I've only read 3 chapters so far, but sometimes that's all it takes. Dave

Edward Gardner wrote 360 days ago

Had this book on my WL for a couple weeks, as the premise sounded intriguing, so I'm glad I'm finally getting the chance to read a couple chapters of it.

Loved Chapter 1. The letters between Anna and Ben got me feeling sad - indeed the whole first chapter is told in a way that made me hover somewhere close to being sad. It is the presence of Mrs Vine that dramatically lightens the reality of Ben's death. I loved her question "How was that life for you?" It made me smile to think of this nice old lady who's seen it all, yet who is still soft-hearted enough to shed tears when she hears another sad story. In Chapter 2 I liked the way she takes the time to sit and talk to Ben, and we have the chance to hear about how he grew up in a divided family and how meeting Anna changed his life. Perhaps the fact that my mother was a children's librarian makes this scene extra good for me - I can see her sitting with one of her students, listening to them in this sort of observant and encouraging way.

Good luck with your story,
Edward

Alan Porter wrote 363 days ago

Hi Jessica

I have only read the first four chapters so far, but what I see I like a lot. You have a fantastic idea, and you carry it well. I like the very matter-of-fact way Ben dies, and realises he's dead. Your idea to open the book with letters to set the tone is brilliant, and I like the (unusual) device of breaking chapters with subheads denoting the scene. Not sure a publisher will like it, but they should!

The library concept is also a strong one, and I will read on to see how he emerges...

The only thing I'm not wholly convinced about is the shift in perspective at Chapter 4. In Ch2 you have the backstory narrated by Ben, but later it comes through your authorial voice. Both work, but maybe not in the same book... so close together. I'll need to read further to make final judgment. (At least I still want to read further!)

There are a few grammatical issues, which I'm sure have been pointed out before (things like punctuation after direct speech fragments, and the need to begin each paragraph of direct speech with quote marks), so I won't rehash them all here. Suffice to say, you are very near ED so it might be worth sorting these things out before you get your big chance!

And I hope you do get that chance. You have a unique voice, a unique perspective on a novel idea, and you deserve to be read. I don't read much of this kind of book, but having wasted time on the dreadful 'Lovely Bones', I wish you had been published first. Your handling of the issue of the limbo of afterlife is vastly more convincing and entertaining.

Alan

junetee wrote 364 days ago

This is a very unusual and imaginative book. I read it a long time ago and I had to read it again. I love the idea of the library being the place that we choose the life we have next. You have written this beautifully and have captured the emotions and created almost a heavenly scene amongst the library, with the books and the woman. Good luck.
junetee
Four Corners + Pillars of Sand

Sheena Macleod wrote 364 days ago

Library of Living

Jessica, Oh, what a lovely idea - thirty days to choose your next life- I like it.
This book should be very will received. Well written and thought through.
Read up to 4. Mrs Vine is lovely - I was intrigued to see Ben had been in the library before- the sense that life goes on. A very comforting idea.

High starred already and no wonder.
Good luck with the ED.

High stars from me.

Sheena
The Popish Plot

Teb Danner wrote 364 days ago

Jessica.

I will read it chapter by chapter and comment that way.

"You didn't want a replacement dad..." I don't think you need this sentence. It lost momentum for me when i came across...You blocked me out as a reader. You said it perfectly, then you said it openly. (If that makes sense.)

You are setting up a hero/mentor relationship. (archetypes) between Ben/ Anna

I like the different shades of vulnerablity between the two: Ben and Anna. I like that they have few regrets.

The moment everything changed....

It is strong in its simplicity. Innocent and fresh.

The previous dialog of letters sets up this scene perfectly. The exuberant eyes. It manages the tone of voice. The covered eyes and tickle. It is really nice.

Black Taxi.

Like how the bike is tied to Ben and his fathers unresolved issues, and that feels connected to this crisis.

I like the use of public spaces. I can summons up images with your simplistic contrasts. I can see sunsets in puddles next to the the old museum. Mine is a library but at the drop of a hat. I have turned it into a museum. I think the secret is in your consistent tempo and unhindered style.

The narration is so clear. It is feminine and dependable. For my mind it works well. In a society where there is so much noise and distraction this works and doesn't demand too much or overwork my attention span. It allows me to look around to what else is in the room with Mrs Vine.

Nice.

Teb

elspbeth wrote 368 days ago

I have read a few chapters - very creative & beautifully written. Best of luck!

TBOBM wrote 368 days ago

Hi, this is my second attempt at leaving you with my opinion of the book, the first is lost somwhere in the ether.
This type of book is not something I would go out of my way to read, if I hadn't read it I would be the poorer for it.

Superb colouring brings out an imaginative plot, I am a faithless person, and yet you somehow managed to lift my spirit with your words.The target audience for this work will be inspired, but any human soul that reads it will be touched. Brilliant!
Artistic, in touch with nature,and full of promise, the story takes you through an adolescent love story, family relationships and death, the book is sensitive and compelling. Good Luck with it and future endevours.

PS. Authonomy rating system is not something I personally use, so don't bother reading my work on here.

Regards Nicholas David Evans

YvonneMarjot wrote 369 days ago

This is beautifully written. I found myself immediately sympathising with Anna and Ben. Of course, I already know that libraries are special places in this life, so it didn't surprise me to find one taking central place in the next.

There are a number of places where you would benefit from judicious punctuation editing. For instance:
'you didn't want a replacement Dad: you wanted your own Dad.' (Added colon).
'don't be afraid to talk to people. Your speech is perfectly coherent.' (Split 1 sentence into 2).
I would suggest that you stand and read your work to yourself, out loud. Your voice will fall into natural pauses, and these are the places where you should add or amend punctuation. it doesn't matter so much whether you use commas, semi-colons or full stops, so long as you're confident you've identified the natural pattern of short or long pauses.

Of course, you may use eccentric punctuation or speech patterns to indicate the personality or age of your characters, and that's perfectly fine. But general narration needs to flow in the reader's mind, and this happens best when punctuation is fairly standardised.

This book thoroughly deserves its current high status, and I hope you are able to find a publisher. I'll be watching out for it in future. Best wishes, Yvonne.

TBOBM wrote 369 days ago

A truly remarkable and inspiring read, the plot is coloured to perfection with obvious artistic talent. Not a genre I would have picked to read, but if I hadn't, I would have been the poorer for it.
The intended audience for this work will be enthralled, I am a person without faith whose spirit was lifted by the plot, to be able to be so emotive with the written word is a talent to be proud of. I would definitely reccomend this work. PS let me know when your next book is about to come out.

jrapilliard wrote 370 days ago

I have just backed your book
If you've got time, please have a look at mine, Penrose - Princess of Penrith.
Best wishes,
John.

Thanuj Dilshan wrote 378 days ago

Hi Jessica,
The Library of Living is a great read. I love the beautiful relationship between Ben and Anna; it reminds me of my childhood friendships. Best of luck!
Thanuj Dilshan.

Kestrelraptorial wrote 383 days ago

The story of how Ben and Anna met really is sweet. I love how they play together, and their curiosity. Where Ben remembers what being a new spirit was like is really cool. What’s interesting is that I think people do sometimes have dreams of what other lives may have been like, and sometimes they feel oddly familiar. The spirits’ wonder at what the Earth and their new universe is like

Michelle Richardson wrote 384 days ago

Jessica, I have been meaning to read this book for weeks and I'm so pleased that I did.
I could connect easily with the story as I am a big fan of children's fiction and also have a teenage son.
The bond between Ben and Anna was outstanding and acheived with so few words.
I am sure this will be a precious addition to many real bookshelves in the very near future, but for now I am backing it on my virtual
Michelle - 43 Primrose Avenue

Pamela Crabtree wrote 385 days ago

Hi Jessica, I'm putting you back on my bookshelf to give you a final boost! I loved this book and hope it's published.
My kind regards, good luck!
Pamela Crabtree.
'The Severed Cord'.

MagentaHead wrote 386 days ago

You have a great story here and I love how you've handled the subject matter. Very well written, I hope it finds a wider audience since this is something that both adults and children would love.

Chris

The Fantastic World of Sean Cleary

Roo Parkin wrote 387 days ago

Hi there,

What a delicious read, Jessica. I love the way you set the scene with the letters between Ben and Anna, Ben's realisation that he is dead (including the bus and the library) is skillfully drawn and I adore Mrs Vine and the whole reincarnation thang. Brilliant.

‘..why family tickets and hot cross buns always come in fours’ is a delightful observation.

I do have a few nits, but I am only elaborating on them because you may well be on the ED at the end of April, and you will want your ms to be in the best shape possible.

‘The man seemed conceited’ – doesn’t sound quite right. Maybe something like: 'There was something conceited about the man. Perhaps it was the way he ran his fingers though his hair and checked his reflection, twice'.

‘...man who looked like a brown toad’ – tell the reader how he looks like a brown toad. It just sits there as a statement with no back up.

‘He always late’ typo (can't recall exactly where, soz - ch2 or 3?)

‘..clutching dads clammy hand’ typo – apostrophe required for dad’s

‘much like the invisible wall she had built to protect herself’ – superfluous, more powerful without it - maybe just emphasise the wall a bit more, perhaps that it was ‘really high’ or something.

Playmobil and my Little Pony - I always think references like this (of which I am COMPLETELY guilty of making) are a bit too culture bound. if My Little Pony hadn't ever been a big thing in the reader's country, they wouldn't know what you were talking about. Perhaps you have only referenced things that you know were a global sensation - I just think it's safer to keep these kind of things a bit more bland.

Anyway, none of this detracts from the story, and I have awarded you very high stars. You are on my w/l - I am intending to read about 10 books and to then decide who to pop on my current 2 shelf spaces.

Lots of luck with this, Jessica.

Roo

MatthewBrenn wrote 387 days ago

Jessica,

I like your writing style, compact and almost terse. I haven't read enough to say if I like the book itself, but I have bookmarked it and will get back to it.

Good luck, you should make the Editor's list this month.

Matt

MC Storm wrote 394 days ago

I read the first two chapters and was engrossed with the story. Poor Ben poor Anna. All he longed for was his dad's affection, so very sad.
The dialogue works prefectly and your characters are real. I really like Mrs. Vine whom you describe so well. She wants for Ben to find Anna again.
Well done and high stars!
MC
Exposed

sherit wrote 394 days ago

Hi Jessica,
I guess I've been buried beneath a rock because I just discovered your book. And since you're at number 8 it's clear you don't really need my help or comments, but I do have a space on my WL, so if that would give you a bit of a cushion while you're on the ED next month (let's be positive here!), I'm happy to do that. I was looking around the top rated books to see what might be interesting to read and scrolled through until your book caught my eye. I agree with an earlier comment that although this is written for YA audience, grownups can thoroughly enjoy it too. Being the mom of two teenagers, I was so saddened by Ben's death...silly aren't I? But I cared about him immediately. I've read the first three chapters and hope to come back to read more. From what I can tell you thoroughly deserve the high ranking and I wish you all the best. I'll star you and put you on the WL for now. Best of luck, dear.
All the best,
Sheri Emery / Crazy Quilt

DJ-Gargoyle Chronicles wrote 397 days ago

Library of Living – Review
Nice start with a letter to the dead… and a return, but we know the plot, so do I just stop now? Only kidding… makes me want to know where you are going, so well done. And the ending makes you want to turn the page so excellent opening.
A few minor quibbles, take in or ignore what you like, it’s your stuff and I can only suggest.

Chapter One:
(Her descriptions of Ben – eyes etc were lovely, but would someone actually write that. I know you used the letter to show us Ben, but it was a little too authorish… it felt like you writing and not the character.)
“… that Pete bought you(,) but I could…” – () indicates missing punctuation or word
Check instances of the word BUT – in most cases there should be a comma before and in most cases you don’t have one. Found this all the way through.
Love the inclusion of song lyric, I do that a lot, you might want to footnote that though
Not sure he would be in the shape of a star, I imagined him being quite crumpled and flung about. But ignore me.
Red inky pool – lovely piece of writing.
Sun setting was also nicely done
Library description also nice.

Chapter Two:
Love the fact that this is not linear
“He (WAS) always late…”
Mum as superhero line was nice and subtle!
Like the childlike memories when he first meets Anna
“I didn’t like what he heard..” – I think the HE should be an I
Sweet ending to this chapter and nice story of the children, but I think you must have more up your sleeve…

Chapter Three:
“… book spines were stacked so highly…” – ‘so HIGH’ is sufficient here.
“… petals to home it in…” – I think, ‘petals to house it in…’
Nice back story here, especially of all the planets etc. I wonder how many religious people you might have upset with your theory, but I think it’s nice… almost an Aboriginal or (I Think) Hindu afterlife, but fantasy… very nice and very easy to read. The style is passive, but it adds to the sombre nature, so I think you have found the right approach.

Chapter Four:
Its novel how you swap between chapters of reflection and chapters of afterlife.
Not sure I like the POV here. In chapter 2 the boy was telling his own story and now we are hearing from the writer’s POV… hmmm. It is a good story here, but less personal than it had been. Still undecided if I like the change… still reading…
His mum’s a bit of a clean freak – no wonder his folks split up!
The description of his dad’s flat was vivid.
“If there was an alien stood on…” – should this be standing, or is this a colloquial thing?
Wendy house – love that term, only heard it just recently. Know what it is, but still not sure why it is called that.
Oh, pop tarts – we don’t get those anymore…! 
“… at the hospital she worked at…” – at the hospital where she worked… I think this is a cleaner way of saying this.
Still not sure about the change of perspective, but the story was well drawn to this point… I need some reflection time and then I will be back. Feel free t ignore any of this or all, if it helps I’m glad… love the premise though and still wondering where you will take me which is the thing, isn’t it!

:DJ

My2Cents wrote 399 days ago

What a great idea for a story! I've always prescribed to the idea that we may come back as something else but it's a clever twist to allow the person to chose. The story was written so well and it seems so polished. Well done!
Ken Spears

Vithereader wrote 400 days ago

I'm backing this because I believe you have tackled an amazing subject for a children's book, and have achieved something great. Well done!

Chris 1 wrote 400 days ago

You create an interesting setting for your characters and so a different angle to tackle the themes of love, yearning, grief, growing up. It's an enchanting way of showing how young people relate to each other. BACKED

Firebrat wrote 403 days ago

Hi Jessica

I've started to read your novel so it's early days with it .The concept is unique so far as I can tell in children's literature and maybe fiction in general. The celestial library of possible lives is a strange enough idea to stick in the readers' memories. Very few works of fiction spend time in a realised afterlife. Offhand there is "The Lovely Bones" but that's about it. You've taken a bit of a risk separating the two sweethearts from the beginning but the reader will be following the story to find out if, and in what form, their relationship will ever be resumed.

So, your story has a gripping start and I will be interested to see where the narrative goes after the set up of the first chapters.

There area couple of points you may want to look at; Ben sees portraits from the Tudor era; it might be handy for the reader to know how he identified them. The second is when Ben tells us "Diane laughed uncomfortably." The observation sounds more like an adult's than a teenager's. Minor points, I know. I look forward to exploring more of the Library.


Regards

Firebrat

C W Bigelow wrote 404 days ago

Backed til you get the prize. Good Luck! CW

Allisonsarah16 wrote 404 days ago

Jessica This story is beautiful. I was in tears reading about Bens mum and his funeral, it made me think of my 14 year old son dying. It makes much more sense to me, I am much more a believer of life after death and I would like to think you are pretty close with this. I Loved it best of luck and high stars. Allie (Loved and Lost)

CJBowness wrote 405 days ago

This is absolutely lovely - beautifully and gracefully written. Ben's emotions are described with such delicate sensitivity that it brought tears to my eyes even in Chapter 1. I have backed this at once and given it six stars. I shall defintely come back to it.
CJ Bowness
The Accidental Adventurers

R. Dango wrote 405 days ago

Coming back to read what I had started reading 8 months ago. I love library and I am secretly (though not anymore now) fanatic about after/before lives so I would never pass this book if I saw it in a book store, or a library.
I wish there was a library like this one in real life near my town. Maybe there is, but people are hiding it from me….
I won't make any comment about writing or anything. I don't feel qualified for it, and I think it is a very easy read.
I hope it'd be published quickly.

R

DCHedlin wrote 407 days ago

Jessica. I have read the first few chapters of your story. It's an intriguing concept that permits the reader to access options in an afterlife dream world. I have a few questions. The most important part of the story is the relationship between Ben and Anna. It seems to me that that is where you put most of your energy. You have Ben's point of view, and sometimes Anna's point of view. While there are interesting things about both Ben and Anna that bring them together, there is something undeveloped in your exploration of each. You provide details for each, but there is a generic feeling about their characters. For instance, Anna is introverted, and builds walls that Ben seems instantly to understand represents the wall she has put around herself. The reader expects some intriguing things to develop that might explain Anna's character, and all that comes is an act of rudeness regarding her lisp, which I doubt would explain - I hope it alone doesn't explain - a girl who might have layers in her character that the reader will discover through the story, just as we are being taken physically from one part of the library to another, discovering its layers. The same goes for Ben. He has a broken family, but I'd like to think that his character, his attraction to Anna, and their deep feelings at a young age, have a more curious, complex origin than a simple marriage breakup. His death so early is important and has a real impact. One wants that impact deepened. That can be achieved only if he grows in the reader's mind, becomes a more profound, unique, interesting character, as any character must be if he is central to a gripping story. It's not as clear as it might be what drives Ben except for generalized feelings of disappointment, shame, curiosity. You've created a triangle of sorts: Ben within himself (and his environment), Anna within herself, and Ben and Anna together. I like what you are doing, but the story won't be as successful as it certainly can be if it hangs mostly on feelings - Ben's, Anna's, and the ones the reader is supposed to have.

A second question is regarding proofing. You will want your story to succeed on the ED, so it should be a bit cleaner. There are issues with punctuation - commas missing, or present where they shouldn't be, mixed success with semi-colons - as well as occasional redundancies within sentences. (I wish Authonomy had an in-line editing feature). There are places where your use of quotation marks should be looked at. Times when you open with a quotation mark, but don't close. Or you switch between quoted conversation and internal thinking, though they sound much the same, and it's not entirely clear to the reader that it isn't just a mistake with quotation marks.

A third question is regarding the physical setting. The street, classroom, library with its maze and stonework, the farm. These are all very good ideas. I think you should take more time - not necessarily more words - honing your artistic vision of them, how they look, sound, feel.

I apologize if my comments seem unnecessarily critical. I believe you have a very interesting story. You have a vision. You have an affecting writing style. You have received very nice comments from many others along that line. I want to be constructive. If you have any questions, please contact me. If there is anything in particular you'd like me to look for in your writing, just ask.

David Hedlin
Moon's Wallow

Peter B wrote 410 days ago

What a nice and imaginative yarn about learning and growing. Well placed and vivid portrayal takes the reader right there, as though we were in the room along with them. Nice work, Peter B.
"The Bible I Thought I Knew"

Le Truc wrote 426 days ago

I have started reading this – I have added it on my WL to continue to work my way through all the books I have been recommended.
Keep up the great work!

Nicky Morgan wrote 436 days ago

Hi,
Just checked out your book and I think it's great. Got to say though, I'm not used to crying so early on a Monday morning! This is a beautifully written book with well written characters. The relationship between Ben and Anna is touching, as is Ben's longing for his father's love. So far I've read the first three chapters but I think this is so good that I want to finish it all.
High stars from me!
Nik.

Cathy Hardy wrote 453 days ago

This is lovely, sad, poignant, uplifting and written with such feeling. Ben and Anna are strong characters and you really get to know them. The plot is very original, 6 stars!!

Helen Laycock wrote 454 days ago

Hi Jessica,
I have finally got round to reading your book. What an intriguing take on reincarnation!

I enjoyed the opening use of letters to introduce the story. This indicates the strong relationship between Anna and Ben which is then underlined throughout the book as reminiscences are made. What I was most interested in was the library, so, I must confess, I raced through intervening paragraphs to get back to it!

There is a lot of narrative. I don't know whether you'd agree, but I think this could well benefit from being broken up more by dialogue between the characters.

I think this is a book that would be enjoyed by older children and adults alike.

Good luck with it!
Helen
Glass Dreams

Nancy1974 wrote 471 days ago

I enjoyed this book very much and have backed it.
Good luck!!
From
Nancy

subra_2k123 wrote 473 days ago

I read part of this book 11 months ago. I started reading from where I left it,now. The surprising thing is I still remember what I read. That's what a good writer do on your memory!!!
one silly comment though: ] A LIBRARY] reminds me a traditional wife and husband.LOL
I got this feeling that, with this kind of writing abilities, Jessica has a bright future as an author.

venkatarama
Ozoneraser

Seringapatam wrote 476 days ago

Jessica. Harry Cunningham below sums it up for me. It was a fantastic start to this book that grabbed me and wouldnt let go, however I have to agree with his comments about ' the moment that changed everything' Do you know what though???? I think if you jack this book up on the ramps and give it a dam good service, you would be sitting on a winner here. The best piece of advice I was given was 'Write the book as a reader and not as a writer'. I kept going back over what I had written with this in mind. I wish you all the luck in the world with this.
Sean Connolly. British Army on the Rampage. (B.A.O.R) Please consider me for a read or watch list wont you? Happy New Year. Sean

Harry.I.Cunningham wrote 481 days ago

I like the idea of the story opening with two letters. This often grates with me even in published books but you seemed to pull it off well. However, I think having 'The moment that changed everything' as a sub-heading is far too hyperbolic and doesn't work. I think the letters work well as an opening on their own and so I would suggest moving everything else into a new chapter. I also felt that the section 'The library' is far too descriptive: there is paragraph upon paragraph without any speech. I found this a little annoying given that we had just been heavily involved in a sequence with Anna, Naomi and Ben.

I liked the section where we got to see Ben and Anna interact in chapter one that is. I thought you were good at speech.

subra_2k123 wrote 484 days ago

enjoyable read

venkatarama
Ozoneraser

evermoore wrote 491 days ago

CHRIG
Oh, Jessica...
I loved this book. I am sure it will be published and a best seller to boot. I love that Ben was in her life even when she was so certain she'd lost him. I love even more, the ending. Simply perfect. Six stars and leaving your book with a smile in my heart...
Linda
Daniel Simmons Journey
and
Children Walking with Jesus

Jaclyn Aurore wrote 494 days ago

Hi there,

I'm not sure how I came across this book, but it's really enjoyable and I'm glad I read on!

I like the innocent love between Anna and Ben, and I look forward to seeing how Ben figures out how to be with Anna again... I like the letter writing, and I hope to see more of this too... but the library of books in the 'after-life' is a fun and unique outlook. Great Story, highly starred!

Jaclyn x
It Never Happened (would love a return read if you're interested!)

findingbooks wrote 501 days ago

Hi,

I am the Executive Editor of ROMAN Books www.roman-books.co.uk . We are interested to consider your novel for publication. If you are interested, please contact us by e-mail at response@roman-books.co.uk.

Thanks!

Kindest regards,
SUMAN CHAKRABORTY.

ibholdvictory wrote 521 days ago

Hi Jessica, I hope everything is well with you. I hope you come back soon. I just want you to know that I have recently started reading your book. It is so compelling and I am just in Chapter One. I love the storyline, excellent and promising. I can visualize the story from the begining and it is a great story. I can't wait to read some more. Good job. Love it.


Catherine
If Only You Could Tell.

Laura Bailey wrote 523 days ago

Hi Jessica,

I have backed your book numerous times in the past and still love it. I really believe this will get picked up and as you're so close to the shelf I hope my support will get you there sooner.

Best wishes and good luck,
Laura

spadge wrote 558 days ago

CHIRG Review
Hi Jessica,
I loved this story, although I've only read the first few chapters I'm going to stick it on my watch list to catch up with later.
I believe in all the stuff you write about and always have (I'm a Buddhist). You write extremely well and have also edited the tale really well.
The story hooks the reader straight away and I love the way you open with the letters to your two main characters.
Wouldn't everyone in this life want to believe in the library and the lovely old woman?
Fantastic, keep it up! Good luck.
Regards
Steve 'Merlin's Cave'