Disclaimer: I recieved this book for free through the Teens Top Ten review program. It is an unbiased review. I will never accept money for a review.

From the Back:

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Stacey Kade

A young man struggles to move forward after the death of his twin brother in this gripping, coming-of-age tale about loss, redemption, love, and the moment you begin to see the world differently.

Three minutes.

Jacob Palmer died for three life-changing minutes.

And when he wakes up, nothing is the same. Elijah, his twin brother, is dead, and his family is broken. Jace’s planned future is crushed, along with his pitching arm. Everyone keeps telling him that Eli is in a better place, but Jace isn’t so sure. Because in those three minutes, there was nothing.

Overwhelmed by guilt and doubt, Jace struggles to adjust to this new version of the world, one without his brother, one without the certainties he once relied on. And then Thera comes into his life.

She’s the last girl he should be turning to for help.

But she’s also the first person to truly see him.

Cover: front-cover-011416-for-this-life-only-250x375The cover of this book caught my eye. It has been a while since I have seen a book using this many shades of blue, and I am grateful for the color choices for multiple reasons, the first being that blue is my favorite color. Besides the selfish reasons, the color choice worked well in my opinion because blue is often used to symbolize faith, truth, and heaven. All three of those are common themes in this book. The font choice for the cover was also a wise choice, showing the carefree style of writing that Stacey Kade uses.

Score: 5/5

 

Content: When I saw the newest novel from Stacey Kade among the ARCs (Advance Review Copies) on the shelves, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had just finished reading her Project Paper Doll series, and I wasn’t very impressed with the quality of the writing or the story the trilogy told. But I was taken aback by the shift in quality. This book was easily one hundred times better than anything else she has written. The writing was taken care-freely, and much of the dialogue felt natural, unlike her previous series, where dialogue felt forced.

In this novel, Jace and Eli are twins, raised in a conservative religious household. Jace is the more destructive twin, who drinks and stays out past curfew, while Eli becomes active in the church and gets perfect grades. But when Jace’s drinking indirectly leads to Eli’s death, his relationships, with friends and family alike, begin to fall apart, even as a new one rises from the ashes.

Perhaps the reason for the writing having improved since the last books I read by her is the way this novel is more personal than the others she has written. She was raised within a religious household, and went through many of the same struggles Jace goes through in this novel. She was able to draw on her personal experiences to capture the perfect image of someone struggling with faith.

With all of the praise I have been giving this novel, you’re probably thinking that it is just too good to be true. And sadly, it is. There was a disappointing ending that did not show the way things ended up working out, and we never find out the answers to many questions raised. Unfortunately, Stacey Kades novel ultimately left me slightly disappointed.

Score: 3/5

 

Characters: Stacey Kade handled all the characters well. She painted Jace and Eli as the perfect example of many siblings in the world: ones who are not much alike, and almost never get along, but would not be able to survive without each other. After Eli’s death is when the writing truly shines. She painted many different expressions of grief ranging from ignoring the death and continuing life (as in the case of Jace’s pastor father), to a complete mental breakdown culminating in running from church.

However, much of the conflict in the book came from Jace’s friends disagreeing with his girlfriend, Thera. There is one scene in particular that seemed incredibly forced. I won’t give away the details, but will tell you that it takes place in a drive-in restaurant, with a disagreement about Thera. Besides that one scene, though, the characters did seem incredibly realistic.

Score: 4/5

Final Score: 12/15 (B-)

If this review has you hyped for the release of the book, you can order it here. It will be released on August 30th of 2016.

 

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