Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Review: Last Train to Babylon by Charlee Fam

Goodreads Summary:

Fans of Alice Sebold and John Green will be transfixed by this sophisticated, edgy debut novel packing dark humor, biting wit, and a lot of Jack Daniels

Who put the word fun in funeral? I can’t think of anything fun about Rachel’s funeral, except for the fact that she won’t be there.

Aubrey Glass has a collection of potential suicide notes—just in case. And now, five years—and five notes—after leaving her hometown, Rachel’s the one who goes and kills herself. Aubrey can’t believe her luck.

But Rachel’s death doesn’t leave Aubrey in peace. There’s a voicemail from her former friend, left only days before her death that Aubrey can’t bring herself to listen to—and worse, a macabre memorial-turned-high-school reunion that promises the opportunity to catch up with everyone… including the man responsible for everything that went wrong between she and Rachel.

In the days leading up to the funeral and infamous after party, Aubrey slips seamlessly between her past and present. Memories of friendship tangle with painful new encounters while underneath it all Aubrey feels the rush of something closing in, something she can no longer run from. And when the past and present collide in one devastating night, nothing will be the same again.

But facing the future means confronting herself and a shattering truth. Now, Aubrey must decide what will define her: what lies behind… or what waits ahead.

Publication Date: October 28, 2014

What an impossible book to rate! There were certain aspects of the book that I loved and I couldn’t stop reading. But I didn’t like the narrator at all! I’ve read books before with unlikable main characters, but Aubrey took this to a whole different level.

The book had a solid premise. Aubrey returns home because of the suicide of her ex-best friend Rachel. The girls had a falling out five years earlier and during flashbacks readers get to see what caused their friendship to unravel.

The parts I enjoyed the most were the dark humor in the book. I was entertained by some of Aubrey’s observations, especially during her high school years. I also liked the author’s exploration of the complexities of female friendship. Teenage girls can be best friends one minute and worst enemies the next.

It was obvious from the get go that Aubrey has gone through some type of trauma and the event is related back to Rachel. I wanted to feel sympathy for Aubrey, but she was too horrendous for words. Between the slut shaming, awful treatment of her kind-hearted mother, and never ending whining about how horrible Rachel treated her (Aubrey likened their relationship to Stockholm syndrome), I was so over her by the book’s end. There were a few scenes that could’ve packed an emotional punch if Aubrey wasn’t so terrible.

I read the entire book, so I was invested in the story. The ending was very anti-climatic and left too many things unresolved for my taste. Readers who like dark books that delve into topics like death, suicide and depression with wry humor will likely find The Last Train to Babylon appealing.

Rating: ????

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel for review!

1 comment:

  1. Intriguing that you couldn't rate it. I think this author took a leap as she went to the realm of "what we think, we don't necessarily say" to bring her character to life. That you despised that character for her thoughts is probably a common reaction; hence the reason people keep so much of what they think to themselves. Brave of the author to go there. LOL Girl, you know I'm a student of human nature. This book has piqued my interest :) Fantastic review. Thanks for sharing. WRITE ON!