June Once Upon a Book Club Unboxing + A Strange Companion Review

June’s Once Upon a Book Club box was another fun experience. While the book, A Strange Companion, was another dud for me, I still enjoyed the heck out of opening all the gifts as I read the story.

June Once Upon a Book Club Unboxing + A Strange Companion ReviewA Strange Companion by Lisa Manterfield
Published by Steel Rose Press on April 4th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Paranormal
Pages: 267
Format: Paperback

Kat Richardson isn’t running away from grief; she’s just hiding out in a gloomy Welsh university town until she’s sure it’s gone. Now, one year, nine months, and 27 days after the climbing death of her first love, Gabe, she thinks she’s ready to venture out into the relationship world again. And Owen—a cake-baking, Super Ball-making chemistry student—appears to be a kind, funny, and very attractive option.

But the arrival of Kat’s newly adopted niece, Mai, forces her home to northern England, where she runs headfirst into all the memories of Gabe she’s tried to leave behind—and discovers that Mai stirs up an unnerving feeling of déjà vu. Before long, Kat’s logical, scientific beliefs about life after death are in battle with what she feels to be true—that reincarnation is real and Gabe has come back to her through Mai. The question now, is why?

Taking on the topics of love, loss, and how we deal with grief, A Strange Companion is a twisted love triangle among the living, the dead, and the reincarnated.

dealing with loss, thoughts on reincarnation, and learning to move forward

Rapid Fire Thoughts and Feelings about the Book:

1. I didn’t like the main character, Kat. She was impulsive, did incredibly irresponsible things with her niece, and ultimately, her story (the one that the WHOLE BOOK hinged on) was a tad bit unbelievable.

2. RANT TIME: The story is about how Kat’s boyfriend died when she was in her late teens. She loved him and they were meant to be together and yadda yadda yadda, so a year and a half after his death, she’s still not over him. (AKA, wears his watch every day crazy-lady status). Now LOOK, I have been with my husband since the same age Kat probably was when she began dating Gabe, and so I naturally kept putting myself in her shoes. What if my husband died when I was eighteen/nineteen? I would incredibly upset, yes, but I wouldn’t be moping around almost two years later. I didn’t understand how deeply you could love someone at that time, and while she and I aren’t the same, I feel like most teenagers/early 20-somethings don’t understand these things. So the whole story is about how mopey and sad she is, but I find it all just a tad bit implausible. I would have been waayyy more convinced if she was maybe 5 years old.

3. I liked the idea of the reincarnation stuff, and I actually like how that part of the story developed. My only complaint is that it felt like it never actually resolved? View Spoiler »

Ultimately this wasn’t my kind of book. There were too many big things that annoyed me. It was just okay.

The quote card that came with the book. Quite relevant to the book!
The gifts after they were all opened. From left to right (clockwise): Tea towel that says “Hello Sunshine,” a Quija mousepad, a notebook, and a framed “Family” print.

This is the first book I’ve read about reincarnation. Have you read one before? Would you recommend it?

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  1. I’ve not read the book you got nor any book about reincarnation. I’m sorry you didn’t like the book though! On the other hand, those other goodies look amazing!!