Cover image for Layoverland : a novel
Title:
Layoverland : a novel
ISBN:
9781984836120
Physical Description:
300 pages ; 22 cm.
Summary:
On her last day on Earth, Beatrice Fox ruined the life of the person she loves most-- her little sister, Emmy. Then a fatal car accident sends her to purgatory-- where she is chosen to join the Memory Experience team. If she wants a shot at heaven, she'll have to help 5,000 souls suss out what's keeping them from moving on. Bea's first assigned soul is Caleb, the boy who caused her accident, and the last person Bea would ever want to send to the pearly gates. But she can't help but notice that he's kind of cute, and sort of sweet, and that maybe, despite her best efforts, she's totally falling for him. Bea must decide what is truly worth dying for: romance or revenge. --
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Summary

Summary

Beatrice Fox deserves to go straight to hell.

At least, that's what she believes. Her last day on Earth, she ruined the life of the person she loves most--her little sister, Emmy. So when Bea awakens from a fatal car accident to find herself on an airplane headed who knows where, she's confused, to say the least.

Once on the ground, Bea receives some truly harrowing news- she's in purgatory. If she ever wants to catch a flight to heaven, she'll have to help 5,000 souls figure out what's keeping them from moving on.

But one of Bea's first assignments is Caleb, the boy who caused her accident, and the last person Bea would ever want to send to the pearly gates. And as much as Bea would love to see Caleb suffer for dooming her to a seemingly endless future of eating bad airport food and listening to other people's problems, she can't help but notice that he's kind of cute, and sort of sweet, and that maybe, despite her best efforts, she's totally falling for him. Now, determined to make the most of her time in purgatory, Bea must decide what is truly worth dying for--romance or revenge.


Author Notes

Gabby Noone is a writer and aspiring gameshow contestant. Her work has appeared in Rookie, the Hairpin, Jezebel, the Cut, and SSENSE, among other places. Her tweets have been featured in many prestigious listicles. She grew up in Abington, PA, and now lives in Brooklyn, NY. Follow her @twelveoclocke.


Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7--10--Bea is ugly crying about ruining her sister's life when a huge SUV crosses into her lane. She makes eye contact with the other driver and realizes she knows him from school, then wakes up on a plane with that boy and a variety of other passengers. No one seems to know where the plane is headed, but it soon arrives in an airport where someone is holding a sign with Bea's name on it like they were expecting her. She comes to find out that moment in the car was her last second of life before both drivers died in a head-on collision. They have landed in an in-between place where people are sent to redeem themselves and earn their place in Heaven. Bea hasn't ever given much thought to what happens when you die; now, she is stuck in this airport until she can resolve her issues. With the help of Sadie, her sign-holding friend, Bea learns that she has been assigned to help 5,000 souls discover the one memory that is keeping them from Heaven, then she can join them. All of the people in the airport are given a passport and a lottery number to determine when they get their opportunity to move up. The boy from the crash has no idea that he is responsible for Bea being here, but she is going to make him earn each and every second in Layoverland because she wasn't ready to die. This is a cute read about one conception of the afterlife that is resonant of Gabrielle Zevin's Elsewhere and Wendy Mass's Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall. Do the actions in our daily life and the way we treat others affect our place in the next? VERDICT A lighthearted book about finding oneself and personal redemption.--Jessica Lorentz Smith, Bend Senior High School, OR


Publisher's Weekly Review

Sarcastic 17-year-old Bea's "glass-half-empty" views have made everyone in her life an enemy, save for her little sister Emmy--her best friend. When Bea is killed in a head-on collision after a terrible fight with Emmy, she is dismayed to discover she is trapped in a layover for "mostly good people who are harboring secrets, fatal mistakes, and/or emotional hang-ups." Folks in this purgatory must work out, by exploring their past memories, what is keeping the soul from self-realization and ascension. Bea, assigned to atone via the Memory Experience Department, must help 5,000 souls to heaven before moving on herself. When she is paired to help Caleb, the (cute) boy who caused both their deaths, she plots to hold him back. But between Caleb and her new roommate Jenna, Bea comes to learn that maybe not everyone is an enemy. Interspersing Bea and Emmy's fight throughout the story, Noone seamlessly crafts her The Good Place--esque tale with spot-on details, such as how the dead appear exactly as they perished (makeup and all) forever. While Bea's story is set entirely in Layoverland, her journey to letting down her defenses in order to accept love moves beyond it. Ages 14--up. Agent: Dana Murphy, the Book Group. (Jan.)


Kirkus Review

Coming-of-age can happen even when you're dead and bitter.Bea Fox dies in a car accident while crying about a fight with her sister (who is also her best friend), listening to a song she hates, and wearing jeans she doesn't like. She wakes up in an airplane heading to Layoverland, an in-limbo place for heaven-bound souls with emotional baggage or secrets to clean up before they can depart for the Pearly Gates. Bitter, pessimistic, argumentative Bea is recruited into the Memory Experience Department and can't move on until she helps a certain number of befuddled souls clear their minds (including a guy who is supercuteand responsible for her death. Awkward). And who knew that orange would be the go-to palette for the in-between afterlife? Bea is a terrific antihero, as if the naysaying comic relief in a teen movie got the spotlight instead of the pretty ingenue. But her acid tongue and eye rolls aren't two-dimensional or one-note; layers to her pre-Layoverland life are interspersed to give depth. The fantasy and comedy make the narrative buoyant even while bullying, tragic deaths, class struggles, and reproductive rights are faced head-on. Bea and her family are white and working class, and the majority of the cast also seems to be white save for biracial (Mexican/white) love interest Caleb and brown-skinned Layoverland mentor Sadie.A story about death that leans toward the light. (Fiction. 13-17) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

Bea wasn't expecting to die. Certainly not in a car crash after a terrible fight with her sister, who's also her best friend (make that only friend). But when her plane lands at a tacky airport, she's informed she's in purgatory, and, before she can move on to heaven, she must help 5,000 souls figure out what's stopping their upward progress. She's been chosen for the job, her trainer tells her, because her sharpness at spotting others' weaknesses and her ability to manipulate are pluses for those who'll be facilitating at the memory unit. Bea balks; she's a hater, not a helper, but hell is the only other option. If this is beginning to sound like the tv show The Good Place, the similarities are strong. But debut author Noone has created a clever purgatory that contains its own special annoyances (home is a cheap airport motel room, all food is encased in Jell-O) and fresh, funny characters with rich responses to being in the medium place. Alternating with the scenes at the airport are Bea's flashbacks to her death day, with her flaws and faults on full display. But wait, there's also romance! And it's a rich one: Bea learns her crush-worthy patient is the boy who killed her in the crash. Plenty of laughs here, mixed deftly with meditations on what it means to be alive.--Ilene Cooper Copyright 2019 Booklist


Excerpts

Excerpts

PROLOGUE You know the kind of crying where you're crying over one thing and then you think about a slightly less upsetting but still definitely upsetting thing and it makes you cry even more? And then you think about every bad thing that's ever happened to you in your whole life and everything you think is unfair in the world? And it's like you're taking part in some Guinness World Record competition to see who can fit the most toppings on a single pizza and your face is the pizza and your tears are the toppings? The pepperoni of your mistakes, the black olives of not being pretty enough, the mushrooms of rejection, and, for good measure, a few chunks of pineapple to represent how bees are dying at an alarming rate and you have no idea how to stop it? No? Me neither. I'm not usually someone who cries. I wasn't familiar with this kind of crying until today, but it's the kind of crying I'm doing as I drive around in my used Honda Civic. My car was manufactured in 1999, which is three years before I was born, four years before my little sister was born, and twenty years before today, when I accidentally ruined her life. I mean, I don't think her whole life will be ruined, but her life right now is ruined, and isn't that really the same thing? I'm too ashamed to make my way home and face her, but I've been crying so much that I'm afraid of showing my red puffy face anywhere in public. I don't have a best friend's house to seek refuge in because, to be honest, my sister was my best (and only) friend. So I've just been driving aimlessly around town for the last five hours. The slightly less upsetting thing that's making me cry even more is the realization that there aren't enough songs about having a fight with your best friend. And there are possibly zero songs about having a fight with your best friend who also happens to be your sister. There are definitely zero songs about having a fight with your best friend who also happens to be your sister, because you've just ruined her life. But after hours of driving around in circles in total silence, I decide I need to find something to listen to. Maybe music will make things better or, at least, drown out the sound of the ragged sobs that are somehow coming out of my own mouth and not that of some wild animal. At a stoplight I scroll through my phone and try to pick something, but nothing feels right. I look at the Top 50 Songs in America playlist. Every track is either about people who are having sex or wish they were having sex. I can't believe that I've ruined my sister's life and there isn't even an appropriate soundtrack for me to feel bad about it over. The light turns green. I stop scrolling. "Hey, Siri," I sob into my phone. "Play a song about missing your sister." I think talking to the virtual assistant feature on any phone or TV is so deeply idiotic, but I use it sometimes while I'm driving because the only thing more idiotic is being the teenage girl who actually gets in a car accident while looking down at her phone. I refuse to be a useful statistic for local nagging parents. "Playing 'Hey, Soul Sister' by Train," the robotic female voice says back to me. "What? No! Play a song about missing your sister !" "'Playing 'Hey, Soul Sister' by Train," it repeats. The opening notes blare out of my phone speaker. Heyyyy, hey huh ayyyy, hey huh ayyyy. "Siri, shut this off!" I yell. But the song keeps going. The singer says something about a girl's lipstick stains on his head or something. It's definitely a song about people who wish they were having sex and not about actual sisters. "That doesn't even make any sense !" I half yell-sob as I throw the phone onto the passenger seat. But before I can ask Siri to change the song again, I see a silver SUV driving on the wrong side of the road, speeding straight toward me. I blink back my tears, hoping it's a hallucination or just some kind of optical illusion created by the makeup pooling on my eyelids. Just as I frantically try to hit the brakes, we collide. Then it all happens so fast, yet so, so slowly. Our cars make an awful squeaking, crunching noise, like someone dragging a million pairs of long acrylic nails over a chalkboard and crushing a million soda cans all at once. Then it's like I can see my own body rise up into the air and my head smashing into the glass of the front window. For a quarter of a second, the other driver and I make panicked eye contact, then his head slumps forward. Somehow, though, the music from my phone keeps playing. Heyyyyy hey huh heyyyyy. With shards of glass covering my neck, and my spine cracking in multiple places, all I can think is: I'm going to be so pissed if I die while this song is playing . Excerpted from Layoverland by Gabby Noone All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.