Review: Firstlife by Gena Showalter

Posted March 11, 2016 in Review / 6 Comments

Review: Firstlife by Gena Showalter


Series: Everlife #1
by Gena Showalter
Published by Harlequin Teen, Harlequin on February 23rd 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 480
Format: eARC

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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Tenley “Ten” Lockwood is an average seventeen-year-old girl…who has spent the past thirteen months locked inside the Prynne Asylum. The reason? Not her obsession with numbers, but her refusal to let her parents choose where she’ll live—after she dies.

There is an eternal truth most of the world has come to accept: Firstlife is merely a dress rehearsal, and real life begins after death.

In the Everlife, two realms are in power: Troika and Myriad, longtime enemies and deadly rivals. Both will do anything to recruit Ten, including sending their top Laborers to lure her to their side. Soon, Ten finds herself on the run, caught in a wild tug-of-war between the two realms who will do anything to win the right to her soul. Who can she trust? And what if the realm she’s drawn to isn’t home to the boy she’s falling for? She just has to stay alive long enough to make a decision…

Well Written Young Adult

Well, I went and did it again.  As soon as I was done reading Firstlife, I ran to Goodreads to see how many of my friends had read it and what they had thought about.  I personally was blown away with how “deep”, for lack of a better term, this story is.  I kind of wondered if others would get it or if perhaps the big thoughts would get past most readers.

Wouldn’t you know it, I think that might have happened.

The story starts out with “email” communications, or something to that effect, between two “Laborers” in the field and their bosses.  Don’t worry if you don’t get the nouns, these are just world building details that come out through the book.  Anyways, I almost glossed over these emails on my way to chapter one.  Luckily I didn’t because they actually spell out the situation we, the readers, are walking into.  And it ain’t pretty.

Tenley “Ten” Lockwood has been sent to an asylum in what can only be assumed is literally Siberia.  Ten was sent to this asylum by her “loving” parents because she hasn’t picked what realm she wants to live in after she dies.  She is supposed to chose before she dies and her family is adamant that she chose their “team”.  Ten, for her part, doesn’t want to make such a huge decision so early in her life.  She’d rather stay undecided as long as possible.  But no one is letting her, which translates to torture at the asylum.

There is crap-ton going on in this story and if you’re not paying attention, you might just miss it.

First, I don’t know if you’re aware but Ms. Showalter has a strong connection with God and it only grew more after an illness.  In this book, she DOES NOT mention religion in any way, shape, or form.  But I could not stop myself from thinking that perhaps picking a realm was metaphor for picking a religion, with everyone around Ten believing that she better pick soon or she’s screwed.  My thoughts are with Ten, why does she have to pick?  She’s already thinking better than all the other folks.

Hell, Ten turns out to be a morally better person than every other person (except for a few I won’t mention – spoilery!) in the story!

At the end of the book, there’s a Q & A with Ms. Showalter and she explains where she got the idea for realms Troika and Myriad.  I was basically wrong.  But at least the book got me thinking, right?

Hey, even if you’re not into thinking and need adventure, romance, a little blood, and some fighting, this book could meet that need.  Moreover, Ten is one of my new favorite kickass / quirky heroines.  She’s like a Aspie infused with Buffy training – Woot!!!

There is NO love triangle.  Despite what it might seem like, there is none.  I don’t want to spoil anything about the story but let me just say that there are many different types of “love”.  I love my dog, but I’m not IN love with my dog.  Get my drift???

Finally, Firstlife is the first book in the Everlife series.  So despite some closure, there is kind of, sort of, err… a cliffhanger ending.  For some reason, I didn’t pitch a hissy fit, though.  Not a clue why.  I guess I just want more Ten… NOW!


About Gena Showalter

Gena Showalter

Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the spellbinding Lords of the Underworld, Otherworld Assassins, and Angels of the Dark series, as well as two young adult series--Everlife and the White Rabbit Chronicles--and the highly addictive Original Heartbreakers series. In addition to being a National Reader's Choice and two time RITA nominee, her romance novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan (Red Hot Read) and Seventeen magazine. She was interviewed on Nightline and has been mentioned in Orange is the New Black. Her books have been translated in multiple languages.

She’s hard at work on her next novel, a tale featuring an alpha male with a dark side and the strong woman who brings him to his knees. You can learn more about Gena, her menagerie of rescue dogs, and all her upcoming books at or




About Kristin

Kristin has to ensure she gets her minimal requirement of "happily ever after" books in between those books that contain cliffhangers and never-ending story arcs. It's for her family's sake. When not reading, she's homeshooling her 10-year old son, watching cartoons on TV, or taking a nap.

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6 responses to “Review: Firstlife by Gena Showalter

  1. I loved that Ten was so strong, and that she always wanted to make the best choice for herself and not her parents! And I thought the deeper message was very well done. I’m so happy you enjoyed Firstlife, too, Kristin! I can’t wait to see what will happen in the next instalment, and I’m all sad we’re going to have to wait quite a while to know.
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