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REVIEW: In the Way of All Flesh, by Caitlin Alise Donovan

Title: In the Way of All Flesh

Author: Caitlin Alise Donovan

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

LGBTQ+ Category: FF Lesbian

Publisher: Self

Pages: 212

Reviewer: Becky, Paranormal Romance Guild

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About The Book

Gloomy teenager Manee Srikwan wears long sleeves and keeps her hands to herself for a good reason-whenever she touches a person for the first time, she sees a vision of how they will die. Manee’s weird powers cause those around her nothing but misery and she’s long resigned herself to a life of loneliness.

But her vivacious classmate, Stephanie Pierce, changes all that. She smashes through every wall Manee puts up and overturns every expectation. Much to Manee’s shock, Stephanie believes her about her powers. What’s more, she insists they can stop the deaths Manee sees from happening. When the two of them are together, it feels like they can do anything.

As the girls grow closer, Manee’s feelings for Stephanie blossom into love. She yearns to be more intimate but is anxious about breaking her all-important “hands-off ” rule. When she finally gives in to temptation, she sees a terrifying future where Stephanie is murdered — and Manee is her killer! Now Manee has a choice to make– will she fight this fate or let it rule her?

The Review

“In the Way of All Flesh” introduces us to teenager Manee Srikwan who is a unique individual, both gifted and cursed. Her power of touching a person and receiving a vision of how they will die means she lives an isolated existence. It’s not until Stephanie Pierce, a student at her school, forces her into being friends that Manee finally realises that maybe she can have more.

As the girls’ friendship develops, Manee is faced with the horror of the knowledge about Stephanie’s death. Not only that, with a few twists and turns leading them along, they discover so much more about themselves and each over.

Very much a young adult read with strong YA voices, there is a lot of hormone-induced angst in “In the Way of All Flesh.” Reactions are dramatic, at times over the top, and in many ways relatable to a teenager’s world, one especially who is struggling with self-identity.

With several hot-topic themes covered, it almost feels like a tick and flick at times, as the reader is pulled between each theme or issue. It was easy to lose focus on what the focal point on the story should be, what emotion was currently intended. It could be argued that this is somewhat reflective of a confused teenager’s mind. Alternatively, it could be reflective of a narrative not quite in control.  

It wasn’t always easy to connect with the MC, Manee. The laments and the sorrow didn’t always ring true, at times feeling a little forced and unnecessarily stretched out. That’s not to say there weren’t other moments that were moving and poignant. There were descriptions of beauty and ones that showed real craftmanship. It was this aspect that really helped to capture my interest and ensure I continued on, despite the few stumbling blocks.

The refreshing focus on the girls’ relationship, their coming out and it not being centred on family reactions and their support (or lack thereof) was effectively developed. The motivation rather being on their own personal struggles was plot appropriate and successfully handled.

If you enjoy YA reads with a splattering of paranormal or “other” and you don’t shy away from complex characters, “In the Way of All Flesh” is worth a read.

The Reviewer

A supporter of indie authors and small presses, Becky lives and breathes literature. A full-time book editor and publisher, Becky and her team have edited well over a thousand books and have published over a hundred. Life is hectic and amazing, but there’s always time for “just one more chapter.”

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