Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Book Review: Repossessed

by A.M. Jenkins

Repossessed is a 2007 Cybils finalist.

Kiriel just wants to experience a bit of life. As a demon, er, fallen angel, he's usually immersed in the suffering and regrets of those souls who end up in Hell. Can he be blamed if he wants to find out what life is really like? So he borrows the body of a teenage boy named Shaun. It's not like Shaun will need it anyway; Kiriel takes the body seconds before Shaun is about to die, hit by a car.

Kiriel is determined to experience everything he can in Shaun's body before he gets caught and recalled. All the sensations of living are glorious - food, smells, even the feel of a t-shirt. Not surprisingly, sex is high on Kiriel's list of things to experience, but when he sets out to accomplish that goal, he finds out that even that is much more complicated than he imagined.

Kiriel discovers that he wants to make a difference in the world; to leave a mark that will last after he's gone. He finds that helping people is much more satisfying than seeking personal gratification. And he learns that what he really wants is to get a response from the Creator.

Repossessed is a clever, funny book with a lot of teen appeal. I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected. Kiriel's voice in this first person novel is distinctive and likable. He's rebellious, questioning, at times even angry, and yet beneath that is a depth and a goodness that belies the demon label. Although he is in many ways different than the teen whose body he inhabits, he is clearly a teenager in the cosmic sense, both rebelling against and seeking attention from the Creator.

This is a book for mature readers: there's a lot of off-color humor and adult situations. Yet it's also a book that's surprisingly spiritual, not in a strictly religious sense, but in its appreciation for all creation and depiction of seeking one's place in the universe.

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