It didn't take long into this book for me to start getting a very fairy tale vibe from it. and now that I've finished it, I feel like that's the intended direction, and I sort of love it for that reason.
In Half-World, reality encompasses three realms. First there's the living world (don't have the book on me at the moment to get the proper terms, my apologies) where folks live out their lives. when everything is working, then after death people move to the Half-World, a sort of purgatory where people address the worst parts of their lives, atone and learn from them, before moving on to the spirit realm, where they await rebirth. But something happened, the realms were split, and everything fell apart. The spirits are in stasis, humans are reborn without addressing their worst parts making the world become worse and worse, and in Half-World those in purgatory are reliving their worst moments over and over and over again.
Into this comes Melanie, a plump teenager who lived with her mother in a run-down apartment. When her mother disappears and a phone call comes from a horrible person who claims to have her prisoner, Melanie sets out on a grand but simple journey to find her and bring her home.
I said at the beginning, this feels like a fairy tale, so be warned that if fairy tales aren't really your thing you may find yourself less than pleased with this. Melanie is interesting to me - unsure and scared but brave in her way and willing to walk into the jaws of hell for her mother. But she also comes off with very little development, presented in fairly simple strokes. Many of the actions of the book follow from one to another in logical order, but other times, things just happen. Sometimes this disconnect was enough to throw me out of the story, and with a story so short, it was enough to knock it back two stars. But it was a lovely read nonetheless and I suspect I'll seek out more by this author.