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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Wish You Were Here, Badfinger: A Rock Fantasy is a whimsical speculative novel by author Joyce Isaacson. Set predominantly in the afterlife, our central character is the ne’er-do-well Tommy Evans, who has recently passed on to the Pearly Gates. Tommy’s band, the epic Badfinger, lost one of its members too early, and Tommy was haunted by depression for years before he moved on into the afterlife. Now Tommy, genuinely surprised, finds himself in Heaven with the chance to reunite with Pete Ham, his lost lead singer, but the journey’s not as easy as it seems. Tommy must travel through the strata of the afterlife, encountering a veritable feast of rock royalty along the way, to find the solace that he couldn’t when he was alive on Earth.
Although Wish You Were Here, Badfinger: A Rock Fantasy is titled as a fantasy genre novel, I found it far more speculative in nature, and it’s certainly a heartfelt drama about self-discovery and the bonds we have with others. I enjoyed the unusual premise and the allusions to Dante’s journey, and whilst the cameos from real-life rock stars of a bygone time were fun, they did sometimes make the plot a little woolly. That being said, author Joyce Isaacson writes with simplistic beauty that lifts her characters off the page, and Tommy is a really relatable hero with a great deal of soul and emotion poured in. If you’re looking for a redeeming, positive drama with lots of quirky fun, give Wish You Were Here, Badfinger a read.