BENEVOLENT
by Erin A. Jensen

A story about the purpose of life, the healing power of fandom, and the resilience of the human spirit.

Tormented by the in-crowd at school on a daily basis, there were two things that gave fifteen-year-old Abigail Perkins the strength to keep going—her best friend, Danny Cobb; and her favorite television show, Supernatural. But the night Danny’s mother calls to say that his battle with cancer is nearing its end, and the doctors don’t expect him to live through the night, even Supernatural can’t dull the ache in her heart.

Devastated by her impending loss and crushed that Danny’s mother won’t allow her to visit him one last time, Abigail crawls into bed and cries herself to sleep that night; and she wakes to find Supernatural’s most endearing angel standing at the foot of her bed.

Told from Abigail’s perspective as she nears the end of her long life and revisits the moments that defined it, this story was inspired by the deep connection that Supernatural fans feel with the show’s beloved characters, and the show’s miraculous ability to help its fans through troubled times.

EXCERPT
I flashed him a sympathetic smile. “What are you thinking?”

“I have never understood why humans are so moved by music,” he muttered as his eyes searched mine.

“Music is the closest thing that we have to magic,” I confided in a reverent whisper, “because it has the power to anchor us to a moment in time.”

His half-smile conveyed a heartwarming mix of curiosity and affection. “How so?”

I felt my face flush a shade darker as I grinned at him. “When we hear a song from our past, it conjures up all the old sensations that we felt when we first heard it.”

He eyed me with a perplexed frown as he took a step toward me. “How can a combination of man-made instruments and human vocal chords wield that sort of power?”

“I can’t explain it with words,” I whispered, “It’s something that you just have to feel.”

He stood there staring at me with that puzzled expression on his face as I stepped closer and carefully inserted the earpiece in my hand into his left ear, so the music connected the two of us, just as surely as the cord connected the earbuds in our ears. “Maybe you’d understand what I mean if you danced to the music.”

“I don’t dance,” he muttered as he watched me begin to sway to the beat.

I smiled at him as I took his hands in mine and moved his arms in time with the music, like a puppeteer pulling a life-sized marionette’s strings. “Anyone can dance. You just have to let go and let the music guide your movements.”

A skeptical frown spread across his face as he watched me, but he let me direct his movements nonetheless. He was stiff and awkward at first but as the music grew louder, he seemed to find the rhythm. “These words are nonsense,” he muttered.

“Shhh,” I whispered, “Don’t think. Just feel.”

He was a remarkably fast learner, but I suppose being on earth since the dawn of time had given him plenty of opportunities to watch humans dance. Once he started to feel the music, he moved with all the grace that you’d imagine an angel would.

“Hey Jude” gradually faded away until there was nothing but silence in our twin earpieces.

We stopped moving and stood there staring at each other while we waited for the next song to guide our movements.

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REVIEW
I have a soft spot in my heart for stories about fandom and the people who love it. This was unlike any book I’ve read along those lines before. It was moving and heart-wrenching, sad and uplifting. I was even surprised by some romance that I really wasn’t expecting. Fans of the TV show Supernatural should read this just because it will probably resound with them in a way that only a loved fandom can. Otherwise, if you want a story that will in turns make you laugh, cry, and feel the injustice of fear, this is the book to read.

While I found the book beautiful as a work, I had a tough time personally connecting with the main character’s headspace. This isn’t because I was never made fun of or because I always knew where I fit. Far from. I think it’s because I’ve since come to terms with the fact that even the people who seem like they have it all, even the bullies, are making up for some insecurity they can’t handle sometimes. I felt like that particular point didn’t get addressed like it could have. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing—far beyond me to tell an author how to write their book—readers like me may feel a disconnect with where this book is coming from.

The ending brought everything together well. Like I said, it went in a direction I didn’t expect, but I can’t say it wasn’t a good direction. The book is told largely in flashbacks while the main character is on her deathbed, which I found to be an effective tactic. There are a lot of heavy emotions in here as she looks back at the hardship and eventual light in her life. I think the most important lesson in here comes when the main character reaches adulthood and wants to tell her younger self that things get better. If there was one thing I could tell every kid and teenager, it would be that adolescence is such a short part of life that presents you with every opportunity that you may never have again. Do everything you can and don’t care who doesn’t like it. If you don’t, you’ll wish you had tomorrow.

ABOUT ERIN

Erin Jensen is the Amazon International bestselling author of The Dream Waters Series. She was awarded the Bronze Medal for fantasy fiction in the 2018 Readers\’ Favorite international book awards. She also received Honorable Mention for fantasy fiction in the 2018 Writer\’s Digest self-published e-book awards. A part-time pharmacist and a full-time daydreamer, she resides in upstate New York with her ridiculously supportive husband, two teenage sons–who are both taller than her–and a Yorkshire terrier who thinks he\’s the family bodyguard.

Find her online:

website
blog
Twitter
Facebook

GIVEAWAY

Erin A. Jensen will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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25 thoughts on “BENEVOLENT by Erin A. Jensen

  1. Benevolent took me about 10 months to write. I was working under a deadline because I wanted to have it ready to submit to the Supernatural Giving Back Tour’s Creative Quest competition in Cleveland. I met the deadline and won in the written category. I was also able to get a picture of Misha Collins, the actor who inspired the story, holding the finished book.

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  2. I drew quite a bit from real life experiences for this book. There is a whole lot of me in Abigail, the main character in this story. Some of her memories were inspired by events from my own life. The end of life scenes were heavily based on the time I spent with my grandfather during his final days. And Abigail’s son was based on a friend and former co-worker of mine.

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  3. There’s something really satisfying about capturing a scene on paper that’s been in my head for a really long time. When I’m writing a book or series of books, there are usually a handful of scenes that I’ve envisioned right from the start of the project. It’s always a thrill to finally write those scenes and bring them to life.

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