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Just Like Heaven [Mass Market Paperback]

Marc Levy
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 26 2005

What do you do when you find a stranger in your closet; particularly when she's surprised that you can even see her -- and she can disappear and reappear at whim? What if she tells you that her body is actually in a coma on the other side of town? Should you have her see a psychiatrist or should you consult one yourself? Or do you take a chance and believe in her, and allow yourself to be swept up in an extraordinary adventure?

This is the beginning of the dilemma that Arthur, a young San Francisco architect, is faced with after a long day, when he discovers Lauren in his apartment.

Arthur is the only man who can share Lauren's secret, the only one who can see her, hear her, and talk to her when no one else so much as senses her presence. So when doctors prepare to end Lauren's physical care -- which would destroy the magical bond she and Arthur cherish -- Arthur must find a way to save her. For, after all, it is only her love that can save him.

If Only It Were True is a heartwarming love story impossible to forget, an adventure that is breathtaking and hilarious -- a captivating tale that evokes the essence of romance and our boundless capacity to believe.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details


Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

This is the book, by a French architect based in San Francisco, that made a huge Hollywood deal, and then a seven-figure sale to Pocket Books. It's an interesting study in the difference between a movie concept and a novel. One can imagine it as an offbeat romantic comedy on the screen, with charismatic actors and some nifty special effects, but as a book it's slight and one-dimensional--and it doesn't help that Levy has no ear whatsoever for American speech patterns. The gimmick at the heart of the story is a mixture of the movie notion of "meeting cute" and the Invisible Man tradition. Arthur, a young architect in San Francisco, finds a beautiful girl hiding in the closet of an apartment he has just bought. The problem is, only he can see her; she is, in fact, a spirit emanation of Lauren, a nurse who is lying in a coma at a nearby hospital after a near-fatal accident; the apartment used to be hers. After initially rejecting her explanation, Arthur begins to fall for Lauren, and determines that he must remove her comatose body from the hospital before her grieving mother can bring herself to cut off her life support. Helped by his skeptical business partner, Arthur accomplishes this with a borrowed ambulance and Lauren's knowledge of how the hospital works. Then the "body," along with the attendant invisible Lauren, is spirited away to the Carmel hideaway Arthur has kept since his beloved mother's death from cancer. (Life with mother is rendered in a series of saccharine scenes that would embarrass a maker of life insurance commercials.) George Pilger, one of the most improbable American police inspector ever to grace the pages of a novel, gets onto Arthur's escapade and goes down to Carmel to confront him. Will Arthur be arrested? Will Lauren die? In a gentle fable like this, there can be no real surprises. What is surprising is that so slender a tale, which actually reads more like a draft of a screenplay, should have appeared as an (almost) full-length book. (May)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

YA-First-time novelist Levy scored a bestseller with this book in his native France. It is a light, frothy tale of love conquering all, even a coma. Lauren Kline, a medical resident at San Francisco Memorial Hospital, is young, beautiful, and content with her life. Then a faulty steering mechanism in her old clunker of a car causes her to suffer head injuries in a shattering car accident. As she later explains, she could hear everything around her in the hospital recovery room, but could neither move, see, nor speak. She learns that she is languishing in a coma, having somehow survived being pronounced dead. Enter Arthur, an architect and partner in a restoration firm, who recently moved into an apartment and finds it comes equipped with an unexpected bonus-Lauren. Well, her spirit, anyway, since her body continues to reside in the very hospital in which she worked. She's not dead, so the apartment-dwelling Lauren is not actually a ghost, and she seems to have form and substance, but only Arthur can see and hear her. Readers learn that for months she has been psychically transporting her spirit all over the city until she finally comes back to her own apartment-now Arthur's. This feel-good story is an easy and engrossing read, and it should be particularly popular with teen girls.
Carol DeAngelo, Kings Park Library, Burke, VA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars How do things like this get published? June 2 2003
By Joe
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I just finished reading this book in the original French version, so I know that my disappointment was not due to a bad translation. I had heard that this was the best-selling book in France a couple of years ago and I'd read some good reviews, so I was expecting much more.
What an amateurish mess. Although the central premise could have been interesting, the book doesn't really work on any level. The writing is extremely pedestrian: the cops eat donuts, the sidekick makes wisecracks, and all the cliches appear just where you expect them. The characters don't behave like any human beings I know. There are huge, careless gaps in the plot (for example, why does Lauren's "soul" bother to hide in a bathroom closet if no one has been able to see her?) and the author doesn't even bother to get the geography of San Francisco right -- a quick look at a map would have shown that it is Post Street, not Polk Street, that runs along Union Square.
Of course, none of this really matters because the book reads like a sketchy proposal for a throw-away romantic comedy starring Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant. And I have a feeling that's exactly what we're going to get. *sigh*
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1.0 out of 5 stars Very poorly written, but readable Aug. 8 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book reads like an immature male's fantasy of himself - a poor, pitiful rich kid with somehow amazing spirituality and integrity. Several pages are devoted to love letters from the main character's dead mother, and none of the characters or relationships are well developed.
The fanciful, spiritual rescue plot is by far the best part of the book, and I was quite disappointed by the author's inability to explore the issues the premise (coma victim "detaches" spirit from her body) raises in more depth. The author mentioned the TV series "Bewitched" a few times - obviously an inspiration to him - but the writers of that series did a much more thorough job of exploring the options within its self-imposed magical limits. There are plot holes one can drive a truck through. For example, the coma victim/spirit and the protagonist can't seem to figure out how to communicate to others who can't see her, but the average reader will envision many ways it could be done that the characters don't think of. And the issues of coma and spirituality aren't really explored at all.
It was a quick read, with some stilted but good San Francisco imagery, and I did read it all the way through. If you're still tempted, go ahead. Just don't pay full price for it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Light reading for light days. July 28 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Arthur is a young architect who just moved into a new apartment. One evening he discovers a woman hiding in his bathroom closet. The woman - Lauren - is surprised Arthur can see and hear her. She tells Arthur that her physical body is in a coma and has been for six months. Her "spirit" was somehow separated from her body. Arthur doesn't believe her at first, but pays a visit to the hospital and finds her body. They get to know each other better and soon fall in love, but it doesn't last long. Lauren learns that her body is to be disconnected from the feeding tube and she will die. Arthur promises to help save her and that's when the fun begins...
This book is very well-written. It reminded me of "Message in a Bottle" by Nicholas Sparks. The writing style and the story are both very similar, although "If Only It Were True" is not as tragic as "Message." It's a very quick read - just over 200 pages long. I devoured it in an evening. Even if you're not a fan of romances, you should still try this one. It's sweet and guaranteed to leave a smile on your face, but it's not so full of sap that you will feel ill afterwards. There is a very interesting sub-plot concerning Arthur's mother; I would have almost liked to read more about it, but there was just enough to explain things and not so much that it overshadowed the actual story. The only problem with the book is that the character of Lauren wasn't nearly as well-developed as the character of Arthur. This is a minor point and you don't notice it much while reading it. "If Only It Were True" is a perfect summer read, so run to your local library and find a copy!
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1.0 out of 5 stars golden shovel award nominee number two July 25 2001
Format:Hardcover
i remember going to the booksinging for this: me and maybe one other person had shown up. mark had become so disgusted that he cancelled the signing. when i asked him to sign the book, he rudely took the book from me, scribbled his john hancock and handed it back to me like it was a turd...
i waited almost a year before reading this book. i shouldn't have bothered. typical sitcom tripe. a guy who's a crub moves into a house haunted by the ghost of a woman in a coma; she reveals herself to him, tells him " only you can see me " she pleads for his help, the usual calamity ensues, they fall in love,yada, yada, yada...one of the reasons i haven't watched t.v. in a year was because i wanted to read more, to strengthen my mind. i didn't expect to find books to be this dumbed down...levy proves that all you need to do to aualify as an author is to compose a complete sentence...i was not moved at all by this story...i gave up after the first third, then later sold the book. i could write a better novel and i'm a poet. maybe i should try writing a book. i couln't do any worse than he did. my second nominee for the golden shovel for the worst book i ever read...
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice easy read
Nice story with a nice ending. My international student recommended I read it as it is her favourite book. I enjoyed it and it was a light read. Read more
Published 4 months ago by CTargett
5.0 out of 5 stars Thumbs up!
I thought it was a very cute, funny movie. I would recommend this movie to girlfriends. It's what you call a chick flick.
Published 7 months ago by Denise Vienneau
1.0 out of 5 stars what gives chick lit a bad name
There are some books classified as chick lit that are really good reads with quite redeeming qualities - this ain't one!! Read more
Published 9 months ago by Deborah Benoit Aspler
5.0 out of 5 stars A Love Story To Remember!
Lauren is in a car accident and slips into a coma at a local hospital. Arthur moves into her apartment and find her in his closet. Read more
Published on April 6 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars A catchy read
Okay, so we know from other reviews that this book is on its way to Hollywood (I personally see Lauren played by Mira Sorvino and Arthur played by Michael Vartan), but read the... Read more
Published on Dec 30 2003 by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny, witty, and unexpected!
I admire the author's imagination; how he turned an 'Impossible' situation into a 'Could-happen' one. There are smart jokes, and the ending is unexpected. Read more
Published on March 4 2003 by Mira
5.0 out of 5 stars If Only It Were True
What a wonderful book. I just happened to pick it up at the sale table and have recommended to everyone. Read more
Published on Feb. 14 2003 by Cathy Westley
3.0 out of 5 stars Paranormal love story
Paranormal love story written by first time French author, Marc Levy. Story of a young female doctor who is involved in a car accident and ends up in a coma. Read more
Published on Feb. 13 2003 by Lealing
4.0 out of 5 stars Great imagination
Not quite a ghost story, not quite a romance, not quite a suspense book, but quite a story. Marc Levy spins a wonderful tale, full of imagination. Pick it up for a fun summer read.
Published on Aug. 4 2002 by Thea M. Ryan
5.0 out of 5 stars good....
The story was a little more of soap operaish but I did like the story only it is too slow about Arthur's mom. But It's a great buy! Read more
Published on July 14 2002 by "anqeliqueruby"
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