I am well familiar as a long-time fan of fantasy and science fiction with the term “suspension of disbelief.” As in, “I know that there is no [faster than light travel/werewolves/hobbits/Mr. Spock] but I will accept it for the sake of the story.”
Sometimes, however, even I can have difficulty accepting a premise, such as the one in SCALA by Christina Bauer.
The idea here is that Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory exist, but not in the usual Christian or popular secular conceptions. Heaven still seems to be where good souls go and Hell where bad souls go. Purgatory, however, is a kind of warehouse where the souls are stored in something like suspended animation. The person who determines their fates is the Scala, selected by birth, or fate, and her decision is final. It cannot be undone.
In this case, however, the Scala is Myla Lewis, a 19-year-old girl who is concerned about her love life, mean girls, and other teen-age dramas.
This alternate reality has subsets of ghouls, archangels, angels, devils, and demons who interact in various confusing ways. For example, Myla is also an accomplished fighter who enjoys battling demons. This is illustrated in the following passage, when Myla and her boyfriend, Prince Lincoln, are talking about what to do after a big party they will attend:
“After the Ball, how about joining me on demon patrol?” asks Lincoln. This is where thrax sneak onto Earth’s surface and kill some baddies. It’s their whole raison d’etre, and it can be a kick-ass experience, depending on the demon in question.
“The House of Kamal reported some trouble in Bali… Bali happens to be home to the very rare and interesting Blue Simia.” This variety of baddie is a monkey-giant hybrid that spits purple poison. I’ve been dying to fight one for ages.
“You know.” Lincoln taps his chin, as if the thought were just appearing in his mind. “I think they may have reported seeing a Blue Simia or two.” I exhale a bliss-filled sigh.
“Oh, Lincoln. You say the sweetest things.”
“So, is it a plan?”
“Absolutely. Formal Ball followed by killing Blue Simia. Sold.”
Bauer is a good writer. She captures the essence of the teen mentality and makes this alternate world seem plausible. The book is fun and the action non-stop. If any of this sounds interesting, I recommend you obtain a copy. You will no doubt enjoy it. For myself, however, I have a difficult time suspending my disbelief enough to truly get into the story.