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Friday, September 10, 2010

The Everafter by Amy Huntley

The Everafter by Amy Huntley
Publisher: Harper Teen
Genre: Inspirational, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Age Recommendation: 14+
Length: Short Story (148 pgs)
Rating: 5 suns
Reviewed by Snowdrop

Madison Stanton doesn't know where she is or how she got there. But she does know this—she is dead. And alone, in a vast, dark space. The only company she has in this place are luminescent objects that turn out to be all the things Maddy lost while she was alive. And soon she discovers that with these artifacts, she can reexperience—and sometimes even change—moments from her life.

Her first kiss.

A trip to Disney World.

Her sister's wedding.

A disastrous sleepover.

In reliving these moments, Maddy learns illuminating and sometimes frightening truths about her life—and death.

This is a haunting and ultimately hopeful novel about the beauty of even the most insignificant moments—and the strength of true love even beyond death.

I am actually really impressed that this book doesn't follow the norm for YA books – that being faerie tales, love triangles, or gossipy stories. This debut novel is astonishingly refreshing and has such a lovely writing style.

From the very first line, “I'm dead.”, I was completely stuck on this book. I could not put it down. I am a sucker for beautiful covers and interesting titles, so those are the first reasons I was drawn to the book. Then the idea of being dead and not knowing how you died, nor who you really were, intrigued me.

Maddison, our 17 year old narrator, cannot understand how she died, let alone who she really was when she was alive. As she stumbles upon items she lost during her life, she realizes that each one will bring her back to the moment she lost them, where she can observe or change what happens. I found myself wanting to yell at Maddy as she tries to change things. I understood she wanted things to be different than they were, but I worried she would change the future too much and lose who she already was. This is such a great feeling when you are that compelled to want to interact with the character and give them advice.

I absolutely loved the idea that lost items are there in the afterlife for us to find and re-experience different parts of our lives and see them from an outsiders point of view. I believe that while Maddy entered into scenes from her life, she actually learned more about who she was, what her family and friends really meant to her and that sometimes it's the small things in life that we take for granted.

Each interaction that Maddy has with someone from her life and afterlife lead to her finding an understanding of life and death. Eventually we will all die, it's just a matter of when and how. So once you are gone, would you really want to change it all?

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