Released: June 7, 2011
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Cavalier House Books
Can there truly be love after death?Back in January I received an amazing stack of ARCs John picked up at Winter Institute. With titles like Wither and Hourglass (both of which I loved profusely), I felt like I was on a winning streak and dove into Hereafter despite my self-induced break from paranormal. Unfortunately, this was not the book I was hoping would welcome me back to the genre.
Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.
Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.
I feel like I'm one of the few bloggers who hasn't addressed the "insta-love" trend in YA. It's not that I don't see it, it's just that I typically don't have that much of an issue with it. Is it realistic to me now? No. Is it realistic to teenage me? Yes. Despite its ridiculousness, teenagers can be dramatic. I know I was. So insta-love in a lot of ways is very realistic to me in YA because my teenage life was constantly insta-fill-in-the-blank. That said, the insta-love in Hereafter - so not realistic.
I thought the story had a lot of promise. The plot definitely delivered enough to keep me reading. I just felt like after 400 pages I should care about the characters, but I didn't. None of them were developed enough to make me root for them, to make me hate them, to make me feel . . . anything. This novel lacked the emotional connection I crave while reading, which was what ultimately disappointed me.
The writing wasn't bad at all, and like I said, the story had a lot of promise. For a debut, I've certainly read much worse. I'd still be willing to give book two a try in hopes that the things lacking in book one find their way to the sequel.
Don't just take my word for it. Plenty of people enjoyed Hereafter. Here's what other bloggers had to say:
The Book Scout
A Good Addiction