Author: Scott Westerfeld
Published: September 23rd, 2014
Read: September 3rd to 21st, 2014
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Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
*An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review*
Darcy Patel has put college and everything else on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. Arriving in New York with no apartment or friends she wonders whether she's made the right decision until she falls in with a crowd of other seasoned and fledgling writers who take her under their wings…
Told in alternating chapters is Darcy's novel, a suspenseful thriller about Lizzie, a teen who slips into the 'Afterworld' to survive a terrorist attack. But the Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead and as Lizzie drifts between our world and that of the Afterworld, she discovers that many unsolved - and terrifying - stories need to be reconciled. And when a new threat resurfaces, Lizzie learns her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she loves and cares about most.
I once started Uglies in my native language, but since I’m not really into translated fiction, I put it down, returned the copy to my local library and never once gave it a second glance. Not going to change that, but I’ll definitely check out Westerfeld’s newest releases in the upcoming years and here are the reasons why.
I didn’t know much about Afterworlds, but had seen a ton of arcs on photos from BEA. I didn’t even expect to get approved for this, to be honest, but so very glad I did. (Thank you, Simon Pulse!) If you’d like to know the unspoilery version of what goes down in this book then all you need to know is that Afterworlds is a diverse YA book that tells the story in alternating POVs of two completely different, yet very similar women, and their growth into people they didn't necessarily expect to become.
Darcy is a high school graduate who moves away from home to pursue her career in writing and her story is quite inspirational. She goes through great character growth and I think that while some people may think her story is a tad more boring than Elizabeth’s, the main character in Darcy’s novel Afterworlds, I think that aspiring writers could definitely benefit from Darcy’s story. Her doubts, right and wrong decisions, growth and lessons learned? I’m not an aspiring writer myself, but if I were, I bet my worries would be something very similar to Darcy’s.
As for Lizzie’s story, since I wasn’t aware what this novel was actually about, I was really shocked about what went down in the opening chapters in Lizzie’s POV, but was immediately hooked! Westerfeld creates a haunting and horrifying atmosphere for Lizzie’s story, but the more her story unravels, the more it lost its edge in my opinion. Most of the time Lizzie was an awesome narrator to follow and root for, but as the end of her story nears, she starts making emotional decisions which you’ll definitely want to yell “No! Don’t do it. Come on, Lizzie! Could you please think with your head right now?” at. You understand her need to do something about the whole situation and help the people she cares about. That doesn’t make you any less frustrated with her in the final parts of the book though.
There’s a romantic plot in both stories and while I enjoyed them, I felt as though there was too much emphasis on both of those romances. No love triangles in either stories. The ending of Darcy’s novel leaves you wanting more and I definitely wondered what happens next for Lizzie and her friends. The world building for Lizzie’s novel, while interesting, felt a tad lackluster. I wanted even more of this unique take on ghosts, reapers and Indian mythology. Too bad it’s a standalone and we don’t get any development on that part. There is a companion novel in the making though and you can read about it here.
As a whole, I loved the idea of this book, what it represented and I mostly enjoyed all the characters and their individual journeys. I wish the romances were a little more on the background, but they were still enjoyable. Same goes for world-building, only in this case, I wish there would have been a little more of it in Lizzie’s paranormal world. Even though I guessed most of the plot twists, I was still surprised by some and overall it made an enjoyable guessing game. I definitely recommend this if you want to read more diverse books and especially if you’re an aspiring writer.
Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5.0
Meet the author
Thank you to Simon Pulse and Edelweiss for providing an arc. My thoughts are my own
and in no way did the review copy affect my opinion on the book.