By Amy Huntley
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 theses artifacts, she can re-experience—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.
The story is told through the different vignettes of Madison going back to the moments when she lost a a particular item. At first it's just to experience being alive and seeing her loved ones but then she realizes she can use these moments to unravel the how ans why of her death.
The format is unusual.
It jumps back and forth from her dead self to times in her life where she can be anywhere in age from an infant to seventeen.The style was choppy and uncomfortable but I kept reading and got into the flow. I liked Maddy and felt compelled to go along for the ride, wanting fo find out more about her and how her life ended.
Humor and sadness weave in and out. Lots of Emily Dickinson references so if you like her poetry, you should really enjoy this book because it is clear the author is a fan.
The characters are believable but where I think Huntley really shines is making the various relationships realistic and honest - friends, rivals, sisters, boyfriend/girlfriend, parent/child.
This is paranormal, technically, but not in the usual sense.
Yes, you're reading about her as a ghost, but his is a story about Maddy's life and how she comes to understand herself and the people around her, with the side note of finding out the mystery of how she died. There's no woo-woo, creepy, haunting kind of stuff.
The author does put in life messages about, the afterlife and how you should live and enjoy your life when you are alive, but all that doesn't come in until the very end so it doesn't bog down the story and it isn't heavy handed. I thought the ending fell a bit flat but it wasn't a high energy kind of book anyway, and it didn't detract from my overall enjoyment.
While I wouldn't call it fantastic, I liked and recommend The EverAfter. There isn't a big time commitment- I finished it in a couple hours - so it's a fast read if not fast paced. The story weaves and lingers in a good way. If you have a short block of time and would like to finish an interesting and thought provoking book, give The EverAfter a whirl.
The Cover: I know this is a common style these days but I think it's beautiful.
First Line: I’m dead. Not my-parents-told-me-to-be-home-by-twelve-and-it’s-two-o’clock-now dead. Just dead. Literally. I think.
Fabulous first line! Great voice. I like the character immediately and am interested to read more. Well done Ms Huntley!
Author Sites: http://amyhuntley.com/
*** FYI, my ARC has the same cover art but the title is The After. They changed it to The EverAfter on the final books. Which title do you prefer?