Can there truly be love after death?
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.
Thrilling and evocative, with moments of pure pleasure, "Hereafter" is a sensation you won't want to miss.
Hardcover, 404 pages
Published June 7th 2011 by HarperCollins
Two and a half stars: A paranormal romance between a ghost and a boy..
Dark, crushing water pushes her down, choking gasping...the nightmare, again. Amelia is a ghost, constantly reliving the nightmarish drowning that killed her. She remains trapped in stasis. Stuck in our world with no knowledge of her previous life or the circumstances surrounding her demise. She constantly finds herself plunged back into the river at the moment of her death, only to wake sometime later in the graveyard. She has no idea how much time has passed since her death. She is alone and afraid and unable to communicate with anyone. Until the night the boy falls into the river. Desperately, she tries to save him from suffering the same fate. Down, down his body falls into the murky depths, while her ghostly hands are useless. She can't grab him, or stop him from drowning. Echoing loudly in her ears is the sputtering beats of his dying heart. Just when all hope seems lost, his eyes pop open; he sees her. Amelia wills him to swim to the surface. At last he drags himself to shore and then he is hauled to safety. A few days later, he returns and finds her at the bridge. He not only can see her, but when he touches her hand, electricity blooms up her arm, and he can feel her. Suddenly, everything is different. Amelia finds herself falling in love with this beautiful boy. Her memories slowly come back and suddenly she is forced to unravel the mystery surrounding her death. Is there something sinister behind her death?
What I Liked:
- My favorite aspect of this book was the mystery surrounding Amelia and her death. I loved the way the author keeps you in the dark about everything regarding Amelia. I was dying to know what happened to her. Little by little the details come out; it definitely kept me turning the pages.
- I liked Eli. He is the dark villainous figure and he is pursuing Amelia for his own twisted reasons. When he first appears on scene he is scary and evil and all that, but as the story progresses and more information on him is revealed, I actually found myself becoming sympathetic toward him and his plight. I like books where the supposed bad guy catches me off guard.
- I couldn't help but like Josh. He is sweet and charming and just an all around good guy. He is sympathetic and caring and has a big, easy going grin almost always plastered across his face.
And The Not So Much:
- My problems with this book revolve around the insta romance that blooms between the ghost and the boy. First, it is just hard to believe that a boy would instantly fall in love with a ghost. Second, even when you suspend rational belief, the whole idea fails because a relationship with a ghost is literally a dead end (pun intended). Nothing positive can come from a romantic relationship between the two and there are no happy endings, unless both parties are dead. Finally, so much of the book focuses on this budding relationship that it overshadows everything else.
- There are a few plot holes and glossing over of details. I found it extremely frustrating that there was never a thorough explanation of the Hereafter. The reader is led to believe that the afterlife involves the strange limbo state that Amelia is caught in, or the alternative that Eli presents which is dark and scary. There are hints that there is something more but it is never revealed. I also was wanting more details on ghosts and their abilities and all of that.
- Josh's Grandma Ruth is a seer and belongs to a coven of witches that exorcise ghosts. There is very little discussion on the coven, their powers and what they do. This was an important part of the book that is just glossed over.
- The end felt rather chaotic and I finished without a complete understanding of who the entities were and why they were controlling the bridge.
- As much as I wanted to like the book and root for the pair, I just couldn't. The entire concept seemed a bit silly. A teenage boy suddenly falling in love with a ghost is just a little hard to swallow.
Hereafter is a book that features a cute romance, although it isn't realistic or believable.
Even though the romance wasn't for me, it might be right for you. If you like a charming boy with an easy smile, you will love Josh. The one good thing about this book is the mystery presented regarding the demise of Amelia and the uncovering of her former life and her death. The mystery is what kept me turning the pages. This is a good book, but just not a good fit for me. If you are in the mood for a ghostly romance give this a try.
"The boy dropped his hands and smiled fully at me. And, with that, the little ache exploded in my chest like a bomb, warming every limb. Warmth, I felt warmth."
"Hours can pass like years when you wait impatiently for something, especially something you crave and dread in equal measure."
"Anyway, it doesn't matter where we go, because I just want to be wherever you are."
"With the slightest turn of his wrist, Joshua wove his fingers between mine and clasped my hand. I let my fingers glide down to clasp back."
"The heat of the little kiss spread across my lips, turning them into two smoldering coals."