Posted in Young Adult Lit

Afterworlds, by Scott Westerfeld

Scott Westerfeld
2014 by Simon Pulse
ISBN – 9781481422345
Genre – Realistic Fiction/ Paranormal
Age – High School
3.0 Stars

Seventeen year old Darcy wrote her first novel in one month, and now she has a publishing deal. Instead of going to college after she graduates she decides to move to New York City and immerse herself in the world of writing and writers. She learns to live on a budget, sort of, she learns about love, sort of, and she learns all about the nitty gritty life of writing and rewriting, sort of. Told in alternating chapters, we also get a look at Darcy’s first novel. She writes about Lizzie, a high school girl who while flying home to San Diego gets caught in a terrorist attack at the Dallas airport. While playing dead in order to survive, she crossed over into the “afterworld.” When she makes it back to the world of the living she now has special powers. Not only can she move back and forth between worlds, and places within the living world, she can also see ghosts. Now she has to figure out how to navigate these two worlds and the new life they have given her.

I loved the first chapter in the Darcy’s book, as did the publisher, but I wasn’t a huge fan after that. It gave me that “did she just go there” feeling. Honestly, I switched back and forth between which story I liked better. It was rare that I liked both at the same time, which was frustrating. I thought it to be a tad cliché that she wrote her entire novel in the month of November, but some people do, so it didn’t bother me too much. I definitely liked Imogen more than any other character in the book, except for maybe Standerson, but I thought she was unrealistically mature for a 23 year old. She was just too balanced for me. However, with out her balance the entire book might have fallen off the earth! The rest of the characters just didn’t seem fully formed, or were extremely annoying. I disliked, verging on hated every character in the book Darcy wrote. Lizzie was horrendously selfish, her mom was manic, and Mindy was kind of annoying. I’m also pretty sure that the story of  Darcy was unrealistic. Someone correct me if I am wrong, is this what the lives of writers and publishing is like? I like the book in a book idea, and I thought it was done really well, so that’s a plus. I liked the debate of using cultural figures appropriately in literature, but I don’t feel like it was ever resolved. There was no point in which I wasn’t excited to figure out what happened next, it definitely kept me on my toes. I liked that Darcy had to rewrite the ending, and mulled it over in excess, I thought it added to the suspense I was feeling, it kept me guessing. I am quite conflicted about this book. Aspects of it were excellent, and others just fell flat.


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