Aug 1, 2011
I picked up Hereafter by Tara Hudson a few days ago because a) the cover was awesome (I'm shallow like that) and b) it's about ghosts. There's a wee ghostie in my MS and I've started reading other YA to see how authors treat them. It took me about four hours to read the whole thing.
Blurb: 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.
What I liked: The debut author did a great job with her first three chapters. Her cliffhanger at the end of ch. 1 was a super hook. She's nailed her audience by focusing all about the boy because this MC's main drive in her afterlife is to connect with another human. And later, to avoid the baddie.
What I didn't like: At times the writing drags, then speeds up unpredictably. There were a few anachronisms within the ghost context: why couldn't the MC float through walls, etc.? Why does gravity still work on her? Obviously, my idea of how ghosts work is different from Ms. Hudson's, which is part of the fun of supernatural fiction.
In the end: There are still a lot of unanswered questions at the conclusion, which made me think the author is setting up for a sequel. Examining my reaction to this pointed out the fine line between leaving loose-ends and frustrating a reader. It's difficult to do, especially for a debut author and in my case, I was left more with frustration than can't-wait-for-the-sequel taste in my mouth.
But if you've read it and have a different opinion, do share!