Title: The Everafter
Author: Amy Huntley
Genre: Young Adult
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (September 29, 2009)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
About the book: (from Amazon)
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 these artifacts, she can reexperience—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.
This is a haunting and ultimately hopeful novel about the beauty of even the most insignificant moments—and the strength of true love even beyond death.
I finished this book some time back and I loved it, but when it came to writing a review I was stuck. I didn’t know where to begin. This is not a book where you can simply tell the plot and what worked and what didn’t. I wasn’t sure where it was going in the beginning but as it progressed I knew that The Everafter would definitely be a great read.
Let’s give it a try. As the book opens Madison is trapped in a bubble or a tiny space of nothingness. She knows she is dead. She sees objects all around her, some of them are really of little worth-like a sweatshirt, a bracelet, orchids, or so it seems, until she connects to the objects that take her back to the moments of her life where she lost them. It finally dawns on her that she is surrounded by lost things, things she lost when she was alive and these things are her only means to go back and experience it once again, to find out what really happened to her and why she is dead when she is just 17 years old.
As she goes through the moments of her life through the lost things, she remembers she has a boyfriend, a best friend and a family. What starts as an effort to remember and piece together her life, turns out into figuring out the meaning of life and death.
There are moments of brilliance in Amy Huntley’s writing. I especially remember a couple of chapters on Emily Dickinson’s poems and how Madison connects them to her life and death and the kind of ‘aha’ moment when she discovers what it means. I don’t like poetry because I don’t have the patience to understand it. But this book made me want to do that, to understand the depth and feelings that the poet might have wanted to convey. That for me is powerful writing.
The book raises questions that we sometimes think about but don’t say out loud. What happens after we die? And although I don’t think the intention of this book is to answer that, it does makes Madison realize the meaning of life and death and moving on.
As the author Amy Huntley puts it
I realized that Madison’s quest to make peace with moving on to The Everafter is really the same battle that everyone goes through as they grow and become someone new.
Read it to really know what I’m talking about.