I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Written by Tara Hudson
Published June, 2011 by HarperCollins
Provided by: Netgalley
Genres: Ghosts, Loss & Grief
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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.
This book started off really well, so much so that I read the first half in one go. I really wanted to find out the story behind Amelia’s death and watch her relationship with Joshua unfold. However, the second half fell rather flat and I my interest in the story began to waver. The end was quite anti-climactic for my tastes.
I quite liked our leading lady, Amelia. There was a great deal of mystery surrounding the circumstances for her death and I enjoyed the way she tried to figure that all out. Unfortunately, the truth behind her death wasn’t exactly something I felt was fitting. I was expecting it to have more depth… I just wasn’t satisfied with the conclusion. I won’t spoil anything for those who are yet to read it – but I guess I was expecting something less coincidental?
Joshua was just okay. I didn’t ‘fall in love’ with him though I thought his initial friendship with Amelia was entertaining. I enjoyed the pace in which their relationship unfolded though it was predictable. I also liked the unique way in which they met.
The secondary characters – and Eli – didn’t do much for me. I didn’t particularly like or dislike any of them, they were just there as Amelia struggled to work out her ghostly existence. And as I mentioned quickly, the ending of the story fell flat for me. There was huge potential in this story for me to really love it and enjoy it, but unfortunately it came a little short. I wouldn’t call it a ‘bad’ read, but it was just okay. I’m certain there are others who WILL love it, though. It’s definitely better than some other YA reads I’ve suffered through in the past year or two.
Tara Hudson is definitely a writer to watch. Although she repeated herself a few times instead of using what I’m sure is a wide vocabulary (I think Amelia referred to feeling or knowing something so strongly in ‘her core’ that I did a little frustrated sigh whenever I read the words) I will be reading future novels from her.
That being said, if there is a sequel to Hereafter I won’t be picking it up. The story and the characters ran their course for me and I think it would be fine ending as a standalone novel rather than exploring the few loose ends left at the books conclusion.
Recommended to: Fans of ghost stories – such as A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb – will enjoy this one!