Thanks so much to Simon and Schuster Canada for my review copy! This in no way affects my opinion or review.
Darcy Patel has put college and everything else on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. Arriving in New York with no apartment or friends she wonders whether she’s made the right decision until she falls in with a crowd of other seasoned and fledgling writers who take her under their wings…
Told in alternating chapters is Darcy’s novel, a suspenseful thriller about Lizzie, a teen who slips into the ‘Afterworld’ to survive a terrorist attack. But the Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead and as Lizzie drifts between our world and that of the Afterworld, she discovers that many unsolved – and terrifying – stories need to be reconciled. And when a new threat resurfaces, Lizzie learns her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she loves and cares about most.
This is my first Scott Westerfeld read and I was pleasantly surprised by it! I’ve been wanting to read his Uglies series for a while, and I actually own his novel, Leviathan. But I hadn’t read either. After reading Afterworlds, however, I definitely want to.
Afterworlds is actually two tales: the story of Darcy Patel, a teen writer who earns a 6-figure-book deal and moves to New York, and the story of Lizzie, the protagonist of her novel. Chapters alternate between the two characters. As a teen writer myself, Darcy was the character that I related to the best. I loved reading about the life after the book deal–the stress, meeting other authors, going on a book tour, signing her book at BEA (yes, this is actual a scene. How cool is that?!), etcetera. I really enjoy reading about other writers. Getting that inside peek into the world of a debut author completely made the book for me!
I had a harder time connecting with Lizzie, the MC of Darcy’s story, although I think this got better as the book progressed. This book opens with Lizzie surviving a terrorist attack, an experience that unleashes her ability to travel between worlds. Westerfeld did a good job of explaining how her ability worked, which was certainly a plus for me, and for the most part I was hooked by her part of the story!
The alternating perspectives was done really well. Most of the chapters ended on a suspenseful note, so that I wanted to continue reading. I do wish that the girls’ stories had more parallels and I could see how the related to each other, something I thought to be lacking, though.
There are two story worlds in this novel: our Earth and the mystical realm of the Afterworld. Clearly, a well-developed world is necessary for fantasy realm and I think Westerfeld did this well, but I also appreciated the thoughtful descriptions of New York City for Darcy’s world.
My first thought when this book arrived in the mail? Whoa, that’s a big book! And it is, sitting at 600+ pages. It isn’t the type of book that you’d sit down and read all at once (It took me a week or two to finish, but that might be due to travelling), but in the end, it was worth it for me due to the interesting premise, world-building and teen writer protagonist. Four stars!