Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld
Published September 23rd 2014 by Simon Pulse
Genre: contemporary, young adult, fantasy, paranormal
overall rating: 3/5★
BELIEVING IS DANGEROUS…
Darcy Patel is afraid to believe all the hype. But it’s really happening – her teen novel is getting published. Instead of heading to college, she’s living in New York City, where she’s welcomed into the dazzling world of YA publishing. That means book tours, parties with her favorite authors, and finding a place to live that won’t leave her penniless. It means sleepless nights rewriting her first draft and struggling to find the perfect ending… all while dealing with the intoxicating, terrifying experience of falling in love – with another writer.
Told in alternating chapters is Darcy’s novel, the thrilling story of Lizzie, who wills her way into the afterworld to survive a deadly terrorist attack. With survival comes the responsibility to guide the restless spirits that walk our world, including one ghost with whom she shares a surprising personal connection. But Lizzie’s not alone in her new calling – she has counsel from a fellow spirit guide, a very desirable one, who is torn between wanting Lizzie and warning her that…
There are two stories in the book. One of Darcy who is struggling as a first-time author and the second of Lizzie who is the main character in ‘Afterworlds’ which is Darcy’s book.
The alternating chapters of the two stories were quite distracting and the pace of either story can be cut off very abruptly and so disrupting the whole reading experience. Especially when each story start to speed up, it felt lesser than it should have been, which was a little disappointing because I wasn’t as immersed into the story as I would like to be.
Darcy’s story was very interesting. It was refreshing to see the publishing and writing world in the perspective of debut author who is struggling with her own insecurities and doubts while trying to fit in. Darcy felt real, and authentic when her fears were out in the open.
Lizzie’s story was daunting. The paranormal aspect of her story was chilling but fascinating to read. Her relationship with Yamaraj felt a little lacking and it progressed a little too quickly that it didn’t feel real. One thing I enjoyed was that Lizzie’s story started with terrorism. It’s such a real life threat in recent years that the thought of facing terrorism in close proximity frightens me.
Both of their stories are about changes, acceptance and self-discovery. However, the story seemed a little lacking, so I gave it 3 stars.
I’m going to start the spoiler/discussion part now. please read Afterworlds before reading the section below!
I was pleasantly surprised about Darcy’s love interest. I wanted people to find out about her love interest themselves, hence I decided to leave it to the spoilers portion. It was really eye-opening to see Darcy accept her sexuality and for everyone to still treat her the same as per usual was heart-warming. Throughout my reading experience, I was only exposed to male-male romances when they exist in books but rarely female-female love. So Afterworlds really opened my eyes, that love is love and there’s nothing different at all. Though I already knew that, it was lovely to see it written on paper.
A problem that was bugging me was Darcy’s mautrity about her life outside of writing. I know she’s only 17, a teenager, but she seemed a little immature after deciding that she wants to move away to New York. She was so behind on her finances, college and everything else but it wasn’t even addressed at all throughout the book, only when Nisha or her aunt was there.
However, I liked how realistic Darcy’s move to New York was to me. Her fears of moving to a whole new place, fitting in and finding inspiration to write was vividly captured. It showed the ugly and the pretty side of being an author.
Now for Lizzie’s story… Her first kiss with Yamaraj was so out of the blue?! the whole romance felt random and i couldn’t connect with her. Lizzie was so caught up in the bad guy and mr hamlyn that she didn’t had time to explore her powers and what a psychopomp actually do. She only had an experience with agent reyes but she didn’t really escort him to the underworld like how yami does it.
and lizzie was just being impulsive and not clever about the whole situation with mr hamlyn. she knew that he collect children’s memories for his own survival which is horrible and totally unethical, but she still willingly made that connection with him. like come on..
but, I really liked that part where lizzie gave the bad man what he deserved, and gave freedom (?) to the 5 girls in his backyard. it was a little grim knowing that she’s only a teenager but it was for mindy, who was always there with lizzie even when she didn’t know of her presence.
overall, afterworlds felt a little lacking, and the characters weren’t really explored.
that’s the end of my discussion + review! let me know what you think about afterworlds. what are your thoughts about the formatting of the chapters in the book?
“Just consider this, Darcy – real life doesn’t have many happy endings. Why shouldn’t books make up the difference?”
(my aesthetics for afterworlds)