“Afterworlds” by Scott Westerfield (2014)
Genre: YA, Fiction, Paranormal, Contemporary
Page Length: 599 pages (hardcover edition)
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. (description from Goodreads)
Afterworlds was different from other YA novels I’ve read before/most recently. I was intrigued to read this book since I had read Westerfield’s Uglies series years before and I really enjoyed the story line and characters.
I thought the alternation of chapters between Darcy (the writer) and Lizzie (the main protagonist of Darcy’s story) was a nice touch. Where one story paused, another one started. The novel not only takes an in-depth look at the process of creative writing, but also gives a glimpse of the book publishing industry.
What I liked the most about the novel is that I felt I could really sympathize with Darcy’s struggles of wanting to reinvent herself in the “Big Apple”. I also could relate to how hard it actually is to write a good story. It’s definitely not as easy as it looks. But this book utimately got me to start thinking about taking the time to write again and work on creating a novel.
Despite some of the negative the reviews of the story I’ve seen, I personally couldn’t see much wrong with it. Even though it did seem a bit weird that Darcy’s manuscript got picked up by a publisher so fast and many other features, I can’t say I know a lot about the publishing world. I don’t really know the straight facts of how publishing exactly works, but I do know that this book is fiction so some things may be exaggerated.
Overall, I enjoyed both “stories”and the growth of Lizzy and Darcy over the length of the novel. Darcy becomes more confident in her writing skills and Lizzie starts to come to terms with having one foot in the real world, and the other in the afterlife.
Not as good as Westerfield’s Uglies series, but still a thrilling YA read. 4 out of 5 stars!