The Everafter – Amy Huntley
Genre: YA; Paranormal; Romance
Summary: Maddy Stanton knows she’s dead, but no matter how hard she tries, she cannot remember the circumstances surrounding her death. While her physical body no longer exists, her soul lives on in a place called “Is,” an in-between space that isn’t the Everafter (the place people go after they’ve accepted their deaths), nor is it life. While Maddy does seem stuck between a rock and a hard place, Is does offer one very unique thing: all of the objects she has lost over the years are with her, and by thinking of the situation along with the object, she’s able to visit the memory of when the item was lost. Will Maddy ever discover the circumstances surrounding her death through these lost objects, or will she be stuck in Is forever?
Review: The Everafter ensnared me from the very first pages, and even though I was pretty tired when I started reading it, I had absolutely no desire to put it down. This is a quick read that will leave you turning the pages feverishly as you try to puzzle together the events surrounding Maddy’s death right along with her.
One of the biggest strengths of this book centered around the philosophical questions throughout. Huntley didn’t shy away from discussing the question of whether or not a supreme being existed, and if one did, why was Maddy in this state of limbo? In the same vein, The Everafter also touched on the experience of being in two places at once, as Maddy and other characters were both alive and dead simultaneously. Can we exist on two different planes? I’ve often thought about this myself, and if nothing else, The Everafter will definitely get other readers thinking about life and death in these terms, too.
I thought it was really interesting that Huntley chose to use objects as memory attachments for Maddy. Many people really do get attached to their possessions, and allowing Maddy to return to different times and places by associating the lost object with a memory was a really neat idea.
Maddy was a very authentic teenager, full of doubt and questions, which made her extremely relatable. At one point, I think she even remarked that everyone else who was dead understood both life and death better than her, and she couldn’t believe that she still didn’t understand it all, even after her own death. The romance between Gabe and Maddy was incredibly sweet and genuine, and I found myself smiling whenever the pair were together.
While this isn’t the happiest of novels, it is an interesting one and definitely worth reading if you’re into questions about life and death or paranormal books. The pacing of The Everafter would also make this a great choice for reluctant readers, as it moves quickly and there is very rarely a dull moment. I can’t wait to read more from this author.
Read-alikes: Everlost – Neil Shusterman, A Certain Slant of Light – Laura Whitcomb, The Adoration of Jenna Fox – Mary E. Pearson, If I Stay – Gayle Forman