Sunday, November 9


Scott Westerfeld

My rating: ½

ISBN: 978-1481422345
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Date of publication: September 23, 2014
Age: Grades 10 and up
Genre: Romance, Paranormal Fantasy/Realistic Fiction

Themes: publishing, independence, New York City, death, ghosts, terrorism,

Darcy has just signed a publishing contract for her YA novel, Afterworlds. With her sizable advance, she decides to defer college and move to New York--no friends, no apartment, no idea what she's getting into. Still, she has a network of fellow authors to help guide her--including Imogen, with whom she falls in love. Told in alternating chapters is Darcy's novel about Lizzie, a girl trapped in the middle of a terrorist attack who fakes death so well she travels to the Afterworld. The transition makes her a spirit guide and she must soon learn to navigate her new abilities. She gets help of Lord Yama, a god of the dead, with whom she falls in love.

It's really two books in one and they are both difficult to read. Darcy's story is flat and boring, with no real climax. And it's somewhat unrealistic--not so much about the publishing industry (which has been criticized by others for good reason) but about Darcy's sudden homosexual love life. Like, that came out of nowhere. Darcy as a character was unlikable because she is shallow, insecure, and whiney. The Afterworlds story was a bit more readable with more excitement...but the insta-love (again, unrealistic) combined with a scot-free murder at the end just kills any appreciation one might have for the story.

I'm rather disappointed. Westerfeld has written some great novels in the past for teens. This, however, is a trendy, meta book that seems to be desperate for attention. He throws in paranormal romance, homosexuality, liberal use of the f-word (you'd think authors would have a more impressive vocabulary), death and violence, all while constantly praising his own writing (think about it: every time a character compliments Darcy's book, he's really just complimenting himself). It's really unattractive. I barely finished. I was about to give up, when I just decided to skim all of Darcy's story and then go back and read all of Lizzie's story--no alternating. Made it a little easier, but still not worth it. When I consider his other books, I can't even fathom how this is the same author.

Warning: Explicit Content
Some sexuality
*Also, the terrorist scene at the beginning is pretty graphic.

If you really want to, find it at your library or on Amazon

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