Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.
Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.
Thrilling and evocative, with moments of pure pleasure, Hereafter is a sensation you won't want to miss.
Amelia doesn't remember anything from her past life other than her name and the fact that she died, or drowned I should say. She can't feel anything she touches or use any of her other senses. No one can see her either no matter how much she screams. Then one day, by some miracle, she saves a boy from drowning and as a result he can suddenly see her. With each passing day the two get closer, all the while unraveling secrets behind her past. Of course things couldn't be easy, which is proved by a particularly malevolent spirit known as Eli who will stop at nothing to claim Amelia for himself.
I have to admit that I was a little gun shy to read this book. I just didn't see how a romance between a girl and a ghost could really work out, or at least be realistic at all. I mean the whole insubstantiality of her physical body would have to make things difficult, to say the least. However, after reading hereafter, I'm really glad I gave it a chance. The romance between Amelia and Joshua was really sweet, and quite realistic even if it was a little rushed. Of course, when you consider the circumstances, with Amelia saving his life, and Joshua being the first person to ever be able to see her, it is no wonder they fell so fast. Despite the difficulties and obstacles they face, they find a way to make things work. I can only hope that they continue to push past everything and find a way to be completely together, but I imagine only time will tell.
This book was spooky without actually being scary. The things Amelia has had to deal with in her afterlife as well as some other elements that I can't mention without spoiling things are really horrible. Yet, despite all this she never once gave up or turned hard. I fact, the more things that happen, and the more "evil" that tries to claim her, the more determined she is to do the right thing, making her quite admirable. However, speaking of once of those forces against her, I couldn't help but be a little disappointed at the "bad" guy. I realize he was supposed to be really scary and a huge threat, but I just didn't feel it. Perhaps if one specific secret had been revealed earlier it would have made a difference, but by that time Amelia had already "grown" so much that it only fueled her anger rather than her fear. This really isn't a huge complaint, I just prefer the bad guys to make me actually feel the threat rather than just tell me about.
It took a little while for me to really get into Hereafter as it had a pretty slow start, but once things started to be revealed, I was hooked. I really found the "world" to be fascinating, and it feels like we have only scratched the surface of what the afterlife really is. While the ending was sweet and left me with a sense if satisfaction, there were so many questions left unanswered, making me quite eager for the next installment. In the end, Hereafter is a really great YA debut novel that you won't want to miss.