Rating: 4 stars
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…
BELIEVING IS DANGEROUS.
In a brilliant high-wire act of weaving two epic narratives – and two unforgettable heroines – into one novel, Scott Westerfeld’s latest work is a triumph of storytelling.
The first time I read this book, I couldn’t put it down. It was about writing, and the world surrounding it, which fascinated me so much because I wanted to be a part of it. That was back in 2015, before I started writing here, before I graduated from college and was still doing my internship. I also loved reading the novel itself within the pages because Lizzie has such a fascinating story to tell.
Reading it again a second time, I’m just as enthralled with Darcy’s life as I was before. And I love Lizzie’s story just as much. To be honest, the way Westerfeld switches between worlds is one of my favorite things about Afterworlds. He does a good job of choosing when to end each chapter so that you’re hungry for more of what your leaving behind.
I also love this book because it’s a combination of young adult literature and paranormal romance. I love how the conflict Darcy goes through with her writing and her relationship with Imogen. You get to see her experience New York for the very first time, dealing with things writers deal with once a book is published while figuring out how relationships work. With Lizzie, I enjoy the paranormal aspects of her story like when she’s just back from the airport and truly realizes what’s happened to her and her learning more about the world she’s becoming a part of. I enjoyed learning about her mother’s childhood friend Mindy and seeing the flipside world.
Afterworlds is a good read for me because it talks about writing a lot. I enjoy reading fictional stories that bring up real-life concepts, such as what it’s like being a writer and beginning the process of getting your book into the world. I enjoyed Darcy’s interactions with other authors as she struggled to figure out what she needed to do and she struggled with getting her second novel started.
However, there were a lot of things lacking overall in this book that I feel need to be addressed. For one, I felt like there wasn’t a whole lot of conflict when it came to Darcy’s new life and the characters just seemed a little flat to me. What I mean is that I feel like the biggest problems Darcy dealt with as soon as she arrived in New York was getting her novel completed and her relationship with Imogen. You didn’t really hear about too much else going on with her in the story except when problems with Imogen occurred, which mostly happened because of Darcy’s inexperience with relationships. Even the fact that she could barely afford to live in New York wasn’t really addressed, she just spent her money however she wanted anyway. It also just felt like her relationship with Imogen came out of nowhere because she never mentions having feelings for her until Imogen confessed the way she felt about Darcy. The characters seemed flat to me because there wasn’t really any development as time went on, except with Lizzie, which wasn’t all that much either. Everyone pretty much stayed the same from the beginning to end, the only difference was that time moved forward in both stories.
I also didn’t particularly like the way Lizzie’s character developed when she was introduced into this new world. She gained this new ability to go into the flipside and see ghosts, yet immediately becomes attached to the first ghost she meets. She uses her new ability to cause bodily harm to another human being, but actually suffers no consequences for her actions. I understand why she hurts this person, but I still don’t think it’s the right way she could’ve done this and I feel like she hasn’t really learned much from the experience. I get she’s very curious about this new world she’s become a part of and wants to learn as much as she can about it. But I felt like that particular situation wasn’t necessary because there was no consequence for making that choice.
Overall, I enjoyed reading Afterworlds despite some of the problems I had with the overall plot and character development. Westerfeld’s writing really made this story enjoyable for me as I heard characters talk about writing and the two stories within made me interested in continuing to read to see what happened next. I look forward to reading more works by this author in the near future.