THIS BOOK WAS AMAZING AND EVERY WRITER NEEDS TO READ IT AND LET ME TELL YOU WHY.
This is a spoiler free review!
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.
I’ve been in a bit of a writing slump lately. Well, okay, a major writing slump. It’s been almost impossible for me to get any motivation to write, even just a short blog post. But Afterworlds gave me that extra motivation I needed! It’s partly a contemporary story about the life of a writer and partly that writer’s paranormal novel. So it was basically just looking at authors and saying “Hey, look, this is what you can achieve!”
The whole idea of two stories being told in one book kind of weirded me out at first. It seemed like it would be really confusing. But it actually worked really well! There were a lot of parallels between the two worlds, but they’re still very, very different, and it was really easy to keep track of each more-or-less separate story.
It was a pretty diverse book, too. The main character was a queer person of color, and I felt as though the representation was very well handled. Darcy’s race and sexuality affected her, but it wasn’t like her whole life revolved around being a queer person of color, either. Afterworlds handled some tricky subjects like cultural appropriation and coming out quite well, without making itself into a “problem book”.
Unfortunately, this book wasn’t exactly perfect.
Lizzie’s story felt suuuuuuper cliched, and at a few points, it did get kind of boring, especially when compared to the AMAZING first chapter. But I think that proves one of the points that the story overall was trying to make- your first novel may have a great concept, and a great plot, and great characters, but it’s not going to be perfect, because it’s your first novel, and writing takes practice.
Some of the secondary characters in both stories felt a bit cardboard and two dimensional, too, like Lizzie’s friend (I don’t remember her name) and Yamaraj (the death god who Lizzie falls in love with). But Darcy, Imogen, and Lizzie all felt very well developed, so I didn’t really mind!
So, I mean, overall…
Critically, it’s a little rough at some points, but I still LOVED this book. Recommended to any writer who’s finding themself in a bit of a slump.
4 out of 5 stars
Recommended to: any writers, and YA fans who want to know a little more about the craft