Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Book Review: The Everafter by Amy Huntley

Madison Stanton is dead. She's not sure how, or why, but she knows she just... Is. And she's not alone - she's surrounded by little pinpricks of light, which turn out to be all the things she lost when she was alive. Things that, when she touches them, send her back to the moment she lost them.

A bracelet. Age 8. Maddy finds herself in the tree with her best friend, Sandra, right before the branch breaks. Sandra breaks her arm, and Maddy loses her bracelet.

The sweatshirt. Age 17. Maddy's in art class, when Gabe's sweatshirt disappears off the back of her chair. The sweatshirt she's been sleeping in since Sunday, and that's she definitely not giving back.

A purse. Age 17. Maddy's in the bathroom at school when she overhears her ex-friend, Tammy, selling drugs. The purse drops, giving her away, and lies forgotten in Maddy's rush to get out of there, fast.

A ticket stub. Age 7. Maddy's dancing with her dad at the Daddy-Daughter Dance, having the time of her life.

Orchids from her sister Kristen's wedding, age 16. A rattle, age 18 months (SO weird). Underwear from skinny-dipping, age 12. Socks from a sleepover-that-wasn't, age 11.

Slowly, Maddy realizes that none of the objects take her back past age 17. She also realizes that she can change what happened to her in those moments - when she revisits the purse-in-the-bathroom moment, this time grabbing the purse on her way out, she can feel that something has shifted. And when she gets back to Is, the purse isn't there anymore, and she can't remember how things turned out in the other reality, the one where she left the purse behind. As Maddy relives and experiments with more moments of her life, she begins to wonder - can she change what happened to her at the end, if she can ever figure out what did?

This little Morris nominee packs quite a punch! Go back with Maddy to relive the most awkward, heartbreaking, weird, happy, giddy, and mundane moments of her life. Each one fits into the puzzle of what happened, and what it might really mean to live, before and after death. A wholly original look at the afterlife, The Everafter will have you making sure that every moment matters, whether you lost something in it or not.

(finally making time to read Going Bovine by Libba Bray, the 2010 Printz winner!)

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