Can there truly be love after death?
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.
Before I gush about this book - because you know I will - I want to say a big THANK YOU to Lara from HarperCollins Australia for sending me a finished copy of HEREAFTER. Now as a kid I always loved reading ghost stories, no matter how creepy they were, but over these last few years no ghost story has ever captured my attention nor my heart until I read this book. HEREAFTER is not only an interesting take on the "afterlife" but it also offered up a beautiful love story about a girl whose soul is dead and lost but wants to keep living and a boy who is actually living. I'm a sucker when it comes to these type of these stories and characters who are unforgettable.
The thing I loved most about Tara Hudson's writing is how she developed Amelia's character. From the very first chapter we were straight away introduced to the main character and we're only learning so little about her. Because she knows nothing about herself and her past life - not even how she died. She only knows two things: 1) she drowned and 2) she's obviously dead. For a number of years Amelia has been wandering in limbo . . . seeing everything without people seeing her. Her story is a very haunting one on its own. To lose everything you once lived for, to lose the only identity you've ever known, would be a very frightening way of living even in death. But once a boy enters the picture . . . everything changes. For her life and for his.
Joshua. Sweet, caring, boy-next-door and loveable Joshua Mayhew. After Amelia finds his body drowing in the river she once died in, there's an instant connection. As Amelia desperately tries to save him - even knowing she can do so little because she's dead and can touch nothing - there's something different about their first meeting. Joshua died briefly and in that time he could actually see her. After this near-death experience, a few days after the accident, Joshua returns to the scene, dying to learn more about his mysterious savior and then things begin to click into place. To be honest here, I've read A LOT of young adult books and love-at-first-sight relationships . . . but nothing can be compared to the honest and heart-felt relationship between Amelia and Joshua. From the intense touches they share to the life Joshua puts back into Amelia's hollow soul, all of it was so heartwarming and I want the sequel pronto!
Without giving the plot away, HEREAFTER is the perfect debut novel for young adult book lovers and a perfect start to an awesome series. For those - like me - who enjoy worlds of the living and of the dead colliding, for those who love intriguing mythology, for those who love touching romance, for those who love charming characters . . . then you'll love this book to death. No pun intended. HEREAFTER will lure you from its first page and bring you into the unknown as its story will haunt you forever.