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.
Description taken from Goodreads.
Before I say anything, I need to say that even starting from the dedication, AFTERWORLDS meant something to me.
I’ve respected Scott Westerfeld as an author for a long time, starting from the very first time I read LEVIATHAN to the UGLIES series to here, AFTERWORLDS, but none of this books have truly struck a personal note with me until this book. The dedication reads:
To all you wordsmiths, you scribblers, you wrimos in your vast numbers, for making writing a part of your reading.
Yes. YES. A millions yesses and thank yous to Scott Westerfeld for this ^^.
As if that wasn’t enough, Scott Westerfeld made this book relatable to anyone, especially any kid, who has ever aspired to be something and legitimately thought through and worked for that something. Not only that, but this book is about writing. YA writing. About agents, blurbs, publication, queries, the beautiful, uncertain mess that both publishing and writing are.
There are so many arguments against this book, but really–especially if it interests you–please do read it. If you are an aspiring writer or one of those teenagers who dare to dream about getting a book deal at age 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, this is a book for you. It’s rare, and writing is never easy (in any form), but it does happen, and it happens to Darcy in this book. Paula Stokes and Veronica Roth are just two of the authors this has happened to, and numerous authors have been traditionally published after being found on Nanowrimo.
AFTERWORLDS is definitely long, longer than it needs to be at parts, but the way that this book is constructed and the two stories within this book mesh together is beautiful and truly shows just how much of a writer’s actual life and experiences are embedded into a story. AFTERWORLDS is constantly making fun of the publishing industry as a whole, bringing in the ups and downs and the way that young writers and old writers alike think. I loved so much of this book because of the numerous things that I could relate to. This book is one big book about writing that is so true in it’s entirety and so masterfully crafted that I can’t even begin to explain how much this story stands out from other fiction works that talk about writing.
There are things that I disliked, and certainly things that will draw the average reader away from this book. For one thing, it is long. For another, at certain parts, it feels long. Then not everyone will agree with the LGBT aspects of this story. Then there’s the matter that not everyone will understand the sheer amount of satire in this story. Overall, I think this book and how a reader will understand it will differ each time depending on the person. If you’re interested in reading this book, I would recommend reading the first 50 pages and see how things pan out from there. If you’re someone who loves to read and/or write, I would definitely recommend this book for you.
And Scott Westerfeld…
For a better understanding of all the humor and the arguments for/against this book, I would recommend taking a look at this great review. 4.3 stars.
pg count for the hardback: 600