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I Belong

Review: Hereafter by Tara Hudson

Title: Hereafter

Author: Tara Hudson

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Series: Hereafter (Book 1)

Publication Date: June 7, 2011

Format: Hardcover, 416 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062026771 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062026774 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Emmy


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.

Quick & Dirty: While the stakes were high enough to create a satisfying climax, I loved the characters so much it didn’t bother me.

Opening Sentence: It was the same as always, but different from the first time.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Amelia doesn’t haunt people. She doesn’t haunt places, either — at least not on purpose. She can’t help it if her nightmares drag her back to High Bridge and drown her again and again in the dark water there. She lives in a fog. She knows she drowned in the river beneath that horrible bridge, but she can’t remember it. She barely remembers her own name. Until the night Joshua drives his car off the bridge. Suddenly, who she is and how she came to wander the world doesn’t matter. Saving him matters. When she can hear his heartbeat counting down his last breaths, she thinks she’s lost him. But in those last few moments of death, he hears her. He sees her. Something so impossible Amelia can hardly believe it. Except that he speaks to her.

He doesn’t drown. Which in the end creates a whole new spectrum of problems for Amelia. He’s the first person to see her in years (or at least, what she assumes were years) and though she doesn’t want to lose that, he deserves to know the truth. The truth turns complicated as Amelia realizes Joshua’s family is more than meets the eye. As their feelings for each other grow, they begin to search out who Amelia really is. Enter Eli, the only other ghost Amelia’s ever known. He reigns over the netherworld under High Bridge. He wants Amelia to rule it with him.

Joshua is probably my favorite character in Hereafter. He is so sincere when Amelia meets him, I couldn’t help but love him. They didn’t share an insta-love, but it’s obvious from the beginning that they’re both attracted. The novel follows the progression of their relationship first and foremost, with the Eli-plot coming in second. Because of this, the reader spends a lot of time learning about Amelia and Joshua and the world Hudson’s built around their romance. Didn’t get me wrong, I devoured it, but if I didn’t absolutely love Joshua it would’ve made for a looong read.  My biggest problem with the plot of Hereafter was that nothing really felt like it was at risk until the very, very end. It wasn’t tension that kept me turning pages, but the idea that there had to be more to this book than their romance.

Eventually, it got there. The build-up eventually pays off, especially in the sequel. The writing of Hereafter is easy, Amelia’s narrative was easy to fall into and fun to read. She’s dead, but she isn’t mopey about it — instead Amelia’s funny. Her references to the 90s made me laugh out loud. Hereafter’s focus is the characters. Since Hudson builds such incredible love-able ones, the book flew by in a flurry of turned pages.

Notable Scene:

“Joshua?” she asked, her tone strained. “Who is that with—“

She didn’t finish the question but instead leaned forward to peer at the space beside Joshua. The space in which I currently stood.

At that moment I froze, too.
I had the instant, disconcerting notion that Joshua?s grandmother was about to ask him who was standing beside him. But that was impossible. Only Joshua and Eli could see me. I’d proved it today in Joshua’s classroom.

Nonetheless, I itched with the impulse to run; and before I could give it any rational thought, I whispered, “Joshua, maybe I should come by some other—“

The entire sentence hadn’t left my mouth when Ruth jerked upright, rigid-straight again. Her eyes riveted on mine. Her right hand, which had previously clutched the mail, dropped to her side, scattering paper in noisy flutters across the kitchen floor. Still facing me, she drew in one sharp breath.

And with that breath, she told me all I needed to know.

Ruth heard me.

Hereafter Series:

1. Hereafter

2. Arise

3. Elegy

FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Hereafter. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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