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.
This book guys, this book. I really wanted to like it but honestly I just don’t. There were some very excellent things and some unique and good ideas but it just didn’t work out in the end. So for this review I’m going to list the good and the bad.
- The good: This book had a unique idea to tell the story of an author and at the same time let readers see the book she wrote. I’ve never seen this done before.
- The bad: By combining these two stories there is a huge genre difference (contemporary verses paranormal), the book is HUGE but neither story really had enough room to be fleshed out, the ties between the two stories are not strong enough to justify the combination. I would have preferred two separate books with more attention paid to each.
- The good: The story focused on a YA writer for a YA audience.
- The bad: Both stories are really more new adult then young adult. Darcy (the contemporary story) is out of high school and finding her place in the world which SCREAMS new adult. Lizzie (the paranormal story) is in high school for part of the story, but as she is graduating and trying to figure out what to do with her life after everything that has happened it makes the story passable for new adult.
- The good: There is a hint of romance that could appeal to readers.
- The bad: The romance fell rather flat. Darcy’s romantic story was full of drama, insecurity, lack of trust, and frankly wasn’t something I wanted to read. Lizzie’s romance was something I would have liked to see develop instead of the fast roller coaster it took (I think this has a lot to do with the shortness of that story, with more attention this might have been done nicely).
- The good: There were some amazingly awesome characters like Darcy’s sister who was real, fun, and someone I’d like to know. She didn’t feel forced, added in for the sake of creating diversity or comic relief.
- The bad: The main characters of Darcy and Lizzie fell flat. I personally can’t stand Darcy, everything is given to her and she still is insecure and irresponsible. Lizzie was better but she just didn’t stick with me like some of the other minor characters.
- The good: Darcy’s story had many hidden gems about publishing that were fascinating if you know the publishing world. I enjoyed reading about BEA from an author’s perspective and reading things about “Publisher’s Brunch” and the like.
- The bad: Darcy’s story was terribly unrealistic which really surprised me. Darcy writes a book during National Novel Writing Month (which seems to be the first novel she ever wrote) and then lands an agent and a HUGE publishing deal all within a few months. I’ve never met an author who had an experience like this. I know authors who wrote ten stories before their book was picked up by a publisher and so many authors do not get huge advances for their books and even less do when they are debut authors. Having this story, which could have informed readers to the life of an author, instead shows an unrealistic representation of the publishing world, which is a shame. Also for readers who do not know the publishing world they might not enjoy the story of a writer. I’m interested to see the reaction from readers not involved in the publishing world.
So there you have it. A great premise and lots of great gems but overall it just didn’t work for me.