After searching through numerous Amazon recommendation lists, I finally found a book that peeked my interests. Hereafter is Tara Hudson’s debut novel about a ghost, Amelia, who manages to save a boy’s life. I hadn’t read a ghost story in a while, and this seemed like something fresh and different that I could possibly enjoy reading.
In Hereafter, Amelia wanders around a small Oklahoman town aimlessly. She doesn’t remember how she died or even what her last name is. When a boy, Josh, accidentally drives his car off High Bridge, Amelia tries her best to save his life. She “wills” him to wake up and swim when he’s drowning, and miraculously, he does. However, the miracle causes Josh to be able to, not only see, but touch Amelia. He instantly becomes fascinated with her, and it’s impossible for her not to respond in the same way. Together, they try to find a way to be with each other and battle the evil that lurks around High Bridge.
Hereafter didn’t turn out how I expected. The small town setting gives me a bit of a Vampires Diaries vibe. The vibe lingers on some of the characters as well. The romance between Amelia and Josh seemed a bit Twilight-ish. I blame most of that on Hudson’s descriptors of emotions. In case you were wondering, it’s possible for a ghost to feel “breathless” like all the time. While Josh and Amelia’s relationship is a bit corny at times, their connection feels pretty real. I did enjoy the moments when Josh would try to sneak her into his bedroom or classroom, while trying not to make it look like he was talking to himself.
The story is fairly interesting. There’s a ton of setup, and we learn a lot about Amelia and everything that being a ghost entails. I was hoping that the story would dig deeper into the ghost mythology. It barely scraped the surface. Our main vessel of information was the evil Eli. Eli is another ghost who has been stalking Amelia since the beginning. Eli’s job is to claim souls and trap them in High Bridge. He wants Amelia to be his partner, and of course Amelia wants nothing to do with him.
In addition, another thing I wanted was to learn more about Amelia’s past life, and maybe see her try to connect with her mother. At the time I was reading, I thought Hereafter was a standalone book. But by the time I finished, there were quite a few loose ends. I did my research and SURPRISE!, like almost every other YA novel, Hereafter is the first of a trilogy. I must admit that I am glad it is because this story has a ton of potential to grow into something interesting and complex. And I hope that Hudson learns from her preliminary mistakes and tweaks her style of writing. In the meantime, I look forward to Hereafter’s sequel, Arise, which I believe comes out some time next year.
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