Authoress: Gabrielle Zevin
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Condensed: Liz wakes up on a boat in plain white pajamas unsure of how she got there and where she is going. Upon docking she is introduced to her grandma Betty and informed she is now in Elsewhere. Elsewhere is a place were all dead souls go after they die. There are no diseases and everyone ages in reverse. But Liz doesn't want to be dead. She misses her family and she wants to grow up, get her driver's license, go to college, and fall in love.
My take: This story is quite the journey. While you know that Liz is dead you still don't know what's going to happen to Liz. "A life is a good story, Liz realizes, even a crazy, backward life like hers." Liz learns to accept, forgive, and even eventually love. While this is a quirky take on death it is also a commentary on living. On always living and always enjoying the time you have been given to be you. Garbrielle Zevin writes great stories that are more about the journey than the destination. This one is exactly that and while you may not agree with Gabrielle's theories you will definitely be challenged to think.
Adventure-o-meter: While it is mild on the adventure it is chocked full of twists and turns.
Kiddie-o-meter: This story is written for young adults but I challenge parents to consider reading this one before or with your child. For while it is very tame and clean (no sex) there is allot of notions about death, the afterlife, communicating with the dead, and even marriage. This book can be used to open up some great discussions. It should also be noted there are some light mentions of the dangers of gangs and drugs.
Adult-o-meter: This is a great one for adults. Besides the messages and stories you'll also get a kick out of the mentions of famous people and the ability to talk to dogs.
My rating: 4 stars
Worth-a-read?: Definitely. Check it out from the library before buying it but definitely read this one.
Share worthy: "O, there are so many lives. How we wish we could live them concurrently instead of one by one by one. We could select the best pieces of each, stringing them together like a strand of pearls. But that's not how it works. A human's life is a beautiful mess. In the year Liz will turn thirteen again she whispers in Betty's ear, "Happiness is a choice." "So what's your choice?" Betty asks. Liz closes her eyes, and in a split second she chooses."
Final say: The dogs were my favorite part of the story. I actually re-read their sections. When I get to heaven one day I know my little dog will say the same thing to me, "Where've you been?"