by Gabrielle Zevin
In this delightful novel death is a beginning, a new start. Liz is killed in a hit a run accident and her ‘life’ takes a very unexpected turn. At nearly sixteen she knows she will never get married, never have children, and perhaps never fall in love. But in Elsewhere all things carry on almost as they did on earth except that the inhabitants get younger, dogs and humans can communicate (at last) new relationships are formed and old ones sadly interrupted on earth are renewed.
Full of the most ingenious detail and woven around the most touching and charming relationships this is a novel of hope, of redemption and re-birth. It is a novel that tells of sadness with heart-breaking honesty and of love and happiness with uplifting brilliance.
SO MUCH ORIGINALITY!!!
ORIGINALITY WAS BEING THROWN AT ME LIKE SUPER FIERCE PAINTBALLS!!!
CAN YOU SEE MY BRUISES?! CAN YOU SEE THEM BECAUSE THEY’RE HELLA PAINFUL!! AND THEY’RE FROM THIS BOOK!!
Truly, though. This book astounded me. I really hope death is like this but in all honestly, the ageing backwards freaked me out. I don’t want to go through puberty again! I’m still dealing with the last remnants of it and it’s just awful – no boobs, no curves, no height. Just zits and the unnatural yearning to sleep ALL THE TIME.
Elsewhere is simply about after death. We follow Liz who at just shy of sixteen tragically dies from being hit with a car. She wakes up on a boat that’s bound for a place called Elsewhere. It LITERALLY is life after death. You get to live life again except Elsewhere is a Utopia where no one gets sick, you age backwards and there doesn’t seem to be any war or crime. You get the opportunity to pick another job, fall in love again, it’s another chance at life. But of course, it’s not as happy-go-lucky.
Being dead, away from your loved ones isn’t easy. Liz struggles with never being more than sixteen and being robbed all the moments she could’ve had on Earth. Elsewhere has ‘observation decks’ where people can watch Earth. Initially, Liz spends most of her time there watching her family which really just brings about the feels. I was frustrated with Liz because she was so adamant not to firstly, be kind to her (dead, I mean kinda alive?) Grandma who was so patient with her and secondly, to settle down and STOP COMPLAINING. Maybe she had a legit reason for her complaints (’cause you know, she’s dead) but COME ON, death didn’t end up being so bad. I just have a twitchy spot for people who complain.
I really enjoyed seeing her settle down. Her job was DAMN COOL. She was like a dog whisperer for recently deceased dogs entering Elsewhere. As well as that, she falls in love for the first time. Owen is a sweet guy who died at 26, parted from his one true love back on Earth from a fire. Of course due to the ageing backwards thing, he is now about 17. The ageing backwards thing takes a little to get used to but you can’t deny that it’s REALLY interesting and EXTREMELY original. I liked how their romance was quite straight-forward, no annoying drama and when the epic drama is introduced – Owen’s one true love dies and reunites with him – it’s dealt with very efficiently and most importantly, very realistically.
The book is also written in a very detached yet personal way. There’s a lot of matter-of-fact statements which were short and sweet. I found that they were very suitable for the topic of death because it gave off the vibe that we should just accept death as the inevitable and should embrace it with open arms. There’s a lot of funny parts as well. Like Liz learning to parallel park and three point turn in this ‘death world’ as well as also reading the dog’s conversations. Man, I wish dogs could talk. That would be awesome.
An extremely enjoyable and original book that deals with such a serious topic in such a light and accepting manner. You should read it and get originality thrown at you like I did.