by: Gabrielle Zevin
Grade 7-10-This coming-of-age novel by Gabrielle Zavin (Farrar, 2005) has a unique twist. Although Liz is maturing, coping with disappointments, and controlling her anger, she is getting younger. Having been killed by a hit and run driver, she now lives in Elsewhere with the grandmother who died before she was born. After death, the residents get younger until they become babies and are reborn onto Earth again. Initially mad at the driver and sad that she will not have a boyfriend and attend the prom, Liz misses her family and is sullen and depressed. Gradually, she begins to realize that life is not so bad in the hereafter. Although written in the second person, the text and the narration by Cassandra Morris draws listeners into this new world, giving them a sense of immediacy. Morris's youthful, gentle, slightly nasal voice clearly brings out Lizzie's life and frustrations, and her tone becomes harsh to show anger. For the most part, she reads quickly, almost sprightly, but at dramatic moments she slows to heighten suspense. There is no significant voice changes to differentiate between male and female characters. An excellent choice to motivate reluctant readers or just for enjoyment.-Claudia Moore, W.T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Okay so I understand why some people may find this book angering, or find it offensive, and because of this I was relatively apprehensive in reading it. I thought that it might be wrong, because like many other people I am religious and have views on the afterlife - but this is fiction. So I picked it up.
And I'm so glad I did.
Liz was killed by a hit and run driver. This is the beginning of the book and really the main event. Without her death there is no story (isn't that odd to think about?). So she wakes up, and she's not at home, she's not anywhere she has ever been before - but she's on a ship, heading to Elsewhere.
Elsewhere is pretty much the afterlife in this book, except rather then it being a "forever" place, you age down. If you died at the age of 84, then you would age down over 84 years until you were once again a baby, then you would be sent back - and become a baby for someone else.
So the book starts off here and then chronicles all of Liz's troubles. She despairs for her family, her friends, and her life. She now finds herself living with her grandmother who she never met, and struggling to understand.
Then she meets Owen. Owen who died in his thirties (?) and has been there for years. He who was married before on earth and has suffered since he got there. They make an unlikely couple but a wonderful one. He helps her appreciate her time there, and she in return helps him give up his old life.
But what happens when Owen's wife comes back into his life and to Elsewhere? What then?
I recomend this book to anyone and it is a 10 :]
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