Rating: 4 of 5
HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS / September 21, 2009 / Hardcover
Her first kiss.
A trip to Disney World.
Her sister's wedding.
A disastrous sleepover.
In reliving these moments, Maddy learns illuminating and frightening truths about her life - and death.
Ever lost something and wondered if you might ever find it again? What if you were reunited with all of those objects in death? After a conversation with colleagues about this very topic Amy Huntley had an idea for her first novel, The Everafter. At first I was not sure what I would think of this book and was kind of hesitant to pick it up. The knowledge that the main character was dead from the beginning was a reality that I felt uneasy about. After opening the first few pages though I got lost in what Maddy refers to as Is.
Every object that is within Maddy's can take her back to the moment where she lost it. Surrounded by darkness, these items from her life are the only link she has to the people she loves. To go back with Maddy to each of these memories is a really precious experience because it allows the reader to understand her character. The memories themselves, and the way that Maddy reacts to them in the afterlife, combine to explain what mattered most to her. Moments from Maddy's childhood are intertwined with those from her adolescent years painting a wonderful and uncomplicated picture of a life cut short. Huntley's ability to write in Maddy's perspective from birth to her death is quite interesting. The thoughts that are running through Maddy's head at various ages, along with how she articulates them, has been well established. Particularly, Maddy's attachment to the objects in her life is written in a certain way that corresponds with her age at the time.
The way that Huntley approaches the topic of death in this book will not scare you, rather it will enlighten you. Regardless of your religion, the hope that Huntley uncovers in the afterlife will move you. This story is not about death like I had thought it was; it is about a life after death. The objects in Maddy's life that she had lost take on a new meaning in death. They become this gateway to the people that she loves and the moments that she had with them. More than that though they are pieces of knowledge that help Maddy put together what was her life, and to move on to the next chapter.
While the concept of this book is quite incredible, I still found the end to be lacking. The mystery surrounding Maddy's death had been built up for so long to this climax and then it was all over in a few short pages. The event itself was quite tragic however without the detail it was difficult to accept. While this was the case for me, the abrupt ending maintains the same structure of all of Maddy`s memories which can be appreciated. As Amy Huntley`s first novel The Everafter is definitely worth reading. It combines a difficult premise with an intriguing mystery, and then closes with a beautiful epilogue.