Monday, March 28, 2011
Review of Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Published by: Square Fish
From Goodreads: Elsewhere is where fifteen-year-old Liz Hall ends up, after she has died. It is a place so like Earth, yet completely different. Here Liz will age backward from the day of her death until she becomes a baby again and returns to Earth. But Liz wants to turn sixteen, not fourteen again. She wants to get her driver’s license. She wants to graduate from high school and go to college. And now that she’s dead, Liz is being forced to live a life she doesn’t want with a grandmother she has only just met. And it is not going well. How can Liz let go of the only life she has ever known and embrace a new one? Is it possible that a life lived in reverse is no different from a life lived forward?
Once in a while I get stuck in a rut and feel like all the YA novels start to feel the same. Elsewhere broke that rut for me; this novel was refreshingly original. The world that Zevin created was thrilling, imaginative, and pure genius. The afterlife is something that I think about once in a while, but I always have a hard time imagining what it would be like. It was never something I got a clear and concise vision of, but I always hoped it would be a place with no worries and only happiness. Zevin's created afterlife was something I could never have imagined myself, but was fun to read about.
As much as I like the originality of this novel, the characters fell a little flat for me. There wasn't much depth to these characters and I didn't fell as if I knew them or was attached to them at the end of the novel. I did, however, love the animals in this story. If you are a dog-lover, like me, you'll love Zevin's fun twist on our canine friends. I only wish this part of the novel was true in real life.
There wasn't a true plot line in this story. There were a few small conflicts and resolutions but not an overall one. It was more the story about Liz's afterlife experience in Elsewhere. While some found the action lacking, I enjoyed the simple day-to-day life of Liz and her friends while they navigated the afterlife.
Once again, I want to comment on how original this novel was. If you are looking for something totally different and out of the 'usual' pattern of YA novels, this is your book. I'd give this novel ★★★ and 1/2