Genre: Paranormal Romance (YA)
Publisher: HarperTeen (june 7, 2011)
Source: ebook from NetGalley
Can there truly be love after death?
Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive. Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.
Oh my! I really enjoyed this book. A lot. It's been a while since I have stayed up all night reading a book because I couldn't (and didn't want to) put it down. It makes my heart happy that it's happened again.
Within the first few pages I was hooked. As soon as I realized that Amelia was drowning for real, but repeating her death, I became engrossed in this story. (That only took about two pages.) From there, everything just unfolded so quickly. It was very quick read. I don't know if that was because it had my attention, or if it was due to the fact that you didn't go more than two pages with out some major event occuring. That kept the story moving along at a nice pace. Honestly, I hate "slow" stories. I tend to get a little bored with a story if it takes too long to develop the plot. I'm all for character building, but I need action too.
So, the characters... What can I say? I felt so sorry for Amelia. When she learned about her parents, it made me sad. I could picture the whole scene in my head. So lonely. At the same time, however, I was excited when Joshua didn't run away from her. At first I thought it would be like a friendship thing (and I was cool with that), but it turned into a lot more. Joshua was lovable too. He seemed like the strong, silent type that had a close relationship with his family--even his maniacle grandmother.
Now, the two characters I didn't care for were Eli and Ruth. Obviously, Eli was meant to be hated. He was like the evil spawn/ henchman of the Devil. That goes without saying that you shouldn't like him too much. Plus, he makes a living (no pun intended) on killing off people--Amelia included. I'm not sure if I was supposed to dislike Ruth or not. She seemed to bossy and rude and thickheaded and... That list really could go on. She seemed slightly evil herself, but not in the same way as Eli. Ruth was hell-bent on exorcising all spirits, whether they were good or bad. She didn't even try to listen to her grandson or Amelia. I don't like people that don't listen before forming judgements. Hence my extreme dislike of Ruth.
As much as I enjoyed this book, there was one thing that kind of bothered me. I didn't fully buy into the "Oh you're a ghost but that's cool because you're really hot so I'm going to date you anyway" thing. I mean, really? Come on. That's my big complaint. I thought Josh was way too accepting and willing to overlook the HUGE difference between himself and Amelia. You can over look race, tasts in music, etc but you really can't ignore the other person being dead. How do you take her to prom? Or on a date? You would have to end up looking like a weirdo or a major perv.
Overall, I liked Tara Hudson's book Hereafter. It was a fun read and kept me turning pages. I hope there is a second book, because there are many loose ends I would like to see tied up.