Name: ElsewhereAuthor: Gabrielle Zevin
Publisher: Square Fish
Release Date: May 15th, 2007
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I really, really wanted to like Elsewhere, but in the end this book just did not do it for me. I had high expectations when I first began reading it and the plot interested me very much; after all, what part of having an afterlife where you grow from an adult to a child doesn’t catch your attention? However, the characters were two dimensional, the plot was predictable, and the overall book was just meant for a much younger audience than I had originally thought.
I found myself disliking almost every one of the characters, no matter how much I wanted to like them. It’s not as if they were completely horrible characters—in fact, most of them were pleasant and even quite relatable. It may have had something to do with how disconnected the characters seemed because the book was written in third person—though that does not usually bother me—but either way I could not help but find most things that the characters did either completely annoying or entirely predictable. When Liz dies and finds herself in Elsewhere at a young age, she spends the first half of the book wishing she was back on earth. When she finally begins to enjoy Elsewhere after meeting a boy and immediately falling in love with him—unfortunately for those YA fans out there, the love story was not played out well at all—she quickly finds herself disliking Elsewhere again, after she and Owen hit a bump in their relationship.
As predicted, the book ends happily, with everyone spending a fulfilled afterlife in Elsewhere. I enjoyed the end of the book much better than the beginning, as it was interesting to see Liz and Owen’s progressions from teenagers back to babies. There were several plots that could have been fleshed out better though, including explaining why Liz’s best friend on Earth did not attend her funeral and describing more about Liz’s friend Curtis and her grandmother Betty’s life together.
That being said, the book was beautifully written. I think that if I had read Elsewhere when I was thirteen or fourteen, I would have enjoyed it much more. While I was not a huge fan of this book, I would definitely recommend it to a younger audience!