‘Elsewhere’ by Gabrielle Zevin: A Review

Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Teenage Fiction, Fantasy
First Published: 2005
Pages: 271

Liz was hit by a car when she was fifteen. She died. And then she woke up in Elsewhere… 

Liz died when she was fifteen-years-old. She was the victim of a hit-and-run accident as she was on the way to the mall to meet her friend so they could buy prom dresses. Suddenly, Liz wakes up in Elsewhere, an afterlife where residents grow younger until they are babies again, when they are sent down the river and back to Earth. Suddenly, Liz realises that she will never have a prom, learn to drive or get a boyfriend.

Struggling to adapt to life in Elsewhere, Liz becomes obsessed with watching her family on Earth, costing her all of her time and money. Then one day, she meets Owen, and she realises that maybe her fifteen years in Elsewhere are a gift after all…

This book actually surprised me because I wasn’t sure what to expect. I don’t read many young adult/teen books now and I was concerned that I may not like it after spending so long reading classics! However, once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down! The concept itself is fascinating – it offers a wonderful alternative of ‘the afterlife’ and is a lovely light read that offers an enlightening story.

Not only is the concept unique, but Zevin bravely decided to narrate the book’s first chapter through the eyes of the family dog, giving a completely different perspective on death from anything I have read anywhere before. As it is a teen book, you have to expect the issues that usually come up in teen books, particularly the element of love. However, it is done in a way that doesn’t make it dominate the plot, and the main focus is constantly on the magical place of Elsewhere.

I would strongly recommend this book, particularly for people who would like a quick, light read. It is incredibly enjoyable, and is really unlike any other book that I can recall!

Favourite quote: ‘Oh, there are so many lives. How we wish we could live them concurrently instead of one by one by one. We could select the best pieces of each, stringing them together like a strand of pearls. But that’s not how it works. A human’s life is a beautiful mess.’ (p. 234)

Rating: 10/10

Don’t forget that you still have time to enter my giveaway where you can win ‘Elsewhere’ or one of the other books that I have reviewed for my blog!

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