This was a very interesting and captivating read. I actually listened to this on audio book and it was very well done.
Nick and Allie are two passengers in different cars that collide in a head-on collision. When they wake they find that they are in the forest beside where the car accident happened. Watching over them is a boy named Leaf. Leaf informs them that they have been sleeping for 6 months and are in Everlost and are now Afterlights. Afterlights are kids who didn’t quite make it to where they were going when they died. Afterlights can only dwell in places of the world that have been lost or places that have died in the living world; if they try to stay still in the living world they sink to the center of the Earth. Just like the living world, there are powers that be in Everlost. They stumble upon one Mary Hightower who takes lost Afterlights under her wing. Nick is content to stay with Mary but Allie is not so sure. Allie thinks there is more to life after death than eternal repetition and is determine to find a way either back to life or to true death.
This was a very creative and engaging read. The two characters have very believable reactions to finding out they are not quite dead. The world of Everlost is interesting; especially the theory surrounding how inanimate objects can end up in Everlost. The plot moves along at a good clip and I was never bored or struggling to stay interested. Everlost is an amazing world and the characters are constantly finding new things about it as time progresses. The book also has a pretty good sense of humor, and there were a number of places where I chortled a bit at the coincidence of everything. It was interesting that Shusterman included the Twin Towers as a place in Everlost; I guess it was his way of commemorating the significant loss of both that landmark and the lives associated with it.
All of the characters are believable and easy to relate to. The characters are also very well balanced out. There were some aspects of our heroes that were less than endearing and some aspects of the villains that made you sympathize with them.
The only thing that struck me as a bit odd was how Shusterman incorporated current day legends or haunting into the book. For example at one point Allie ends up at the Amityville house. I am still trying to decided if these scenes were clever or just plain odd.
Overall I liked this book and the premise. This in one of those books that I will think back to quite often. The way it deals with life after death and moving on from a state of half-death is as interesting and this book is engaging; which is to say very. I think young adults or older would enjoy this book. It could also be read to younger children but the heavy topic of death might be a bit scary for them.