I loved other books from the same author - Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac and All These Things I've Done - so I decided to try this one, too. It was a couple of weeks ago, and I didn't get to write a review. Then I finished The Catastrophic History of You and Me and it reminded me of this book, so I thought I should review it.
Elizabeth Hall is a fifteen-year-old girl who wakes up after a bicycle accident and finds herself travelling on a cruise ship called the SS Nile. After watchign her own funeral, Liz realizes she's dead. She's told now she has to live in this place called "Elsewhere", where everyone ages backward until they become seven days old. Then they are placed in the river to go back to Earth and be born again.
Liz goes to live with her grandmother Betty, who died of cancer before she was born. At first Liz misses her family and friends on Earth and spends her days observing them through binoculars. She also tries to contact them, which leads her into trouble and allows her to meet Owen. They make friends and start to fall in love. Eventually, Liz decides to embrace her life in Elsewhere and live it as fully as she can.
This book was a bit weird. The concept is original, and the idea of exploring what happens after death is captivating. Elsewhere is not heaven, though. People need to get a job according to their inclinations; some choose the same activity they did on Earth, others something completely different.
Observing people from the binoculars on the Observation Decks can be a sort of hell, though. Especially since it can become addictive, and people in Elsewhere have no means of contacting their loved ones. Actually, they have some ways, but it is strictly forbidden. Liz tries it anyway. She discovers it is very difficult to get in touch with her brother, as her words get distorted and can be easily misinterpreted. Plus, she lands into trouble for breaking the rules. Although that is not entirely a bad thing, since she gets to meet Owen, with whom she falls in love.
Aging backwards semms to imply that Liz will never experience adulthood - she died at fifteen, and is getting younger every minute. However, she still gets to learn to drive, get a job, and find love. The relationship between her and Owen was very sweet and romantic.
This is abook that makes you ask yourself questions, whether life continues after death or not. Of course, there are no easy answers, and each reader needs to find their own. Elsewhere has a philosophical theme, but not really mature content, so it can be enjoyed by teens of all ages. Recommended to you if you've always wondered about young people dying and how they experienced life for such a short amount of time.Cover attraction:
I like the shiny snow ball. I think it's fitting. Plus, we don't get a girl on the cover, which is a plus. I've seen other covers around - the back of a girl sitting on the grass holding her knees; binoculars on a blue background - but I like this one the most.