Release Date: June 7th 2011 (US), July 7th 2011 (AUS)
Publisher: Harper Collins
Add it: Goodreads
Can there truly be love after death?The only ghost stories I've really read are those from spooky middle-grade books from when I was younger. Hereafter is one of the few (if only, my memory is not so good!) ghostly romances I've had the pleasure of reading. And now I'm dying for more! (Get it? Dying? Yeah, I don't think I'm funny either).
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.
Thrilling and evocative, with moments of pure pleasure, Hereafter is a sensation you won't want to miss.
I really liked the way in which Tara developed Amelia. As soon as we start the book, we're given as much information as Amelia knows - and that's not a whole lot. She's been existing in this bleak state of limbo for years. Seeing all, but none seeing her. Her past unknown, her name unknown, her entire life and everything that made her once a living, breathing girl, is lost to her. That in itself is an incredibly haunting reality. To lose who you are, even in death, is a scary thought. Death had wiped all the life from this girl. Until a living boy changed it all.
Enter Joshua. Sweet, boy-next-door, the type every mother would love their daughter to date, Joshua Mayhew. Given their eventful near-death first meeting triggering some abilities of his own, Joshua can see Amelia. Something she hasn't experience in all her time being dead. A response from another human being. Being around Joshua, forming a bond with him, sees Amelia becoming more and more alive, in as much a way as a ghost can be alive. She reawakens to the world around her and begins to learn more about who she is and who she was. The relationship that developed between Amelia and Joshua was beautiful and honest. They form a genuine connection that is so enjoyable to read!
There is real character development here. I loved that as the book progressed, we watched Amelia come into her own. Emotionally and physically. She's grew more strong and determined of herself. She fought that natural ghostly instinct of 'flight' and stood her ground, she fought back. And as she grew closer and closer to Joshua, she had flashes of memory - as she began to recall moments from her life - and sensation, miraculous gifts of touch, of warmth that she was void of as a ghost. Her relationship with Joshua really did help her feel more alive and I loved watching as she grew.
Rather than create a stereotypical 'evil guy', Tara fleshed out the 'bad guy' of the story and managed to evoke empathy from the reader. Eli, a fellow ghost whose motives seem to be none too good for Amelia, is a layered character. We're given insight into his past and what spurred his actions and you do end up feeling a bit sympathetic toward him, despite the things he does.
The worlds of the living and dead collide in this captivating debut novel, filled with intriguing new mythology, endearing characters and a touching romance, with just the right amount of danger. Hereafter will lure you in with it's captivating prose and make you stick around for the haunting tale it has to tell.