Do you want to know where you go when you die? According to Zevin you go to Elsewhere. This is a delightful story about a teenage girl who to her own disbelief is dead. One day, she wakes up on a ship, her parents aren't with her, and she has no idea where she is headed. Soon enough she realizes she's dead, and her next stop, Elsewhere. This story takes up through her struggle as she tries to cope with the idea of never seeing her family again, and not being able to go back to her old life. She will start a new life though, in 15 years. Because in Elsewhere you age backwards, and once you reach 0 you are basically reincarnated.
THOUGHTS: Although I think Zevin did a good job capturing the spirit of a 15 year old girl whose life just turn upside down, she might have gone a bit too far. No one knows what goes on in a teenagers mind, but I think this one is a little too whiny. I wish we would skip over the whining and see the character when she is 8 or 3 and what her thoughts are like then.
The idea of reincarnation is something I've though of many times, and I don't know if it exists or not, some people claim to have memories of their past lives, others don't believe it because of their religious views. I believe that WE DON'T KNOW. So why argue, I like thinking that it does exist, and that we do get a second or how ever many chances, to do it all over again. To better your spirit, and reach some sort of Nirvana. Hmm maybe I should be Buddhist. This book has nothing to do with God, as far as I know there isn't one. They don't enter heaven through the pearly gates, St. John isn't waiting for them. It's simply a different realm.
But this is a weird interpretation of afterlife. They die, go to elsewhere, age backwards, and are reborn. But there is also a magic well, where you can try to communicate to the living. And when you succeed the sounds are carried through water. And message bottles arrive from the living through the river. I don't have a clue as to how that would work. It's like they are in a parallel universe connected to the real world by this river. It was all a little too much, the reincarnation part I really enjoyed the rest was a little too over the top. And I don't know about the whole romance thing between a 15 year old and a man who is aged backwards, which would make him in his 30's. I think if she omitted the romance part and focused more on the characters this would be a great book for younger audiences.
I still liked this book even though it has some issues, and would still recommend it to young adults. Mature audiences might find this book a little silly.