Sunday, August 5, 2012

[review] Tara Hudson - Hereafter (Hereafter, #1)

Title: Hereafter
Author: Tara Hudson
Series: Hereafter, #1
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Ebook
Source: Personal collection, purchased via Sony Reader store
Buy from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookdepository
Summary (via Goodreads):
Can there truly be love after death?

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.
Random paragraph: "As he spat out the final words, his lips curled into a snarl. He now looked savage, almost feral. But I saw human emotions skirting the edges of his mouth and his eyes. Buried beneath his sneer were desolation and deep, profound loneliness." 

Several things frustrated me about this book, most of which seem to be continuous problems with the YA genre in general.

Insta-love: After Amelia saves Joshua from drowning, he becomes obsessed with her. He visits her, she follows him to school -- they hit it off pretty much instantly and can't stand being apart. There really wasn't much development leading up to this at all, and it seemed to jump from, "Wow, you're a ghost" to "Wow, I think I love you."

Bad pacing: For the first 2/3rds or so, not much really happens. Amelia and Joshua mention that they want to know about Amelia's past, but the majority of the book is spent, well, making out. He realizes that he can touch her, and she can feel him when he touches her, and it sets their skin on fire, etc etc etc. The last 1/3rd of the book is pretty high-stakes and spectacular, but I wish it didn't take so much slogging to get there in the first place.

Villains: There were some moments when Eli was interesting, and others when he was really one-dimensional and laughable.

Amelia herself: I would've liked to see, I'm not sure, more supernatural effects on her? For a ghost, she felt entirely too human to me. 

It's really a shame, because when this book shone, it shone. For example, when Amelia regains her memories and her cause of death is revealed, it's really shocking and disorienting. There was definitely a sense of urgency in the finale, and I wish more of the book had that sort of action. And I really would've liked to see more of Jillian, Joshua's sister, because she had the strongest personality in the book.

I've actually heard that Arise is better-crafted (and it has a gorgeous cover!), so I hope that holds true.

Overall: Once you look past the insta-love and pacing, there's some potential here that I hope is better realized as the series goes on.

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