Hereafter by Tara Hudson (NY: HarperCollins, 2011); reviewed from Kindle e-galley supplied by publisher via netgalley.com.
Eighteen-year-old Amelia has meandered aimlessly for a long time. She remembers the dark waters and has relived her horrible death regularly. She recognizes the general environs of the Oklahoma town but not much else. She can see and hear people, but they can't see or hear her. It's not what she expected from the afterlife. Not at all. Periodically she loses consciousness and has the drowning nightmare, then wakes up in a graveyard to being her wanderings again. Until something different happens. She's in the water, but she sees a boy. He's been thrown from his car into the river while she's there. She screams and tries to wake him. She can even hear his heart slowly petering out. A final scream and he miraculously opens his eyes, and even more amazingly he can see her and touch her. Awake, he struggles to the surface as she hovers near him, silently urging him on. Suddenly her afterlife is changed. She hears the boy's name, Joshua, and he later comes to find her, unflinchingly accepting what she is and his ability to see and hear her.
Hereafter is a ghost story, so it's haunting, but hauntingly sad and lovely because it's also a love story, as unlikely as that sounds. Amelia is an interesting character who wakes up from her lethargic wanderings with the help of a boy who not only sees her but risks loving her. Together they solve the mystery of Amelia's life and death and then have to start thinking about what the future holds for their seemingly untenable union. Recommended for ages 14 & up. Intense & sexual situations, alcohol, language.
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