From the number-one New York Times best-selling author Scott Westerfeld comes a smart, thought-provoking novel-within-a-novel that you won't be able to put down.
Darcy Patel has put college on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. With a contract in hand, she arrives in New York City with no apartment, no friends, and all the wrong clothes. But lucky for Darcy, she's taken under the wings of other seasoned and fledgling writers who help her navigate the city and the world of writing and publishing. Over the course of a year, Darcy finishes her book, faces critique, and falls in love.
Woven into Darcy's personal story is her novel, Afterworlds, a suspenseful thriller about a teen who slips into the "Afterworld" to survive a terrorist attack. The Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead, and where many unsolved - and terrifying - stories need to be reconciled. Like Darcy, Lizzie, too, falls in love - until a new threat resurfaces, and her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she cares about most.
©2014 Scott Westerfeld (P)2014 Simon & Schuster, Inc.
I'm a middle school English teacher and mother of one teen girl. I tend to read paper copies of YA books and listen to books for adults.
This book contains two stories written in a parallel structure. The one story tells of an aspiring teenage writer who has landed a publishing contract and decides to delay college for a year to move to NYC and start her career. It gives interesting glimpses into the reality of the YA publishing world. I liked this half of the book better than the other, but I am partial to realistic fiction. The characters are believable and likable.
The 2nd story-within-the-story is the novel she is working on. It is a fantasy story about what happens to souls of the dead - in the "Afterworld." There are some connections between the main character of this story and the life of the teen author. It contains special powers and a forbidden romance (think Twilight, but less violent.)
The book is divided into even chapters for one story / odd chapters for the other. That, plus the 2 narrators help you keep it straight in your head. I can't help but wonder how it looks in printed form - different fonts? I'll have to take a peek...
Some mature language. Suitable for 7th grade and up.
As an adult I listen to a lot of YA books. I've ready pretty much everything Scott Westerfield has written and enjoyed them all. So when I saw Afterworlds was available from Audible I bought it.
Here are the things I wish I had know before I purchased it:
1. There is A LOT of swearing in this book. The F*** word is used liberally through out the book.
2. This book really deals with adult themes; including terrorist attacks, gay romance, child abduction/murder, death, etc. I usually listen to books with my kids in the car (which is why I choose a lot of young adult). I felt that this book was inappropriate for my elementary school age children to listen to.
3. This book is really two stories in one. It switches back and forth between the "real" world and the "fiction" world. This was really confusing for the first little bit.
4. This book is really well written with a captivating story line.
A book about a YA novelist should not sound like it's written BY a YA novelist. It was like two so-so novels being read simultaneously, without either one being the main story that the reader MUST get back to.
Absolutely amazing! I love the way Scott Westerfeld praises his own writting through his Characters! As if he is being conceded about his stories. :) Made me chuckle at that realization!
I really loved both of their voices. I loved how different they were and also how well they went together. The story was very well thought through and real. Very real. There's always something magical about a book that comes across as sincere.
Creative, Intriguing, Fresh
I would compare Afterworlds to the writing of Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, and maybe to the whole of Rowell's work with the switch of POV every chapter.
I loved the readers. Sheetal and Heather did phenomenal jobs pulling me into the store and completely owning Darcy and Lizzie. Totally believable.
I really enjoyed the intertwined stories. However, I enjoyed Sheetal Sheth's performance as Darcy much more than Heather Lind's performance of Lizzie.
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