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The Everafter

(i)

 

Mystery, not misery, at heart of this dead teen narrative.

What parents need to know

Educational value
Not applicable
Positive messages

Maddy spends some time after death trying to go back to her life and correct some past actions; she tries for redemption, and in the end, chooses to save her best friend's life. Her boyfriend, Gabe, is very compassionate and takes care of his father; he also sacrifices for his best friend. There is no real message about religion or its role in an afterlife.

Positive role models

Maddy and her boyfriend each exhibit compassion and maturity in many areas; Maddy's former friend exhibits forgiveness later in life, and helps Maddy achieve her goal.

Violence

Maddy feels threatened by a girl who sells drugs. A friend suffers emotional abuse at the hands of her mentally unstable mother. Mention of two teens who are shot to death.

Sex

Maddy talks a lot about her first kiss, but for the rest of the detail, she just says she and her boyfriend do "everything but" intercourse.

Language

Includes "ass," "hell," "s--t," "f--k," and "Christ."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Gabe's father is an alcoholic and is described as being drunk. An old friend of Maddy's sells drugs in high school.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this book is more of a mystery about how a teen girl and her boyfriend die and less about questions of morality or religious discussions of life after death. The mystery is solved in the end and it's somewhat upsetting but not graphically described like the book The Lovely Bones. Though swearing includes "f--k," it's infrequent and not gratuitous.

What's the story?

Seventeen-year-old Maddy knows she's dead, but she doesn't know why or how, or what happens next. She finds objects she lost throughout her life that act as portals back to the moment she lost each one, allowing her to revisit her life repeatedly, trying to find answers and change the past. She finds some clues in these flashbacks when she replays her first kiss, a middle school slumber party, and a fight with her boyfriend. We meet her boyfriend Gabe and his alcoholic father, her pregnant sister, and her best friend Sandra who is emotionally abused and controlled by her mentally unstable mother. Those lost objects sometimes allow her to alter the past, but once she finds out more about how she died, and understands more about the Everafter, she has to make one more surprising decision about her life.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

This is another teen novel written from the perspective of the dead girl; its structure is confusing and there are many plot lines involved, so it's difficult to really know or mourn the characters. Teen readers will enjoy the romance, and relate to the family dynamics of Maddy, and also the romance between Maddy and Gabe. Readers who like ghost stories will also enjoy this book. Most of the characters have secrets, including the ghosts,and those become more compelling than the mystery of what happens in the afterlife. There is a lot of discussion of poetry by Emily Dickinson, instead of any discussion of religion(s).

The book can't  seem to decide if it's a murder mystery or a philosophical discussion, but there are plenty of young adult issues (sibling rivalry, emotional abuse, first romance, etc.) to keep teen readers involved.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what the saddest part of this book is. Was it meant to be sad?

  • Did Maddy ignore clues about her best friend's home life? Who could you talk to if you had a friend who was in danger? How could you help your friend?

  • What do you think about life after death? Is there an afterlife?

  • Why was Maddy so insecure in her relationship with her boyfriend? Was she insecure about anything else?

Book details

Author:Amy Huntley
Genre:Family Life
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Balzer + Bray
Publication date:September 29, 2009
Number of pages:144
Publisher's recommended age(s):12 - 17

This review of The Everafter was written by

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Quality

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Teen, 14 years old Written by2155 November 4, 2010

Tweens, Teens, Aldults... THE BEST BOOK EVA!!!

I loved it! I'm 13 and honestly I don't think there is anything bad about this book! I read the Everafter and was creeped out as well as captured by the spell of Amy Huntley’s amazing page turning suspense novel. Seventeen-year-old Madison Stanton knows she's dead. How? Why? Where is she? What’s next? She doesn’t know. She finds objects she lost throughout her life that act as portals back to the moment she lost each one. If she finds the object while she’s visiting then she can’t go back, but if she doesn’t she can continue to travel back to this memory. She finds some clues in these flashbacks when she replays her first kiss, a middle school slumber party, and a fight with her boyfriend. We meet her boyfriend Gabe and his alcoholic father, Maddy’s pregnant sister, and her best friend Sandra who is emotionally abused and controlled by her insane mother. The clues that she gets leads her to figure out how she died, and understands more about the Everafter (Heaven/ Hell). When she finally figures out how she died she journeys to the Everafter with dead Gabe.
What other families should know
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