by Tara Hudson
Published by HarperTeen
Publication Date: June 7, 2011
Source: Netgalley and purchased copy
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. (from Goodreads)
I am writing this review after having read this book a second time. The first time I read Hereafter, which was a year ago, I'd just started reading paranormal stories and I really didn't know what to think about this book. I just couldn't wrap my brain around the idea that a ghost could have this relationship with a human. How is it possible? Do I even want to think of this possibility? It seemed a bit laughable, so I never wrote the review and shared my thoughts about the book. Now after reading it a second time, and several other paranormal books in between, can say that I am a fan on the genre.
Hereafter, Tara Hudson's debut novel, lets you wonder, can there be life and love after death. The novel begins during the reoccurring nightmare of Amelia drowning. Hudson's descriptive writing of these scenes pulled me into the water with Amelia and made me experience moments of panic over and over again. I love the water and swimming and I admit that these scenes made me feel a little anxious.
I really did enjoy reading Amelia and Joshua's relationship. Their connection, attraction, and relationship happened almost instantaneously. This definite could have been developed more, but I was willing to overlook it and attribute it to Joshua's traumatic experience of dying and being saved by Amelia. Their relationship isn't perfect - Amelia doesn't know anything about herself, how she died, if she killed herself - whether she is good or evil, and if she is evil, how can she be with someone as kind and good-natured as Joshua.
Something that I think Hudson did well was create a villain who was despicable, but at the same time held my curiosity. We get to know Eli as more than just the bad guy tormenting Amelia.I didn't think he was completely evil, he seemed more lonely than anything else, but his smugness revealed that he definitely had more evil in him than good.
Spoiler alert (you've been warned)
There were some questions that I had though and I hope they are answered in the next book, Arise. Is Amelia more than a ghost? How is it that she can touch and feel Joshua in this state? Also when Eli says he loured Amelia to the bridge, how could she him if she was still alive when no one else could - if the living can see the dead if they've experienced death themselves and have been revived.
End of the spoiler
I'm so glad that I took the time to reread this story. I am looking forward to find out what happens between Amelia and Joshua in the sequel. Can their love survive? Or will their love be destroyed by those who still view Amelia as evil and wish her to be banished from the living world.
Disclaimer: I requested and received the book for review from NetGalley. Additionally, I purchased this book for my personal collection. Thoughts and opinions are my own and I was not compensated in any way for providing a review.