Friday, August 12, 2011

Hereafter by Tara Hudson: Review
Posted by Tiffany at 7:33 AM

Title: Hereafter
Author: Tara Hudson (site)
Published: June 7th, 2011 by HarperCollins
Pages: 334
Rating: 4/5
Source: NetGalley
Synopsis: 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. (Goodreads)

Review: I am not a big fan of Ghost Romance books. I read a pretty amazing book about a girl who falls in love with a Civil War soldier when I was about 12 (no idea what it was called now, girl with curly red hair on the cover. Anyone remember this?) and I was so angry when it ended and he had to go to "his final reward" that I threw the book across the room. I hate getting invested in a romance that has zero potential for a happy ending. Also, the physical stuff involved in some of them is very gross (and ridiculous). I am pleased to say that this book had none of those problems. This is the first example I've seen lately of a Ghost Romance Done Right.

Amelia is a very odd sort of ghost. She doesn't remember anything about who she was or what happened to her, other than her name. She has worked out that she is a ghost, but that's about it. She wanders around town, randomly being sucked into nightmares that end with her waking up in a cemetery. Obviously she did not die peacefully. One day she sees a boy drowning and he somehow sees her right before he dies. He survives and she becomes obsessed with him. He pushes her to figure out what happened to her and, in the course of their investigations, a dangerous secret about him is revealed. Amelia starts out as a sort of blank, vague character, which makes her a very realistic ghost. As she engages more and more with the real world, she begins to gain depth and personality. The relationship between Joshua and Amelia was well done. It was nice to get a break from the desperate lustful longings of a normal teen romance. This one moved a bit slower, based more on emotion than physical attraction (obviously, she is not a physical being).

The whole book had a sort of dark, dreamy feel. It reminded me a bit of A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb. In case this is sounding a bit dull to you, there are also Ghost-Murdering Witches and a Demon From Hell involved, but I won't spoil the plot by saying just where the two factions come in. Suffice to say, there's a bit of kick to this love story. I was completely absorbed in Hudson's world from beginning to end. I was both surprised and delighted to see that there will be a sequel. I still can't see much of a future for this couple, but the author has given me a bit of hope. Definitely worth a read, great characters and story. The writing style was fluid and engaging, Tara Hudson is an author to watch.