Reviewed by Isabella C., grade 9
Afterworlds, by Scott Westerfeld, is both a paranormal romance, and a coming of age novel. This book is about 612 pages (depending on the edition); but really, you shouldn’t be intimidated because it’s basically two books in one! Each chapter has an alternating point of view.
One point of view is that of Darcy, the recent high school graduate and novelist who has just moved to New York and is trying to figure out her life. Within just a few months, she has a contract with a publisher, an apartment in Chinatown, and a budget that requires ramen noodles for dinner every night.
Our second point of view is actually the book that Darcy has written. Even though the entire novel is called Afterworlds, Darcy’s novel that she writes is actually called Afterworlds as well. Confusing, isn’t it? But it’s all so worth it! Lizzie is the main character in Darcy’s story. After being the only survivor of a brutal terrorist attack, Lizzie now has a connection with the undead. But that isn’t the only thing she has a connection with. There’s the (visually) young death god Yamaraj who is oh so handsome, and whenever they’re together, literal sparks fly.
With Darcy’s side of the story, we get an inside look into what it’s like to be a writer and what being part of the writing community is like. Because of this book, I now desperately want to go to Book Expo America (who cares if it’s in New York? The books are free!). With Lizzie’s side of the story we get to see the dangerous life of a psychopomp, and find out the underworld isn’t as simple as it seems.
Although it doesn’t say specifically whether Afterworlds is a stand-alone or part of a series, on Darcy’s side of the story she spends a lot of time freaking out about a sequel to Afterworlds that her publisher wants by November. I think that Scott Westerfeld was hinting at something, so I would keep my eyes open.
I really, truly, enjoyed this book, almost to a fault. The Lizzie side of it was just so intense and intriguing, I really couldn’t stop reading. The Darcy side was so heartfelt and funny, I felt like the characters could jump off the page! I felt like I was Darcy’s best friend. Darcy was just so loveable and naive and sweet. I especially liked her because I aspire to be a writer. One thing that I really liked was that Mr. Westerfeld didn’t really put much into descriptions other than ethnicity and personality, so you could really make the characters your own. That way you could always find a way to connect with them.
If you’re interested in reading Afterworlds, I will tell you that it specifically says on the inside cover that it’s for ages 14 and up. This is most likely due to the explicit language, the terrorist attack, some underage drinking, and quite a bit of murder!