8 of 10: The Everafter is just the kind of teen book I like. A quick read, a sweet romance, a little mystery, and a strong premise. Perfect for a snow day.
The Morris Award short list came out a few weeks ago - five young adult books by first-time authors. Last year, I read all five and thought several of them were quite terrific. I had planned on attempting to read all five again this year before the winner was announced in January, but then the list came out and frankly, none of them seemed that appealing to me.
Then Kimberly posted a little blurb about each one and the premise of The Everafter (a book I had heard nothing about) grabbed me enough that I put in a request for it at the library that same day.
The basic premise is that Maddy, age seventeen, finds herself dead, in a place with objects that she lost during her life (toys, hair clips, homework, etc). By touching them, she can return to the moments in her life when those items were lost.
Maddy becomes a bit obsessed with figuring out how she died, revisiting scenes of her life over and over. She even discovers how to make small changes in the moments she visits, but if she alters it so that her former self finds what was lost, the object is gone from the Everafter and she can no longer visit that moment, so she has to be careful.
The order of the memories, of course, is not in chronological order. She jumps around between infancy and toddlerhood, to a childhood trip to Disneyland and the time her best friend broke her arm when they both fell out of a tree, to her high school years, many of them revolving around her boyfriend, Gabe.
I didn't guess how Maddy died until just a few pages before it's revealed (if Bart had been reading this book, I'm sure he would have surmised from the first few chapters, but I'm a lousy guesser and I usually don't even consciously try and figure it out).
This book reminded me quite a lot of Elsewhere, which I read and reviewed a few years ago, but without an ending that completely disappointed me. The various fantasies about what might happen after death are so intriguing for me to read.
This isn't the best book you'll ever read, but it's a fun and quick read - I flew through it in a few hours, enjoying every second of it. Maybe I'll give another of those Morris books a chance after all.