The Everafter by Amy Huntley is the story of Madison Stanton, or Maddy, a seventeen year old girl who wakes up in an unknown place only to realize she has died. Maddy is in "Is", a vast dark space where objects from her past glow and float around her. She soon recognizes that all the objects are ones that she lost while she was alive, and by grabbing onto them she is able to re-experience and possible even change those moments of her life. The novel alternates between Maddy's current thoughts and discovery of Is and flashbacks which tell tiny bits of her life. The Everafter is a haunting and original combination and although it is an easy read it definitely leaves a mark behind. There were a few flashbacks included that didn't really impact me, such as Maddy as an infant unable to talk, and seemed slightly unnecessary. I also occasionally wished that Huntley would elaborate more on some of the characters, because Maddy herself felt so genuine that many of the secondary characters became rather two-dimensional by comparison. I loved the premise of The Everafter so much I wish that the characters involved had been fleshed out better."I’m dead. Not my-parents-told-me-to-be-home-by-twelve-and-it’s-two o’clock-now dead. Just dead. Literally."
One thing is for sure, this is not a happy book. I found The Everafter particularly depressing due to Huntley's ability to give Maddy a very realistic and pure voice, one which makes the reader genuinely connect to the narrator. The reader clearly feels Maddy's emotions to the point that it is easy to forget the book is fiction. It was only near the end that I felt slightly jarred into reality, although I find it hard to imagine how else The Everafter could have ended, it just seemed a bit too mature for a teenage; which isn't a bash against teenagers, just that personally I certainly haven't reached the level of maturity that was attributed to Maddy even now and I am a few years past being a teen. Of course, death could certainly change your perspective on things. Ultimately The Everafter is an interesting book with a solid premise and main character but unfortunately when it comes to the details the book doesn't quite measure up to its potential. ***
Number of Pages: 248 pages
Published: September 2009