Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Book Review: Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Enjoyment Rating: ***
Source: Digital Copy
Content Alert: A pretty clean read
Liz Hall is fifteen-- never been kissed, never driven a car, when she runs a stop sign on her bike, gets plowed over by a taxi, and dies. Soon, she finds herself in Elsewhere, which is basically an afterlife. Life in Elsewhere is pretty much exactly like life on Earth (people have jobs, live in houses with flush toilets, and obey the laws of the land) except that residents of Elsewhere age backwards. So Liz has fifteen years in Elsewhere, and when her time is up, she'll be a baby, ready to be reborn on Earth (strange concept right?-- are you still with me). Liz feels pretty gypped by the fact that her life is over before it really began, and after spending some time mourning and trying to communicate with people back home (strictly forbidden, btw) she gets on with her (after) life, finds a job and a boyfriend, and works at figuring things out.
I adored Zevin's novel The Storied Life of AJ Fikry, so I think my expectations for this book were quite high, even when I learned that this was YA speculative fiction (that's what you'd call it, right?). Elsewhere is totally unlike AJ Fikry, and it felt more like an experiment with a place, and what kinds of interesting twists on our life Zevin could make in Elsewhere than a great story about Liz and the people she loves. It's a fine read, but not one that kept me up in the night wanting more.