The Everafter

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Overview

Age Level: 12-14 Listening Level: Grades 7-9

Madison Stanton doesn't know where she is or how she got there. But she does know this - she is dead. And alone in a vast, dark space. The only company Maddy has in this place are luminescent objects that turn out to be all the...

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The Everafter

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Overview

Age Level: 12-14 Listening Level: Grades 7-9

Madison Stanton doesn't know where she is or how she got there. But she does know this - she is dead. And alone in a vast, dark space. The only company Maddy has in this place are luminescent objects that turn out to be all the things she lost while she was alive. And soon she discovers that, with these artifacts, she can reexperience - and even change - moments from her life.
Her first kiss.
A trip to Disney World.
Her sister's wedding.
A disastrous sleepover.
In reliving these moments, Maddy learns illuminating and frightening truths about her life - and death.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The story of Madison Stanton, dead of unknown causes at age 17, showcases debut author Huntley's skill at writing believable scenes of high school life. Floating in an oblivion she refers to as “is,” Madison bounces from scene to scene in her life, trying to understand how she died and figure out what “the Universe wants me to understand.” She is hampered by the fact that it is only through touching various objects she finds floating with her (her boyfriend's sweatshirt, a baby rattle, a hair clip) that she can connect with her past. The objects are items she lost in life, and she discovers that other spirits are also using the same means to revisit their lives. The premise feels somewhat contrived, and there's a random snapshot quality to the narrative as Madison gets sucked into and wrenched away from moments in her life, which can grow tedious. Nevertheless, Madison is an engaging protagonist, and the author builds a strong sense of tension; much of her story works well as slice-of-life realism. Huntley is an author worth watching. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)
VOYA - Beth Karpas
This book might need to be sold to readers one at a time (the first line is "I'm dead"), but it will be well worth the effort. Huntley's writing is as lovely as the photograph on the book's cover and as poetic as the Emily Dickinson quotes sprinkled throughout. The nonlinear tale tells Maddy's life story, ranging from babyhood to her senior year and then back to toddlerhood. Readers learn along with Maddy about her family, her best friend, her boyfriend, and even her frenemies. Inspired by a friend's question, "Wouldn't it be funny if all those things you lost turned up after you were dead, just when you didn't need them anymore?" Huntley creates an entirely new version of the human experience after death. She pulls in some quantum physics but not so much as to scare off the unscientific, and intersperses the aforementioned Dickinson, but the world and the interactions between the spirits that inhabit it and the real world are as fascinating as the question of how Maddy died. This book is one where people who like to read the last page first will need a friend to cover it, so that there are no spoilers. It is also a book that will stick with readers, making them think not only about Maddy but also about the nature of life and death, time, possessions, and the interactions with both people and things that make us, us. Reviewer: Beth Karpas
Children's Literature - Stephanie Dawley
This first novel by high school teacher, Amy Huntley, packs a powerful, if somewhat surreal, punch. The story begins with 17-year-old Madison Stanton realizing that she is dead, or at least she assumes she is dead since she cannot feel her body or see much of anything but darkness around her. The problem is that she cannot remember how she died. Slowly, Madison realizes that she is not completely alone, but is surrounded by objects that represent things she lost during her lifetime. Each object takes her back to the moment it was lost and allows her to re-experience the surrounding events. She can even change the outcome of these events, but she discovers that then she can never return to that moment again. Unfortunately, the pull of wanting to return to her family, best friend, and boyfriend is stronger than anything else, which seems to be blocking her ability to progress to "the after." The surreal feeling of this novel is pervasive, as Maddy desperately tries to solve the mystery of her death, while simultaneously learning about existing in the after-life. Death is a difficult subject, but the realistic characters and honest, thoughtful observations make this a satisfying and enjoyable read. Reviewer: Stephanie Dawley
School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—Seventeen-year-old Madison (Maddy) Stanton is confused, lonely, and dead in this novel (Balzer & Bray, 2009) by Amy Huntley. Where she is and how she got there is unknown, but in the expansive darkness that surrounds her, she discovers floating, luminescent objects she lost in her previous life. Maddy sees these items and feels that her "life is lying in a heap of memories piled on top of one another." Each object allows her (and listeners) to skip through her past life, proving that even seemingly insignificant items—a bracelet, a pine cone, a piece of popcorn—elicit memories. During her soul searching, Madison also discovers clues to her mysterious and sudden death. Tavia Gilbert is amazing in her ability to transition between numerous characters, from a silky, Southern drawl to a soused father to a complicated, contemplative teenager. This is as close as you can get to a full-cast narration with a solo voice. Huntley's fabulous, haunting debut novel is a ghost story, a mystery, and a love story that creates a unique twist on one of life's ponderables: what happens after we die? A compelling addition to teen collections.—Cheryl Preisendorfer, Twinsburg City Schools, OH
Kirkus Reviews
Death is the new life. Stories about dead teens used to be mainly weepers about beautiful young girls with tragic diseases. Now along with vampires and zombies there are explorations of just what life after death might look like. First-time author Huntley's take on the topic is cleverly constructed and compelling. Madison, the 17-year-old narrator, recognizes the objects floating around her as ones she owned during her lifetime. Some experimentation leads her to realize that she can use them to re-experience and/or observe specific portions of her existence. Doing so helps her to answer the central question-how she died-as well as to reconnect with others in this formless void. Weaving concepts from physics and the poetry of Emily Dickinson into a series of (not chronological) vignettes from Madison's life works surprisingly well and presents a clear picture of relationships, choices and consequences. Refreshingly, Madison's death resulted from her effort to take care of a friend, not bad choices about drugs or alcohol. Intriguing and thought-provoking. (Fiction. YA)
Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) (Starred Review)
[The Everafter is] a book that will stick with readers, making them think no only about Maddy but also about the nature of life and death, time, possessions, and the interactions with both people and things that make us, us.
Jay Asher
“In The Everafter, Maddy relives moments from her life which broke her heart, made her laugh uncontrollably, and forced her to grow. Amy Huntley’s book will do the same for you.”
Gabrielle Zevin
“A mystery about life’s greatest mysteries, a love story that transcends death, a ghost story with real substance, and an altogether fascinating novel about the redemptive possibilities in lost things.”
Jay Asher
“In The Everafter, Maddy relives moments from her life which broke her heart, made her laugh uncontrollably, and forced her to grow. Amy Huntley’s book will do the same for you.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781441801821
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 9/29/2009
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Age range: 12 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.10 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Amy Huntley, a high school English teacher, makes her debut with The Everafter. She lives in Michigan with her husband and daughter.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 61 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(35)

4 Star

(15)

3 Star

(9)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 61 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 28, 2012

    I've been dreading writing this review because I really did no



    I've been dreading writing this review because I really did not like this story at all. I'm not sure if reading Before I Fall ruined this one for me, but the way this story played out was definitely a factor. Let me start out by telling you why I didn't like it.

    I couldn't get a read on Maddy. I couldn't like her or not like her. Like her character stuck in IS, I felt like I was stuck too. The whole psychobabble bullcrap about Heaven and Hell and Purgatory dragged this story down. The idea that certain objects that she lost in her lifetime could bring her back to that period in time just didn't jive with me. This could've been a great story, but the time spent in limbo just made me more frustrated.

    Gabriel. He was the amazingly beautiful boyfriend. Maddy questioned and still questioned why he was with her. This plot point in books is getting old. Really old. I'm going to call this the Bella-technique. Maddy was annoying in her jealousy of Gabriel's ex-girlfriend. Who is not so nice. Okay.

    The set up of the story seemed mashed together. And the final revelation? I was more like who cares.

    Please realize this is my opinion and I know others that have absolutely LOVED this story. Obviously this one wasn't my cup of tea.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    OMG SO GOOOD!!

    Wow I honestly didn't expect to like this one much. But it was really really good. Maddy's quest to make peace with her life after death makes an intresting plot as she revisits moments from the past; from time she was a baby till the final moments before she died. Only to discover the shocking truth and a loved one that died with her. The book really keeps you guessing on how she died and the truth will shock you. So many lines from this book I fell in love with that really give you a new perspective on life. I recommend to anyone! MUST READ!!! <3

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 22, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Can't think of good enough words to discribe!

    I was kind of skeptical about reading this book when I read the discription and then just decided that I was going to read it. I was pretty muched hooked after reading the first page. I wanted to know how the story would play out with Madison being dead. This book made me think so much about the afterlife that I lost sleep because I couldn't stop thinking, what if this really does happen? What if all the objects you loose in your life come back and that's how you see your life again? I'm like Madison and am totally connected to objects, whenever I loose something I get really upset. Dosn't always matter what it is, either. And I seem to loose things all the time, too. I can't seem to keep anything from being lost at some point.
    The characters were really easy to relate with. I kept imagining myself in Madison's position and realizing that the way she handled some things is the same way I would.
    Books don't always get me really emotional, or I try to hide my emotion, but this book had me crying immensely for the last 30 pages at least. Just the way everything happens at the end was just heartbreaking. Although, I was crying tears of sadness and happiness, it was just the way she died was horrible.
    I recommend this book to everyone! It really makes you appriciate the things you have in life and really makes you think about life after death.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2013

    Amazing!!!!!

    I read this book over three and a half years ago and i can still remember most of the details in this book to this day and its still amazing. I picked this book up back then just for a quick read for my seventh grade SSR and now as a sophmore in high school im still glad that was the book i picked up!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2013

    Highly reccomemd!!!!

    A surprising intriging story that will pull you in and make you think deeper. I loved it. Good for ages 13+

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2013

    Dont Know

    Should I get this book or not

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2013

    The Everafter

    This was an amazing book. I loved it so much, I couldn't put it down! I had to read it non-stop; I stayed up for about 2-3 days straight! I would recommend it to anyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2012

    I was amazed.

    I was amazed at Maddy's eagerness to find out how she died. I can admit, that yeah, i am attached to some things. I really didnt expect her to die that way. I couldnt imagine being killed that way. To me, my favorite part was when Maddy and Gabe admit that they still love each other in 'is'. Overall, this book was amazing. Its an easy read. I read it in 3 hours. So basiclly this book covers Maddy and her life. Well, not really her life, but her life as a kid, and before she died, and her life in between. And in 'is' she can go back to her life through the objects that she lost in her life. And she can go into her body in that period of time, and change it so it has a different outcome. Or, she can stay outside of her body as a spirit, and watch what happens as it unfolds. It has some confusing parts when she's 4 and then goes to age 17 without warning. Like i said, this book is an easy read. Read the other reviews, read the book for yourself, then write a review! Hope you enjoy(ed) the book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2012

    Everyone needs to read this.

    One word. AMAZING. Thats all I need to say. Not sure? Get this book for yourself and I guarentee you will not put this book down until you finish and will want to read more afterwards. I'm not lying. Read the other reviews.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2011

    Such a great book!

    This book always kept me interested. It seemed so realistic, like it could happen to anyone. This book will send chills down your spine and keep you wanting more and more. Definetely one of my favorites

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2011

    I love this book!

    This was a realy good book that i realy enjoyed.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 20, 2011

    Okay

    I think its all right the last thrity pages were definetly greaaat! Howecver i get bored sometimes trough out the book . But over all it was very interesting and enjoy able

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2011

    coolest book ever

    My friend read the book and let me read some of it and oh my gosh its good!!! My friend's and my favorite part was when sherevisited her first kiss andhen she was in the girls bathroom with Tammy.

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  • Posted April 7, 2011

    Overall fantastic

    I love this book! It was amazing from beginning to end! I recommend it!

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  • Posted March 16, 2011

    Awesome

    Its so amazing! Kept me interested. Its a good lobe story as well ad mystery! The end reveals how Maddy died. Loved it!

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  • Posted February 8, 2011

    great

    great.

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  • Posted September 10, 2010

    Against the Norm and Great

    Originally posted at: www.aurorareviews.blogspot.com ***** I am actually really impressed that this book doesn't follow the norm for YA books - that being faerie tales, love triangles, or gossipy stories. This debut novel is astonishingly refreshing and has such a lovely writing style.

    From the very first line, "I'm dead.", I was completely stuck on this book. I could not put it down. I am a sucker for beautiful covers and interesting titles, so those are the first reasons I was drawn to the book. Then the idea of being dead and not knowing how you died, nor who you really were, intrigued me.

    Maddison, our 17 year old narrator, cannot understand how she died, let alone who she really was when she was alive. As she stumbles upon items she lost during her life, she realizes that each one will bring her back to the moment she lost them, where she can observe or change what happens. I found myself wanting to yell at Maddy as she tries to change things. I understood she wanted things to be different than they were, but I worried she would change the future too much and lose who she already was. This is such a great feeling when you are that compelled to want to interact with the character and give them advice.

    I absolutely loved the idea that lost items are there in the afterlife for us to find and re-experience different parts of our lives and see them from an outsiders point of view. I believe that while Maddy entered into scenes from her life, she actually learned more about who she was, what her family and friends really meant to her and that sometimes it's the small things in life that we take for granted.

    Each interaction that Maddy has with someone from her life and afterlife lead to her finding an understanding of life and death. Eventually we will all die, it's just a matter of when and how. So once you are gone, would you really want to change it all?

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  • Posted June 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    GOOD BOOK

    I loved reading this book. It has an original plot and it was just unique to me. It made me think of my existence, and life and death. It's not your average ghost story by any means. Seventeen year old Madison is dead and in a place where there is nothing but the things she lost in life. Everytime she goes to an item it takes her back to a time in her life she lost that object. She has the choice to either enter her body and change her past by finding the object or standing outside her body and watching things fold out. It's very suprising how she died and never once did I guess that's how she died. That's also another thing I love about this book, it's anything but predictable,it's also a very fast read(took less than a day). I say if you're looking for a different, good type of book then this is one you should read.

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  • Posted June 8, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Pretty Good

    If you like angst, this the book for you. The plot was interesting and kind of weird, but I ended up liking it. Parts of the books were confusing, but I liked the writing and the message of the book. The book is most definitely about the main character finding herself, but she is finding herself a little too late. Basically she is dead the entire book and she goes back to memories where she lost something. I found the theme of the novel very mind boggling. I think it was a novel that showed what thinking outside the box really is!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    The Everafter Review

    I thought this book was just okay. The middle was very hard to get through and it seemed to drag on and on, but I was a little more satisfied by the end. First off, the writing was very immature. It felt like the writing was my own as a third grader. The story was too much of internal dialogue and not enough plot. I think that was the main problem with this book. There was absolutely no plot and it was too confusing to be able to build one. It was very confusing because the events were both happening in the story's present time and also in the past of Maddy's memories. On top of this, I thought the book was boring because the entire story is Maddy reliving her previous memories on how she lots these random insignificant objects. I understand the author was trying to deliver the story is a subconscious way, but I still feel that only a little of Maddy's life was given to me. It goes from Maddy trying to rediscover these objects thinking she must find them to pass on, but then she just stops trying to find the objects and just lives through the memories. So that was confusing... and got old. As for the characters, I didn't like Gabe at first. He seemed like the guy that was either going to be a quick relationship with Maddy and it was going to end soon, or he was going to be a soft marshmallow, which is even worse. But by the end of the book, he did grow on me and I was surprised with the ending. I didn't mind the main character Maddy, but I never was able to connect with her. Also, the author's perceptions on ages are a bit messed up. She has at one age, 11 for example, she is doing these very mature things and then the next chapter at the same age, she'll be extremely immature. So that was an error on her part. As for the positive, the ending of the book was a huge surprise. I never guessed that was how Maddy was going to die. So that was good. But overall, I would not recommend this book.

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