Twisting together chilling mystery and sweet romance, HEREAFTER leaves the possibilities of a world unseen lingering in your mind and your heart long after you’ve turned the final page.
A tender and poignant love story with a ghostly twist.
For years, Amelia has drifted in an ambiguous haze, punctuated by nightmares. She knows she is dead; no one in the living world can see her; she has encountered no other ghosts; and, from her nightmares, she knows she died by drowning. This static, anguished existence suddenly changes when a boy falls into the river, dying before her eyes. As he fades, he sees Amelia, really sees her, galvanizing him to struggle and be saved. Thus begins the romance between Amelia and Joshua (who can still see and speak with her) as they grapple with maintaining the tenuous and mysterious electricity between them. The obvious difficulties are complicated by Joshua's grandmother, who insists that it is his job to exorcise Amelia, and the appearance of another ghost, who has an entirely different fate in mind for her. Using the device of Amelia's memory loss, Hudson avoids the chunks of exposition that sometimes weigh down paranormal stories, and the narrative gradually unfolds as Amelia and Josh learn her history. It's a straightforward tale, refreshingly without too much "apparatus," and an encouraging debut for Hudson. Ages 12–up. (June)
Gr 7 Up—Amelia is dead and she knows it. As her spirit haunts the area near High Bridge, she wonders who she was before. She has nightmares of drowning, and after each one she wakes up in a cemetery, but she's never been able to force herself to turn and look at the headstones. Then one night a boy is drowning in the river. She saves his life and makes a connection with him that allows him to see her while all other attempts at communicating with the living have failed. What follows is a chaste supernatural romance that doesn't really deliver. Hudson tries to set up the rules for her spirit characters, but they end up being cumbersome rather than furthering the story. Amelia can't touch items in the living world, but after saving Joshua, they are able to touch, and it causes all sorts of tingles for them. Although she can't touch things, she can, apparently, be contained by them as evidenced by extended scenes of her riding in Josh's car, the doors of which need to be opened for her since she can't touch them. An evil spirit named Eli is trying to keep Amelia as his assistant in the afterlife, and Josh turns out to be a "seer" whose grandmother has been working for years to exorcise the spirits from the area of the bridge. All of the elements of an intriguing supernatural thriller/romance are here; unfortunately, they should add up to more than they do. Only the most die-hard genre lovers will stick with this one.—Genevieve Gallagher, Charlottesville High School, VA
Amelia knows she's dead and that she drowned, but little more.
Then she encounters a drowning boy, Josh, and though he survives, his brief experience of death allows him to see her. Soon they're an item—his presence and touch reawaken her senses. Josh takes her to school, and together they investigate her origins. In the less-benign afterlife when Josh is not around, Amelia meets mysterious Eli, once a handsome young man and now responsible for bringing the recently dead to his masters, terrifying beings that rule the afterlife's nastier corners. While Eli plots to make Amelia his apprentice, Amelia and Josh pursue the genre's traditional passionate-but-chaste relationship. Among the obstacles they face is Ruth, Josh's grandmother, a "Seer" who can perceive Amelia but confuses her with Eli, whom she's sworn to exorcize. The breathless ending has "sequel to come" written all over it. Smoothly written—the spookily vivid afterlife is a strong point—this debut represents a modest addition to a fantasy genre featuring heroines with limited aspirations.
Being dead, Amelia has a better excuse than most for lacking a career goal beyond finding bliss with the one living guy who can see her. (Paranormal romance. 12 & up)