Hereafter, by Tara Hudson

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Author’s website
Publication Date – May 30, 2011

Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) Can there truly be love after death?

Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she’s dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she’s trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.

Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world… forever.

Thoughts: The book opens with a hectic and choatic set of scenes involvingmvarious people drowning, which remarkably mirrors how I felt trying to get a foothold and figure out where I stood with regard to the characters, the setting, the book itself. And when I finally found that place, it was with a groan and a wince as the main character, a ghost who remembers little to nothing of her life, rescues a drowning boy and gets very possessive of him. Not in a creepy way, or at least not intentionally creepy. In a way that’s supposed to be passionate and romantic.

There are few things that turn me off a book more quickly than that. I held out hope that there might be a reason behind it, that perhaps Amelia had known Joshua while she was alive, but no, that card wasn’t even played. She just gets madly interested in him for no real reason.

I don’t think it would bother me quite so much if it hadn’t been so hypocritical in the context of this book. Eli has much the same feeling for Amelia, who reminds Eli of his dead-and-crossed-over lover. Eli goes so far as to have caused Amelia’s death to bring the two closer together, wanting her to want him and be with him always. But since Eli’s a deeply flawed personality, his love is creepy. The same kind of mindless unreasoning love is presented as perfectly fine, though, when it’s the protagonist and the object of their affections. I strongly dislike this kind of hypocrisy.

The book wasn’t entirely bad. There were a few unexpected twists, such as with Ruth. You expect the Seer grandmother to aid Amelia, but instead she clings to her negative prejudice even when Amelia asks for her help which created an interesting source of conflict, and a very realistic one. People don’t let go of their grudges easily. And the writing style, except for the chaotic beginning, was just fine. Fluid, good pacing. It didn’t stand out, either as anything good or bad.

This book would be fine, I think, for people who like generic YA paranormal romance who don’t mind obsessive love as a driving force behind the characters. Beyond that, though, I’m afraid I can’t really recommend this book.

(Received for review from the publisher via NetGalley.)

One comment on “Hereafter, by Tara Hudson

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