Zevin, Gabrielle. Elsewhere. Square Fish Word Count, 2005.
Written by: Gabrielle Zevin
Reviewed by: Irene Vazquez
Recommend to: Young Adults
In this book, Elsewhere, there is a typical young fifteen year old girl named Elizabeth Marie Hall, “Liz”, who is living her life. She is going to turn sixteen and excited to get her driving license and live more of her life. Unexpectedly, Liz got hit by a car while riding her bike on her way to the mall. This is the part of the story where the secret of the afterlife is revealed. Liz ends up on a boat named the SS Nile. She is surprised and can not believe she has died, she thinks it’s all a dream. That gets cleared up when she gets acquainted with Thandi and her grandmother, Betty, who died from breast cancer when she was fifty. She also watches down to Earth to watch her own funeral, which is the cherry on top to knowing she really is dead. The boat ends up taking Liz to a place called Elsewhere.
In Elsewhere things are different. Instead of aging to be older, in Elsewhere you age to be younger from the age you died at. After growing younger, once a person has reached to being an infant that person is returned to Earth to be reborn. This makes things clearer to Liz when she saw her grandmother and she looked to be in her thirties, around the same age as her mother, due to the fact she had died in her fifties. The fact of getting younger than older really caused Liz to have conflict within herself. Liz didn’t want to go backwards but move forward in her life; sadly her life was over. She wanted to be able to get her driver’s license, go to high school dances, graduate, start a family. All her goals she had made were in nowhere in the near future. Her first couple weeks in Elsewhere weren’t too great. Liz indulged herself into what was happening back on Earth. She wasn’t happy to what was going on with her friends and family and she had no control over it which was very frustrating. Although, Liz found a way to make the best of it. Betty watched over her and this created a better bond between Liz and her grandmother that she couldn’t have gotten if she hadn’t gone to Elsewhere. She also makes new friends such as Owen, who is a gaurd at a place in elsewhere where contact with Earth is possible, and her roommate Thandi. the question is will Liz be able to control herself from getting in contact with her family on Earth, which is illegal on Elsewhere, or will she see Elsewhere as a new opportunity to start over and build relationships beyond her imagination?
I would recommend this book to any young adult. It gives you a point of view of the mystery of afterlife and how it is like. It’s a well written story that has you interested from the very beginning. This book can be related to by the plot that explores the curiosity of what its like after death.