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.
Hereafter was a romantic and alluring debut novel that will surely captivate teen paranormal fans. I liked how the main female character was the ghost and the boy was human- it was a fresh twist and made things that much more entertaining. Tara Hudson has a beautiful and lyrical way of writing and I know I would read anything she wrote just because of that. Luckily, Hereafter succeeded in more ways than one, and after the slow beginning I really got into Amelia’s story.
Amelia was a unique main character not only because she was a ghost, but because she had so much mystery surrounding her. She knew nothing about herself other than her first name and age that she died. No inkling of her family or who killed her/how she died remained. I felt for her because it must be so horrible to feel so lost and not understand or remember anything about your life. Also, she has had no human contact for years and keeps waking up from terrifying nightmares where she relives the day she drowned. Drowning is definitely on my list of top five worst ways to die and I hated having to see Amelia relive her pain day after day. Soon though, her life (if you can call it that!) is changed forever when she attempts to rescue a teenage boy from drowning in the same river she herself perished. Amelia soon discovers that Joshua actually sees her and that they can communicate as well.
Even though their relationship moved a tad fast, I did enjoy watching Joshua and Amelia get to know and understand each other. Joshua definitely had more to him than met the eye and his family history was something different. Joshua was a sweet and extremely likable guy and he went against all the usual stereotypes. His feelings for Amelia were clear and he would do so much to protect her, even though she was a ghost. I also liked how much he cared for his sister and making sure she was okay. Jillian was a nice secondary character and I felt for her when things got tough near the end.
There were so many supernatural elements to the story and Amelia and Joshua were soon caught up in a web of intrigue and mystery. I liked how I wasn’t always entirely sure what was going to happen next and Tara Hudson definitely surprised me several times.
The last few chapters were extremely intense and I was on the edge of my seat. After making it through the slow beginning I was soon caught up in Hereafter and its original premise. I am anxious for the sequel now, since the ending left me wanting to know more! If you’re a fan of paranormal YA, then I definitely recommend checking this out.
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
June 7, 2011/HarperCollins/416 Pages/Young Adult/Book One
Source: Teens Read Too (ARC) and Netgalley (E-Galley)
*Reviewed for Teens Read Too