Reading Level: Young Adult
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Source: Finished copy provided by the publisher
Cover: I actually really like this cover. It's haunting with the silhouettes of the girl and boy and looks a lot like the forest in the beginning. Plus, the green of the background and the bold red lettering look great!
First Sentence: "On a hairpin turn, above a dead forest, on no day in particular, a white Toyota crashed into a black Mercedes, for a moment blending into a blur of grey."
Mini-Review: Wildly imaginative, unique and loads of fun, Everlost is one read you won't mind getting lost in!
Nick and Allie don't survive the car accident...but their souls don't exactly get where they're supposed to get either. Instead, they're caught halfway between life and death, in a sort of limbo known as Everlost: a shadow of the living world, filled with all the things and places that no longer exist. It's a magical yet dangerous place where bands of lost children run wild and anyone who stands in the same place too long sinks to the center of the Earth.
When they find Mary, the self-proclaimed queen of lost kids, Nick feels like he's found a home. But Allie isn't satisfied spending eternity between worlds. Against all warnings, Allie begins learning the "Criminal Art" of haunting and ventures into dangerous territory, where a monster called the McGill threatens all the souls of Everlost.
In this imaginative novel, Neal Shusterman explores questions of life, death, and what just might lie in between.Book Review:
From the first line to the last, Everlost is one of those novels that is unlike anything else out there. It's full of imagination, bigger than life characters, a rich and well developped world and boosts a snarky narrator voice. This type of read felt a bit more middle grade to me and thus wasn't my usual read but it was delightful and something I'm really happy I picked it up to read.
Everlost is one of those worlds that will stick in your head. It reminded me of an upside down Neverland. After Allie and Nick die in a car crash and don't "get where they are going" they wind up in Everlost as "Afterlights" or ghosts. They sink in places not in Everlost (aka places people haven't died or places that haven't been lost to the world), they glow, fortune cookies tell you the real furture and there are monsters and legends taller than the Tall Tales Americans are so fond of. Full of fun stories of ships sinking into the ocean from a belch in the sea and hideous monsters that can't harm those it huants so must "chime them" (hang them upside down and go to swing them around and bore them), it is this rich imaginative world that immediately captures the reader. This is only enhanced by little snippets of some of the character's own books with rules and guidelines.
The characters of this novel are no less big than the place they inhabit. Each has their own legend and the way people talk about them is all heresay. We see it first hand in the plot. The McGill is a hideous monster but the more time we spend with him, the more we find out about his motivations and who he might be underneath. Mary Hightower is a benevolent caretaker to her charges or The Sky Witch or Mary Queen of Snots to others of Everlost who have heard of her. It's all about who you talk to. Allie and Nick were both fun leads and I liked that they didn't always stay together but their paths did cross and effect each other.
The narrator's voice in this novel is just perfect. In an all knowing third person, it feels like some off kelter fairytale. Sometimes snarky, sometimes funny and always a step ahead, it was perfect for the story told. I did feel that the story dragged on a bit and some of the descriptions where just a bit over board. Also, this type of story felt young to me and that's not my thing. However, it was a pleasure to read.
I'm not giving this one a higher rating because I feel it's geared towards younger audiences and wasn't really my thing. But if you love middle grade, this is the book to pick up. Would I read the sequel? Yes! Did I rush to get through this one? No. If this was my type of novel, it would get a five. It's so inventive and fresh! So if you like what you've read, please pick this one up! You won't be disappointed.