Date Published: June 12, 2012
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Number of Pages: 191
Publisher: Bay Horse
I was captured by this book from the very start, I enjoyed the attitude of the main character, I enjoyed the realism and connection I had. This was definitely a quick and enjoyable read. I liked the different dimensions to this world and found the concept and idea to be creative and fun to read. When I went into reading this book I wasn’t sure what to expect, but as soon as I jumped into the world I was able to see that the book was really divided into two parts and I was able to see two very different stories blend into one…very creative and clever. But overall I enjoyed reading this book and aside from a few issues I found it was in the end a fast and enjoyable read.
So the plot was pretty traditional in the fact that it had all the necessary elements to make a good plot and the resolution was really good and satisfying. I really enjoyed the concept of this book, purgatory or heaven (don’t know which one to really call it) it was something new and fresh, I haven’t read a lot of books that deal with life after death but I have read enough to get the basis down and this book had so many unique qualities and boundaries that I have never read before. The concept of there being 5 levels and heaven having so many rules and restrictions was fun to experience and learn. Though I felt that at times things were a bit awkward and confusing…I didn’t always get something until later on in the book when it was brought up again. But thankfully there weren’t too many of those moments. Something I did find clever and as I mentioned earlier this book was really separated into two parts, a little under half the book was about the character living…letting the reader get to really know Winnie and her life and then the second half was about her death and where she ended up after she died. I don’t know which part I enjoyed more…in the first half I really connected with Winnie and I felt a more emotional tie to her and the book but in the second half I did not so much. But in the second half I felt like the book was changing to be something on its own; something unique and creative. So I guess in the end the two halfs really allowed me to enjoy the book very much. And as far as the pace, it was really fast, the length is short and can be read in one sitting.
There wasn’t a lot of romance in this book, you didn’t really even see any romance until near the three quarter mark so it didn’t bother me at all and the love between the characters felt realistic and sweet. I really thought the two characters really seemed to clash just right, their relationship will definitely have its challenges but I think they’re be fun to read and experience. So overall the romance was good in this book.
I was really able to connect with Winnie from the start, she had a lot of emotional turmoil and experiences and I found it easy to connect with the situation and Winnie. I really felt like Winnie was realistically formed, she had a lot of traits and quirks you could very easily find in a teenager here in reality. I also thought that the other characters were perfect, each one had their own traits and personalities that helped benefit the overall story. And I felt that each character was necessary in the plot and each one had their own role to play. So overall the characters were well formed and placed within the world of the book.
Transformation of the Character:
I didn’t really see that many transformations in this story…I really felt like Winnie would have done a pretty big transformation due to her circumstances but by the end I felt she really didn’t change all that much, she may have changed a little but it was definitely subtle and disappointing. But thankfully there are going to be other books so I have a feeling she’ll be changing and transforming into the character I envision her to be. So overall this aspect of the book didn’t really help the book in any way.
The description was really good at times and just good at others. I felt the author did a fantastic job describing Winnie’s life before she died. I could very easily envision the cabin/resort they were staying at and all the conflicts that occurred. Another scene she did well with was when Winnie was experiencing some of the new elements of the new world (after she died). I could really picture what was happening both physically and emotionally. I love a book that makes me feel and at times I was able to do that. Also I liked how she described the landscapes, she did a great job especially with the cliff scene…it almost reminded me of a cliff in New Zealand! As far as the amount of description I felt that it was adequate for this book and had no problem in this area. As far as the dialogue it wasn’t awkward or too much, it seemed some of the dialogue gave the reader a sense of comic relief. So overall the description was pretty good in this book.
This was only in one POV which was necessary for this story, it allowed the plot/story to be balanced and organized, if it were to change back and forth between POV’s I think it would have just caused disorientation and more distance from the reader to the character/world. Also this was written in first person which allowed the reader to really get a great connection with Winnie, -we were able to see her most inner-thoughts and understand what makes her tick. As for the author’s writing, it was good and I had no problem reading it though there were a few grammar issues throughout the book but not enough to really distract me that much. So overall the style was good.
Quote of the book:
“I begin to sink. Slowly at first, then faster and faster, spinning round and round. The light fades away. I keep my eyes open, straining to catch every last drop of it. And then the darkness swallows me and I see nothing. I am nothing.”
For sixteen-year-old Winnie Coleman, dying is the least of her worries. Between coming to terms with her mother’s unexpected death, trying to think up new and inventive ways to break up her father and Girlfriend #3, and keeping her brother from chewing off his fingers, she has her hands full. Courtesy of a thin patch of ice and failed swimming lessons, all of that changes in the blink of an eye.
In death Winnie will find the answers that eluded her in life, and a whole slew of other questions she never thought to ask. Like why is she stuck with Sam for a guide? Sure, he’s funny and cute in a geeky sort of way, but he wears sweater vests… and loafers. For a girl who has tattoos on her face and glue in her hair, it’s not exactly the best match up.
But when Sam is taken and his very existence threatened, Winnie must make the ultimate choice between cowardice and courage. Faithlessness and loyalty. Family... and love.
Suspenseful and action packed, After Ever is a must read for anyone who ever wondered: what happens next?
I would recommend this to YA readers and to anyone who is willing to read a creative and good story. I really enjoyed the author’s POV and creativeness that came upon creating this world. I can’t wait to read the next installment in the series and look forward to learning more about the “heaven” they are now living in.
Now for a special treat…
Interview with Jillian Eaton
What inspired you to write “After Ever”?
Totally cliché, but I had a dream where I was dead and I had to rescue my sister. The way I envisioned death in my dream is very similar to how it is portrayed in the book, as far as the creation of the After and specifically the Levels (which you’ll find out about it if you read it!) Everything else just sort of fell into place as I went along.
Were there any scenes you had to take out?
A few, although I honestly can’t remember what they were. I tend to write something, reread it, and if it doesn’t jive just delete it then and there. Although there was one funny scene with Francesca, which I won’t say here because I’m hoping to use it for the sequel.
What is your favorite place to write?
I always write at my desk. It’s big and old and I can look out the window and see horses, which is pretty cool.
Was there any music that helped you write your book?
I’ve been waiting to answer a question like this! NO. There is no music that helps me write! I tried listening to all types of music while I was writing, and for the life of me I couldn’t concentrate. I have no idea how other authors do it! If music is playing I can’t write a single word.
If you died like Winnie would you want to attend your own funeral as a ghost/spirit?
What a great question. I’m pretty sure the answer is yes, although I would want to attend for entirely different reasons than she did. I’ll leave it at that.
If there was one book you would love to live in what would it be?
So easy. Harry Potter.
Who were your greatest supporters during this whole process?
My mom. Although I have to admit she hasn’t even read After Ever yet. YA is not her cup of tea. She did read two of my historical romances, though, and said “those parts” made her very uncomfortable!
Has writing this book been a great experience for you?
A SUPER great experience. Also exhilarating, exhausting, and exciting.
Do your characters ever talk back to you? Like do they sometimes give you trouble while writing about them?
Winnie talked back to me frequently. I tried to make her be nicer to Sam, especially in the beginning, but she wasn’t having it. Her sarcasm knows no bounds.
What can we expect from the next book in the series?
The next book will really start to get into the ins and outs of the After itself. This time around Winnie was really flying by the seat of her pants, but now she is definitely starting to get a handle on how things work and that could be good… or bad. Ellie will continue to pull some strings behind the scenes, and of course Francesca and Sam will be back as well, in addition to a new character I am super excited about.
Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Lacey! Your questions were fantastic. Very thought provoking.
No Thank you Jillian for taking the time to answer my questions and allowing us to learn just a little bit more about you and your book!