Book Recommendation: Afterworlds

Minimalism at its finest

I’ve found that, the books I love, cause an emotional reaction I didn’t expect. For example, a lot of the books I’ve really loved have made me angry. Angry that I didn’t write them, angry that I didn’t discover a book earlier, angry that the author had taken so long to put the words on the page and that I couldn’t devote more of my life to rereading the same sentences over and over and over again.

Scott Westerfeld’s latest novel, Afterworlds, created another unexpected emotion: sadness. About a third of the way through the book, I found myself deeply, quietly sad because I knew the more I read, the sooner the story would end. And I didn’t want it to.

So what is Afterworlds about?

Darcy Patel has put college on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. With a contract in hand, she arrives in New York City with no apartment, no friends, and all the wrong clothes. But lucky for Darcy, she’s taken under the wings of other seasoned and fledgling writers who help her navigate the city and the world of writing and publishing. Over the course of a year, Darcy finishes her book, faces critique, and falls in love.

Woven into Darcy’s personal story is her novel, Afterworlds, a suspenseful thriller about a teen who slips into the “Afterworld” to survive a terrorist attack. The Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead, and where many unsolved—and terrifying—stories need to be reconciled. Like Darcy, Lizzie too falls in love…until a new threat resurfaces, and her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she cares about most.

Bonus: Book Trailer!

And now, to vent my sadness!

What Intrigued Me: Well, for one thing, Afterworlds is Darcy’s NaNoWriMo novel. And I am a big NaNo fan. Also, the plot of Afterworlds (Lizzie’s story, not Darcy’s life) is about psychopomps. And clearly I think psychopomps are the coolest thing in mythology.

What Hooked Me: It’s two novels for the price of one! Who could pass up that kind of bargain? But even more, it’s the way the two stories interweave, how the chapters of the novel Afterworlds reflect what’s going on in Darcy’s life. You really can’t have one without the other.

What Made Me Fall In Love: Westerfeld gives his audience a behind the scenes glimpse into not just the writing process, but the publishing industry, and what goes into getting a novel published. To hear the characters discuss writing, crafting the chapters of Afterworlds right before the readers’ eyes, is the kind of fly-on-the-wall perspective that fiction lovers long to see. There is a clear sense of the passion that goes into it, how you have to love writing to be a writer, that a lot of readers will echo.

Me too. Me too.

Afterworlds is available September 23 from Amazon or your local bookstore. For the love of books, go get it.

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