Thursday, March 31, 2011

Everlost by Neal Shusterman

Publisher:  Simon & Schuster
Publish Date: November 10, 2009
ISBN:  978-0-689-87237-2
Pages:  336
Cover Design:  Daniel Roode

Ok, I realize that this book says grade 8 and up, but it's in the YA section.  I would say it's definitely Middle Grade.  Now, keeping that in mind -

I liked it.  I think that for the younger end of YA, it's great!  The characters are strong, the conversation flows nicely, there are some wonderful elements and some "WOW!" moments.

Two families have a collision and one child from each vehicle dies.  Somehow, on their way to wherever they're going, they get lost and end up in Everlost.  Nick and Allie learn that Everlost is where all the lost Afterlights (lost children) end up and live.  They meet a boy living in the forest near where their accident happened and he's been there so long, he doesn't remember his name anymore, so they name him Lief.

Nick and Allie know there has to be a way to get to the end of their journey, although they are assured by Mary that Everlost is their final destination.  Mary lives in the Twin Towers in New York with all the Afterlights that she can gather.  She also writes books on how things work and what to avoid in Everlost.  Are her books skewed a bit to her own thinking and not the truth?  Maybe.  At first 'living' at the Twin Towers seems great, but then Allie realizes that as lost souls, they are very likely to fall into ruts of repetitive behavior.  Allie also believes that Mary WANTS that to happen.  She decides to leave and take Nick and Lief with her.  She is off to find the Haunter - she wants to learn how to affect the real world.

They have several adventures, including figuring out how to send Afterlighters on to their final destination.  They also realize that you can like someone and yet be at opposite ends or be at opposite ends and like someone - either way, it's true.

Of all the characters, Nick starts out as kind of annoying but ends up being the one I like the best - he actually seems to grow and change.  Mary was just a surface character, although she could have been really scary as she's outwardly nice and sweet, but underneath she's awful and she doesn't even know how awful she is.

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