(After Series #1)
by Jillian Eaton
Publisher: Bay Horse (Self-Published) (June 2012)
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Format: ebook (196 pages)
Source: Review Request
Rating: ★★★½☆ (3.5 stars)
“Just because you’re dead doesn’t mean you can’t die again in a thousand different ways.”
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? ~Add on Goodreads
At A Glance
I loved the concept right away and was pleasently surprised by how much I liked After Ever.
After her mother’s death and father’s slow withdraw from the world, Winnie’s focus becomes rebelling against her old self. Tattoos, face piercings, and dreadlocks is her new look, and sullen, trouble-making teenager is her new persona. That is until she dies. And the afterlife or “After” is not all its cracked up to be. The After is not much different from the living world except for the Unkowns trying to steal your soul and the elusive answers you get from your geeky but cute guide. Everything gets worse when Sam, the guide, is taken by an Unkown and only Winnie can save him. But will she get there in time?
I was so excited when I first read the description of this book. I like unique concepts. They seem hard to come by in the paranormal world recently. I have to admit, it was hard reading the beginning of the book knowing Winnie was going to die. It made me so sad. All she has left is her little brother, Brian, who is like the cutest kid ever. I would want a little brother like that. Winnie and Brian keep each other strong while their father tries to bury the past with young, money-grubbing girlfriends or by avoiding his daughter who reminds him of his wife. Winnie only wants her dad to really look at her. To deal with his wife’s death and become the dad he was before. The whole family is pretty messed up and with Winnie dying, I don’t know how Brian and her dad are going to survive.
Winnie was hardcore entertaining. She is rude and snarky, but also brave. I liked her attitude because it rang true for a teen who recently lost her mother. She also took things in stride. She didn’t freak out (much) when she found out she was dead. She went with the flow as much as she could. And Sam made the experience of reading After Ever that much more fun. He may not be the best guide, but he is a hero in my eyes. He protected Winnie through everything. And he doesn’t take Winnie’s crap. He actually gives her a run for her money. Their snarky banter was the best part of this book.
The After was exciting to explore with Winnie. I like seeing other people’s idea of the afterlife. Eaton’s was both scary and beautiful. The Unkowns freaked me out. I am not going to spoil it by telling you what they are but you can bet your butt you would not want them chasing after you.
The writing was good and the pace kept me interested the whole time. It was a quick read. I read it in one night. I am definitely interested in continuing this series.
I find myself wishing there was more world building. So much is kept secret from Winnie, which means a lot was kept from us too. I wanted to know more about the After and experience more of it too.
Also, the plot could have been more structured. It was a little aimless sometimes. There’s no real main goal, just small side ones that pop up through the novel.
One last thing. I don’t know who is responsible for it, but the last 30% of the book wouldn’t come up right on my Kindle nor my Kindle for PC. A lot of the sentences were cut off and missing. It really took away from me enjoying the last part of this book since I missed a lot. Maybe I just got a dysfunctional copy. (Update: This problem has been fixed)
Don’t read this book for the romance. We get some awkward crush stuff between Winnie and Sam but that’s it. But I liked it that way. Not every YA book needs to have a huge romance. This was about Winnie’s journey and it worked.
I really had fun with After Ever. It made me want to cry and laugh at the same time. The ending was well done. I wasn’t sure how Eaton was going to wrap it up and not leave readers heartbroken. But she worked it out. Recommended for those looking for a book with an orginal concept.
“For God’s sake put on your glasses, Sam. You’re staring right at my boobs.”
“I am like a ship, cast out in the ocean to bob aimlessly amidst the waves. No, I correct myself silently. Not a ship. More like the buoy that the ship runs over.”