Current Affairs, YA fiction

Elsewhere – Gabrielle Zevin – 8/10

I mooched Elsewhere for my sister; it
had been recommended somewhere
for young adults, and I am trying to interest her in something other than
Twilight and its offshoots. When it arrived, I thought I ought to read it first
– we have recently had a death in the family and I didn’t want to post off a
tragedy without knowing what I was responsible for. So I sat down to read it.

And looked up three hours later, having
finished it.

A relatively simple structure, based around
the idea that Heaven (or “Elsewhere” here – there is no alternative for bad
people) is much like Earth, but that people age backwards from death until
infancy and are then dispatched back to Earth. Possibly not a revolutionary
idea, but certainly an interesting one.

It was this same not overly ambitious,
rather efficient manner with which Zevin described life, romance and set-backs
in Elsewhere, and apart from some people being born with the innate ability to
speak canine, with which I struggled, I found this a delightful take on tragedy
(our heroine Liz dies aged 15 in a cycling accident). Characters were
reasonable – everyday members of the family and community, nothing
extraordinary – and well-developed, only as far as was necessary, which I felt
was very appropriate for a YA novel.

I haven’t sent it on to my sister, but I
will do once things are a bit less emotional in the family.


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