Elsewhere: Gabrielle Zevin (Review ten of the review challenge)


It’s another lazy afternoon in Silverstone, and it’s the last day of the review challenge and the tenth, final review. I’m feeling mixed emotions, definitely a mix of relief, excitement to step away from the blog for a couple of days review wise at least and a little sad. I haven’t reviewed so many books in so little time since my blog was created and I have learnt a lot about reviewing, and blogging and generally being a reader. I cannot wait to do this again and I would advise anyone that is trying to improve their writing of reviews, or just get through a back-log of books then this is definitely a wonderful idea. This final review is of a well loved book that I have never attempted to review. It’s one I go back to time and time again and I thought it finally deserved a review; so here it is.

Welcome to Elsewhere. It is warm, with a breeze, and the beaches are marvelous. It’s quiet and peaceful. You can’t get sick or any older. Curious to see new paintings by Picasso? Swing by one of Elsewhere’s museums. Need to talk to someone about your problems? Stop by Marilyn Monroe’s psychiatric practice. Elsewhere is where fifteen-year-old Liz Hall ends up, after she has died. It is a place so like Earth, yet completely different. Here Liz will age backward from the day of her death until she becomes a baby again and returns to Earth. But Liz wants to turn sixteen, not fourteen again. She wants to get her driver’s license. She wants to graduate from high school and go to college. And now that she’s dead, Liz is being forced to live a life she doesn’t want with a grandmother she has only just met. And it is not going well. How can Liz let go of the only life she has ever known and embrace a new one? Is it possible that a life lived in reverse is no different from a life lived forward?

I adore YA fiction and I guess this was my first experience and it’s paved the way to an adoring fan of the genre. It’s been a while since I’ve read such a fresh faced YA fiction book; there are no vampires or star struck lovers only an original storyline based on human existance. It’s a book on reincarnation that is so detailed, so new, so fresh and imaginative that the first time I read this book a number of years ago I couldn’t quite take it all in.

The characters are not only incredibly well built up and relatable but they are incredibly memorable. Readers of mylittlebookblog know how important it is to me that the characters stand up to scrutiny and the proof of this is when I need a book that will stand up to character scrutiny I go for this one, time and time again. Although the third person point of view does lead to Liz being a little distant at times it is written so you cannot help but be moved by her story. She is both
incredibly immature and frustrating at times and then suddenly, maddeningly mature. Her intense contradicting nature is so true of teenagers and the angsts of this teenager is perfectly depicted.

I guess the only way to really describe this book is that it is an honestly, tense and and stressful reading that will not only make you think, but make you re-evaluate your entire understanding of existance, life-after-death, and experiencing life as you can before it is stolen horribly away. It will leave you feeling both exceptionally curious about life but also terrified that things could change so unbelievably in the flash of an eye. What we learn most strongly through the re-living of Liz’s life, turning back the years, the weeks, the hours, the seconds, we learn that life is neither about time or existance, it is instead the quality that matters, not the length and we grow from experiences not from age.

Readers of all ages with absolutely love this book and its wisdom, its beauty and its honesty. You will marvel at its philosophical impact, its positive and honest portrayal of the consequences of the actions we make and the people we meet along the way. A stunning book and a perfect end to the ten review challenge.


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