Susan's Reviews > Elsewhere

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
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's review
Dec 14, 08

it was amazing
bookshelves: young-adult
Read in December, 2008

In a way, there is something about Zevin's view of the afterlife reminds me of the Florida vacations from my childhood: a leisurely drive through one sunny, pleasant day after another. If that was all there was to it, I probably wouldn't recommend this book so highly, but Zevin's story of a girl's growth after her own mortal life ends is anything but simple. The recently deceased arrive in Elsewhere (as the afterlife is known) with the understanding that they will be aging backwards to the point of their reappearance into the earthly realm as a new baby. For Lizzie, a teenager who was killed in a car accident, this means that instead of growing up, she will have to relive her childhood a second time at a point when she's scarcely left it behind to begin with. While everyone around her seems to be gaining all sorts of personal insight and acceptance, Lizzie plummets into an all-consuming state of mourning for the life she never got to live. The tale of how she gets from this lowest point to enlightenment on the way to her rebirth is beautiful and thought-provoking and a wonderful read. Dogs are in Elsewhere too, and while I wouldn't change a thing about the book, Zevin does risk a little bit of sentimentality when it comes to some of those scenes. The opening of the book, for example, told from the perspective of Lizzie's pug Lucy was almost too much, and dampened my enthusiasm a bit going in---but do read on, because this journey is definitely a trip worth taking. And though it deals so much with death and everything that entails, it's poignant without being at all depressing.

So far I've yet to read a book by Gabrielle Zevin that isn't absolutely fantastic. I'm looking forward to see what else is in store from her.

Recommended for fans of Markus Zusak, Sarah Dessen, Sharon Creech, Jay Asher
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