Mariel's Reviews > Everlost

Everlost by Neal Shusterman
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Sep 11, 10

Recommended to Mariel by: what are you saving?
Recommended for: Lauren
Read in June, 2009

I swear on my dog's life that Neal Shusterman's Everlost is pure awesomeness.

Kids who die go to a sort of place but not a place existing between life and death called Everlost. If they stay there instead of passing on, they have to stay in areas called "dead spots", where a significant death has happened. (Main kids Allie and Nick's car accident took place by a forest that has burned down. Sometimes a spot is massive, such as the entire city of Atlanta (seen in the second in the Skinjacker trilogy, Everwild). These spots are what is still real to the kids, and the "live" spots they will sink right through if they stay there for any time. [I loved the details, like Shusterman thought of everything.] Food passes through if it had some special meaning to a person, like birthday cakes. That doesn't happen often. Fortune cookies are everywhere (there's more to this I shall say nothing about, lest I become too spoilerific), however. (Shusterman put a lot of thought into realizing the world of Everlost. The detail is half the fun.) Kids who have made their er living in Everlost trade in a black market (there's no law but it still feels black market all the same. Probably 'cause the trading gets dirty) of rare goods such as food, or vehicles that have passed through (one character drives the Hindenburg. I must say I enjoyed the way he played with disasters from the past).

Every kid has a coin on them (representing the payment to pass on). If they have no unfinished business, their coin will take them back. An older kid Mary Hightower (her name comes from her dominion of the world trade center) thinks she knows what is best for everyone else, and it is in her best interest to keep kids from passing on. She loves to be needed. One way she does this is ensure that kids forget themselves by installing them in meaningless routines (she'd get along great with The Terrible Trivium from The Phantom Tollbooth). The coins? Mary Her High and mighty Highness has them throw away in a wishing well. (Evil isn't she.)

Mary Hightower is one of my favorite villains of ya fiction. She means well, but lord is she infuriating. Mary Hightower publishes manifestos to lead lost kiddos to her cause. Her propaganda is far reaching.

The lost kiddos have to remind themselves constantly of themselves. Most cannot remember their old names for long, let alone what they really looked like. They become what they feel like they look like, and that can lead to becoming something of a darker nature. If they can't remember themselves, they'll be in Everlost forever (under that hoity toity Mary Hightower? Yikes!). The other baddie of the book is the monster McGill, another Everlost legend, with a decidedly less than friendly reputation than that of Mary Hightower. There is more to Everlost than the inhabitants will have Nick and Allie believe. (It's a bit like prison in that the worst part is the other inhabitants. The whole black market thing put me immediately in mind of prison. Something might be wrong with my mind.) I enjoyed their story in this bizarre little death world.

Nick is determined to stop Mary Hightower (too bad he's also in love with her). Allie wants to see her family again, and is still stuck to her old life. Their friend Leif from the forest is something like one of Peter Pan's Lost Boys.


I wouldn't lie where this little guy is concerned. (Even if he is a ventriloquist pooter. The crafty little devil blames me for all his farts, from silent but deadly to the musical variety.)
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