Victoria's Reviews > Everlost

Everlost by Neal Shusterman
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's review
Feb 01, 10

Addicting, creative, fascinating tale that weaves something that could have been either cliched or overly creepy into something brilliant and original.

Allie and Nick are dead, killed instantly in a car crash that involved their respective family's cars. According to the laws of the universe, they should have crossed over. But the thing is, not all children cross over. Some trip, stumble, or resist the journey into the light...and end up in Everlost, just like Allie and Nick have.

Everlost is a between-place, and Shusterman throws it wide open in amazing, utterly commendable style. Rarely does an author have the talent to make a world their own so fully, as well as flesh the characters that inhabit it. There are rules to be followed, monsters to be feared, leaders to be looked to. It is a full and fascinating world in its own right.

Allie and Nick are different from most Afterlights; they're not content simply to wander eternally, forgetting their lives and falling into ruts of endless patience. They want answers, they want life, and they refuse to take no for an answer.

But their quest will take them into the heart of New York and up and down the East Coast as they become enmeshed among Everlost's most well-known characters; Mary Hightower, who zealously protects the Afterlight children who come under her care; the Alter Boys, a rough and tumble gang who only respect might; the Haunter, who knows all kinds of tricks for interacting with the living; and the McGill, the horrific monster whose very name terrifies everyone who hears it. And the further the two go, the more they realize what powers they possess, and how they fit into the grand scheme of Everlost.

Weaving all these and more together, and exploring their relationships, their motivations and personalities, and in the end their destinies, Shusterman has truly made a stunning beginning novel to this trilogy. None of Everlost's components are heavy-handed or ridiculous. Any religious or scientific quarrels are neatly circumvented, as reaching the afterlife beyond Everlost is simply referred to as "getting where you're going." Real world places, things, and events are cleverly and tastefully referenced, often in unexpected and amusing ways (I especially found the significance of the Twin Towers to be creative and well-handled, and keep an eye out for a hilarious Amityville Horror reference.)

All in all, I can't wait to return to Everlost in the sequel.
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