By: Cynthia Ayala
Hereafter by Tara Hudson, published on June 7, 2011 by HarperTeen, follows Amelia as she lives out her afterlife dreaming about the way she died while trying to find meaning in her ghostly existence.
A paranormal romance novel for the young adult genre follows the ghostly existence of Amelia as she lives each day by the black bridge where she died over the dark river on the edge of the town. However, then she meets Joshua and saves him from her same death. Then in a single moment, the two connect. However, as the story progresses, her life gets more complicated. Now fully aware of her current existence, Amelia becomes haunted by an evil that wants her for himself.
While it is an interesting story told in a first person perspective, there is something lacking in the novel. While it is interesting to discover the character alongside herself, readers are still deprived of who she is. Her personality does not lend much for the reader to go on in order to see her, to visualize and relate to her. Other characters have these personalities. For instance, the “evil” ghost Eli, he is spooky, and his motivations are clear, they are vibrant and the description and detail that goes into putting him in perspective is well done. Joshua as well is easy to understand the character. However, his creation is too perfect. He is sweet, funny, a jock and smart. Everything is so smooth for this character that it reads as unrealistic. Moreover, his grandmother, she is the character everyone loves to hate. She is rude, condescending and self-righteous, her only redeemable quality being the fact that she cares about her family. So the characterization needed much work in this novel. They all fit together well but who they are, what drives them as characters, their personalities does not resonate off the pages. They just seem bland, cardboard replicas of actual human beings than anything real, including the relationship between Joshua and Amelia. It is a sweet relationship, but everything happens so fast. Their relationship, painted similar to that of Romeo and Juliet, moves as quickly without the drama, substance and depth, not just a grandmother using her seer powers to cause petty pains to a dead girl.
As for construction, style, scene specifics, that was all done very well. Visualizing the scene, wherever these characters the readers can see it. One problem than Hudson has with this novel is her pace. The audience can feel the writers desire to get to the end of the novel, her excitement. However, that takes away from the book; it takes away from the reader’s ability to see the scenes. Especially the most crucial and climatic moment in the novel: when Amelia is reliving her death, the day she died. Everything moves so fast and there specifics on the scene that are minimally used to ground the reader in the scene.
However, the story, the development, it is captivating and well thought out. Every point connected, pulling the story together. (★★★☆☆ | C+)