Publisher: HarperCollins (June 2011)
Can there truly be love after death?
Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.
Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.
Hereafter is a well written, very interesting book. I was sucked in right from the first page. I liked the premise of the book. Amelia is a ghost with no idea why she is dead and what she looks like. Daily, she is drawn to a dark river underneath a mysterious bridge. One night, she sees Joshua drowning and is able to help him get back to shore. Joshua is a Seer and is the only one that can see and touch Amelia. As Joshua helps Amelia learn who she is and why she died, they form a friendship that quickly turns into love. It was refreshing to read a YA book that didn't have any of the teen angst that goes along with boy/girl relationship...or boy/ghost girl in this case. The two of them actually talk and become friends as they fall for each other. The romance was sweet and easy. There is also no love triangle. I'm not a fan of those.
Ms. Hudson has created a unique take on the afterlife. There is a heaven and hell, but there are also several places in between where evil souls try to trap other souls forever by luring them to their deaths. Amelia meets Eli who tries to recruit her to help him do this. While she feels she is good, she also fights a lure to the stark and grey afterlife that he shows her. That is all of the plot that I will give away. Any more and I think I would ruin it. The characters are strong and interesting. Despite the fact the Joshua's grandmother would like to exorcise Amelia, I liked her.
As with most YA novels these days, Hereafter is the first in a trilogy. I loved the ending as it had no cliffhanger. It only left room for more secrets to be revealed in the next book. I want to know more about Joshua's grandmother and how she became a seer. I also want to know more about the other sides and how they are created. I definitely recommend this one as a teen read.