Review: Hereafter by Tara Hudson

Book: Hereafter by Tara Hudson
Published: June 7, 2011/ HarperCollins
Genre: YA/ Paranormal Romance
Pages: 416 pages
Where I got it: received as an e-book from NetGalley
Buy It: Amazon

Summary (from Goodreads): 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.
Thrilling and evocative, with moments of pure pleasure, Hereafter is a sensation you won't want to miss.

My thoughts: I've always had a thing for ghost stories but as I get older I feel like it's getting more difficult to impress me. Hereafter is a captivating story told from the point of view of young Amelia, who is a ghost. I really like books where the narrator is not your typical protagonist and this was no exception. It reminded me of The Book Thief in certain aspects, which is one of my favorite books. Part love story, part ghost story; this paranormal romance novel is a spooky and exciting debut effort from author Tara Hudson.

After her death, Amelia spent her days trying to get the living to see or hear her again. She was unsuccessful for a very long time, until Joshua came along and almost died at the very same bridge and river that took Amelia's life many years before. Joshua comes from a family of "see-ers", or people who have the ability to interact with ghosts once they've had some sort of triggering event. When Joshua's heart stopped briefly in the river, he was then able to see and hear Amelia as if she was a regular human girl. Of course, the two of them fall in love and Joshua sets out to help Amelia discover who she was. Throughout the novel, Hudson slowly reveals the details behind Amelia's death and the person she was before she died in the river. She had me on the edge of my seat as I waited to learn more about the sweet and modest girl.

In addition to the mystery of Amelia's life, the couple was faced with other obstacles along the way. There was Eli, the "bad" ghost, who was trying to recruit Amelia to the dark side, so to speak. As the only other ghost Amelia had ever come in contact with, he had a lot of answers for her about what she was going through. I enjoyed reading about the internal struggle she had in needing him for answers despite knowing his evil intentions. It presented an interesting dilemma for Amelia and helped demonstrate the age old question of what happens when good and evil face off. There was also Joshua's grandmother, Ruth, another see-er who was NOT a fan of Amelia. She made it very clear that she did not approve of the two as a couple, or of any ghostly beings.

There were a lot of entertaining qualities in Hereafter. The only real issue I had with it was how much it seemed to focus on the developing relationship between Amelia and Joshua and maybe not quite enough focus on Amelia's backstory. It was also a little bit weird to me how okay Joshua was with the fact that he was dating a ghost. I did not realize that it's the first in a series when I was reading it, so I was happy to see that I'll be able to read more about Amelia in the future.

My rating: 3.5 stars 

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