puddleglum, September 21, 2006 (view all comments by puddleglum)
I guess the success of this book is to present an afterlife where no Creator is revealed, because "He, She, or It" is simply whatever people wanted "He, She, or It" to be before they died. Therefore, there is no personal God at all! To some this might be comforting, but it does not allow for any Further Purpose other than existence as it is known on earth! Plus a couple mentions of sex, hopping into back seats of cars, and one night stands... I guess just typical young adult fare. (Fifteen years of age seems to be the new low-end standard for such things.)
Reincarnation is really what is all about, with the twist you get younger so you forget enough to eventually be born...again! I honestly feel she should be recognized as the founder of a new religion especially aimed at young people.
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Jennifer Bradshaw, August 16, 2006 (view all comments by Jennifer Bradshaw)
I found this book to be a quite intruiging look at the afterlife. Living your life (death) backwards toward your birth is like a facinating take on the mystery of what happens after we die. This book is very original and is enjoyable to read.
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"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Even readers who have strong views on what happens after death may find themselves intrigued by the fascinating world of 'Elsewhere,' the place 15-year-old Liz ends up after she is killed in a bicycle accident. A surreal atmosphere permeates chapter one as Liz awakens on a ship (mostly occupied by elderly people), unaware of its destination. Her situation gradually comes into focus after she arrives at the island of Elsewhere and is greeted by her grandmother, who died before Liz was born. Liz learns that the aging process works differently in this land of the dead: instead of getting older, humans (and animals) grow younger. When they reach infancy, they are sent down the River to be reborn on Earth. In other ways, Elsewhere resembles the world Liz left behind; residents work at jobs (although here, everyone has a chance to pursue an 'avocation... something a person does to make his or her soul complete'), celebrate holidays and form friendships. Liz also falls in love for the first time, while her grandmother (who has progressed back to her thirties) becomes engaged to a famous rock star; and readers will likely be intrigued by the 'strictly forbidden' Well. Prudently skirting the issue of God's role in Elsewhere (when she asks about God, Liz is told simply 'God's there in the same way He, She, or It was before to you. Nothing has changed'), Margarettown author Zevin, in her first novel for young people, bends the laws of physics and biology to create an intricately imagined world. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
In this delightful novel death is a begining, a new start. Liz is killed in a hit a run accident and her 'life' takes a very unexpected turn. At nearly sixteen she knows she will never get married, never have children, and perhaps never fall in love. But in Elsewhere all things carry on almost as they did on earth except that the inhabitants get younger, dogs and humans can communicate (at last) new relationships are formed and old ones sadly interrupted on earth are renewed.
Full of the most ingenious detail and woven around the most touching and charming relationships this is a novel of hope, of redemption and re-birth. It is a novel that tells of sadness with heart-breaking honesty and of love and happiness with uplifting brilliance.
by School Library Journal (Starred Review),
"A quiet book that provides much to think about and discuss."
by Booklist (Starred Review),
"[A] work of powerful beauty....[T]his inventive novel slices right to the bone of human yearning, offering up an indelible vision of life and death as equally rich sides of the same coin."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"An unusual premise and a thoughtful treatment make Zevin's first effort at writing for young adults a success. Will captivate teens ready for a thought-provoking read. Hopeful and engaging."
by Chicago Tribune,
"Great humor and speculation, on pets as well as people."
by The New York Times Book Review,
"Zevin's touch is marvelously light even as she considers profundities, easily moving among humor, wisdom and lyricism....No plot synopsis can convey what a rich, wise spell this book casts."
"A fun and thought-provoking page-turner. Readers...will relish Zevin's lively imagination and her fast-moving plot. Buy this book for them."
by Carolyn Mackler, author of The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things and Vegan Virgin Valentine,
"Elsewhere is a funny, fast-paced, and fascinating novel. The concept is completely out there and yet the emotions are so weirdly realistic. I loved reading the story of Liz's life (death?)."
by The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books,
"Funny and pensive, happy and heartbreaking. Readers from a broad range of beliefs will find this a quirky and touching exploration of the Great Beyond."
Elsewhere is where 15-year-old Liz Hall ends up, after she has died. It is a place so like Earth, yet completely different. Here Liz will age backward from the day of her death until she becomes a baby again and returns to Earth. However, Liz wants to turn 16, not 14 again in this moving, often funny book about grief, death, and loss.
Is it possible to grow up while getting younger?
When 16-year old Gabriela's death is foretold by a letter, she must complete her "wrap-up list" before she's forced to say goodbye forever in this smart, funny, compelling, and mysterious young adult novel.
In this modern-day suburban town, one percent of all fatalities come about in the most peculiar way. Deaths—eight-foot-tall, silver-gray creatures—send a letter (“Dear So-and-So, your days are numbered”) to whomever is chosen for a departure, telling them to wrap up their lives and do the things they always wanted to do before they have to “depart.” When sixteen-year-old Gabriela receives her notice, she is, of course devastated. Will she kiss her crush Sylvester before its too late? Friendship, first love, and fantasy artfully mesh in this magically realistic world that ultimately celebrates life.
Reality TV has a dark future in this thought-provoking thriller
To the people suffering on the war-torn mainland, Bliss Island seems like an idyllic place. And it is: except for the fact that the island is a set, and the islanders lives are a performance. Theyre the stars of a hit TV show, Blissful Days—Characters are adored by mainland viewers, yet in constant danger of being cut if their ratings dip too low. And no one really knows what happens to cut Characters.
Nettie Starling knows shes been given the chance of a lifetime when a producer offers suggestions to help her improve her mediocre ratings—especially when those suggestions involve making a move on the boy shes been in love with for years. But she'll soon have to decide how far she's willing to go to keep the cameras fixed on her. . . especially when she learns what could happen to her if she doesn't.
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