After being killed in a hit-and-run accident in her hometown of Medford, Mass., 15-year-old Liz Hall starts "living" in a new world called Elsewhere. At first glance, you would think this is Earth, but there are some major differences.
First, of course, everybody in Elsewhere is dead. Whether it was a natural death, a murder or a terrible accident, you go to Elsewhere.
Second, once you arrive on Elsewhere (you must take a ship), you start aging backwards from the age of your passing, and once you are back to a newborn baby, you are sent down the river back to Earth, to be born again as a different person. This is called the Release.
And third, the only way you can watch your friends and loved ones is through binoculars on the Observation Decks, paying with special coins called Eternims.
Unless you are daring enough to break the Elsewhere law and go deep into the ocean and watch from The Well. But the main reason people take the dangerous dive into the ocean is so they can communicate with people on Earth, and when Liz attempts this, that's when the story really begins.
Reading this sad, touching, funny and beautiful story about life and death, love and hate, and young and old, I started feeling grateful about still being here, and serious about living life to the fullest and being happy.
This book really made me wonder what comes after this life. I read it for my book club, and everyone loved it. Gabrielle Zevin does a great job putting such detail, imagination and thought into this book.
Other books by her include "Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac," "Margarettown" and "The Hole We're In." I recommend this book for ages 10-16.