by Scott Weterfeld
Afterworlds was such an interesting concept. It is the story of a high school senior, Darcy Patel, who writes a book in one month, gets an agent, and has a big-time contract by the time she graduates. She has until September to do rewrites and then start on the second book. She has a year to finish that. She decides to postpone college and use her huge advance to fund her move to New York City, where she feels that she will be in a literary atmosphere, and will therefore be “A Real Writer”.
This, by itself, would be an interesting story, but Mr. Westerfeld adds another story. He lets you read Darcy’s novel. This book’s two stories are told in alternating chapters. One chapter of the novel, then one chapter about the novelist. Most of the time this works, but sometimes it feels a bit forced. If I hadn’t read and enjoyed some of Mr. Westerfeld’s earlier YA novels, I might have put Afterworlds aside, but since I really did need to read it, I pushed forward, past the spots that annoyed me, and finally the last third became more engaging. The book ends strong, so I came out thinking, “Yeah, that was really pretty good.” There were some flaws, but worth reading.
Since half of the book is about the life and the craft of a novelist, there is a lot of discussion centering around writing a YA novel. Most of the people in the Darcy side of the novel are part of the publishing industry. So budding writers will be drawn to this book. They will imagine that they, too, could write the next great YA novel and get a huge advance. I think that Mr. Westerfeld has found a way to grab the interest of quite a few teens that I know.
The novel half of the book is what keeps the tension up, so it had better be worth that huge advance. Well, it’s OK, but I don’t think that it would make it as a standalone book. The same could be said about the novelist portion. This book really only works when both parts are working together. I think that is why the middle third of the book is problematical, and why the start and finish work so well.
Afterworlds isn’t perfect, but if you know, going in, that you may struggle in the middle of it, maybe you will plow right though and not be discouraged and quit before the end. There are some parts that may not appeal to the parents of younger reader. There are quite a few F-Bombs thrown into the conversations, and then there is Darcy’s female love interest. Not big problems, but I think that parents should read the book first, then they can decide if it’s OK for their kids.
I give Afterworlds 4 Stars out of 5. It’s a YA book, it’s told from the point of view of a teen, who just graduated from high school, but it isn’t only for teens. Everyone can read and enjoy this book.
I received this book for free from edelweiss and the publisher, Simon Pulse, in return for an honest review.
Darcy Patel has put college on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. With a contract in hand, she arrives in New York City with no apartment, no friends, and all the wrong clothes. But lucky for Darcy, she’s taken under the wings of other seasoned and fledgling writers who help her navigate the city and the world of writing and publishing. Over the course of a year, Darcy finishes her book, faces critique, and falls in love.
Woven into Darcy’s personal story is her novel, Afterworlds, a suspenseful thriller about a teen who slips into the “Afterworld” to survive a terrorist attack. The Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead, and where many unsolved—and terrifying—stories need to be reconciled. Like Darcy, Lizzie too falls in love…until a new threat resurfaces, and her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she cares about most.
Hardcover: 608 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse (September 23, 2014)
Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.3 x 1.7 inches
Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
About the Author
Scott Westerfeld’s teen novels include the Uglies series, the Leviathan and Midnighters trilogies, and the so-called “NYC Trilogy”: So Yesterday, Peeps, and The Last Days. Scott was born in Texas, and alternates summers between Sydney, Australia, and New York City. His next book, Afterworlds, comes out September 23, 2014.
The Book Description and Details are from Amazon. Afterworlds