One of my favourite things about being part of the bookish community on Instagram is the countless book recommendations from like-minded people. Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin was a
recommendation present from Anna (@girlswhoreadaround) who saw how much I liked The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. Afterlife, and speculative books about what happens after we die, do interest me a lot and I was so excited to get started with Anna’s recommendation.
Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
Published in 2016 by Bloomsbury
You can order a copy from Amazon, Waterstones
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.
Elsewhere follows Liz, a 15 year old who’s killed by a hit-and-run accident, who ends up in a place called Elsewhere. It’s a place where everyone who dies goes to “live” until they age down back to zero, ready to be sent back to Earth to start again. I couldn’t help but think about Benjamin Button, except he was born old and aged younger on Earth.
The premise of the book was what really made me want to read it; I absolutely adore the idea that everyone continues to live the same amount of years they had on Earth, before they are ready to be born as someone else. I absolutely loved the scenes of the Observation Deck and The Well where Elsewhere residents could check in with their loved ones they left behind..
Elsewhere is a Young Adult novel, and it’s very noticeably for younger audience. I felt the dialogue at times read too young for me, but granted I was never the intended audience. Pacing was also too slow for me a the start, but thankfully it picked up speed in the second half of the book.
Ultimately this tale about “life after life” is cute; I loved how Liz’s character grew and developed in the story from a girl mourning her own death to blossoming young woman who learned to let go, love and be happy again at Elsewhere.