Category Archives: gabrielle zevin
Note: This is actually one of the first YA reviews I wrote. I wrote it in 2005 for Amazon. This is still one of my favorite books to this day, so I wanted to publish it here. I remember when the hardback came out, my store didn’t have a teen/YA section, only a few shelves with the Sweet Valley Books, Go Ask Alice, Judy Blume’s titles, and a few Buffy and Charmed novelizations. Thankfully, that isn’t the case today.
Elsewhere caught me immediately with its beautiful cover and captivating story. I can also remember sobbing uncontrollably as I read it at lunch and in the cafe. I would recommend this book to ages thirteen to one hundred, it has so much to offer.
Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Hall has just died and now is in Elsewhere, a place that is just like Earth, only every year she will now grow younger instead of older. At first, I thought this was The Lovely Bones for kids. But I gave it a chance, and was greatly rewarded.
Elsewhere is a rare find, with richly developed characters and an unique plot. The enthusiasm of the deceased in this novel is happy and uplifting. They all approach their ‘afterlife’ with a sense of adventure and purpose. They don’t wallow around feeling sorry for themselves, but there is realism as well. They ‘acclimate’ to their death slowly and surely and realize that they can still have a life worth living.
What makes the book so enjoyable is the effect of Liz’s death on her family and friends. Their reactions to it are interwoven throughout the book, as Liz gains experience and knowledge. In the end, she is wiser at age 4, than she was at 15, because she died and lived.
Although one might be sad about aging backwards every year and dying, the subject is approached with such a tenderness and beautiful touch that I actually felt breathless at the end. Zevin has humor, emotion and and an almost philosophical tone present in every page.
Date: May 2007 (Paperback)
Publisher: Square Fish