Hereafter by Tara Hudson

Comes out: June 7, 2011

Pages: 416

Publisher: HarperCollins

Format: eARC

Source: Publisher (via NetGalley)

Age Group: Young Adult

Can there truly be love after death?Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.Thrilling and evocative, with moments of pure pleasure, Hereafter is a sensation you won't want to miss.

I've read a lot of ghost stories, but none so incredibly mesmerizing as Hereafter. With her beautiful writing, Tara Hudson has ensnared anybody who reads even a sentence from her book.Filled with surprises, it is impossible to read this book without your jaw dropping at least four times. Surprises lurk around every corner and are revealed in the most lovely ways that seem almost subtle.The vivid description of shadows and death and nightmares add the perfect touch of darkness to the story. The romance is incredibly written. Joshua and Amelia's romance is almost old-fashioned, but perfectly sweet. It is impossible to not say "perfect" so many times while writing this because it was absolutely....perfect.The plot was fast-paced with peaceful moments that let you see the characters in-depth, but enough action to keep you thirsting to know what happens. It is complex and twisting and has the potential to bring a lot of characters and storylines into future novels. Most ghost stories are where somebody can see the ghost and they fall in love. In this, the ghost (Amelia) SAVES the boy and they fall in love.Needless to say, I was HOOKED. Elegantly written and captivating, Hereafter will hold onto you and not let you go. The blend of mystery and dark romance made it irresistibly delicious to any paranormal-romance lover.The characters were intense. The antagonists? You couldn't decide whether you felt sorry for them or they were pure evil. The protagonists? You rooted for them the entire way. It was weaved in a way that was engaging, yet realistically sound.Tara Hudson weaved elements from stories that made other paranormals popular like shadows, love at first sight, curiosity, and an enticing cover. Yet she managed to make her story completely unique and different from all the others.While readers may notice a similarity in the elegant writing style of Tara and Josephine Angelini (author of Starcrossed) , that's a compliment. For that, I applaud them. One of the reasons why I requested this book is because I had heard praises about the eloquence of speech and how well the storyline flows. It was magnificent.Refreshing and intense, this thrilling novel throws surprise after surprise your way, with romance seeping into every word. I loved it, and many people are sure to when it releases!Recommended for anybody who loves: Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesic; Ghostgirl; The Ghost and the Goth; Fallen; Starcrossed; paranormal romance; mystery; old-fashioned romance; etc,.Possible book club questions:Do you feel any sympathy towards Eli? Why or why not?When Amelia discovers why Eli wanted her, she is shocked. How did this one observation change her life? What if he had noticed another girl with her eyes? Where do you think Amelia would have ended up?Do you notice any similarities between the mothers of Amelia in Hereafter and Alona from The Ghost and the Goth?etc, etc,.