Elsewhere is a story about a girl named Liz who died from a hit and run accident. She wakes up to find herself on a boat called the USS Nile, with a girl named Thandi. Thandi also has died from a gunshot wound. They have no idea where they are going, so they explore the boat and both girls get to watch their funerals through binoculars. They arrive in Elsewhere to find that relatives that have passed away before them are waiting on their arrival. Liz is depressed and keeps going to the binoculars at the Observation Deck ( OD ) to see friends and family. Then Liz realizes that maybe Elsewhere isn't as bad as she had once thought, even though you age backwards, just to be born on Earth again.
Elsewhere is a beautiful, captivating novel. It is defiantly different than your regular YA read, but well worth the effort to pick up. It's a book that made me think and ponder on some of the ideas that Gabrielle instills in us. You feel sorry for poor Liz as she battles with depression and missing her family. But, you also feel good that there's so much more for her waiting there at Elsewhere, so of which she couldn't do on Earth. It's safe to say that this is one of my favorites that I've read this year and I'm going to read it again!
A sweet and charming story of the afterlife, about a fifteen year old coming to grips with her own mortality, and the people and animals she comes into contact with along the way. Easy to read and follow, and keeps you wanting more. I read many books over the course of a year, and this is one of the best I've read in a long time.
An interesting read. Basically about the after life and how it really is a life all in itself. It held my attention though in some spots the story turned a bit childish or you felt like it was moving too fast. One thing I didn't like was when the author skipped 5 years of Liz's life. It just annoyed me because I would have liked to of known what happened in those 5 years, but it was as if the author just wanted to move the book along and not tell you.
I read this book in less than a day. While being about the afterlife, Zevin's concept was very fresh and unique! It didn't dwell on any one particular theory or lesson, but was thought provoking and imagniative. HIGHLY recommended!
Reviewed by Me for TeensReadToo.com
Stories about the Afterlife have always appealed to me. There are thousands upon thousands of interpretations out there about what, exactly, happens to a person after they die. ELSEWHERE is a new spin on an old topic, but it manages to bring emotion, realism, and entertainment to something that is, in most circumstances, a very depressing situation. To me, ELSEWHERE is a combination of Mitch Albom's THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN and Alice Sebold's THE LOVELY BONES, two other wonderful books dealing with death and the Afterlife. ELSEWHERE goes beyond those two books, however, taking readers on a journey into a land so much like Earth, and yet so very, very different.
Fifteen-year old Elizabeth "Liz" "Lizzie" Marie Hall has found herself in ELSEWHERE after dying in a bicycle-meets-taxi accident. After taking a long ride on the SS Nile, Liz has finally realized that she's not in a dream after all, but really, truly dead. When she arrives on Elsewhere, she meets her maternal grandmother, Betty, for the very first time. A woman who died at fifty from breast cancer, Betty is now a woman in her thirties--one of the first surprises Liz is in for is the fact that, on Elsewhere, lives are lived backward from the age of a person's death. Needless to say, this thought depresses Liz. She'll never be sixteen, never have a Massachusetts driver's license, never go to the prom or graduate from high school or go to college or get married. The only thing she has to look forward to is growing younger, until she returns to being an infant and is sent back to Earth to be born again.
Liz spends her first month on Elsewhere spending all of her time--and her grandmother's eternims, the currency used there--to watch her family, friends, and classmates back on Earth. She's soon a regular at the OD's, or Observation Decks, watching life on Earth pass her by. She's upset that her best friend, Zooey, didn't attend her funeral. Her parents are inconsolable, her younger brother, Alvy, tells jokes to get through the day, and her dog, Lucy, refuses to accept that Liz isn't coming back.
It takes awhile, but Liz finally realizes that spending hours upon hours at the OD's is not helping her adjust to life on Elsewhere. She finds a new friend in Owen, one of the detectives in charge of keeping the inhabitants of Elsewhere away from the Well, where contact with people on Earth is possible, but illegal. She once again befriends Thandi, a young girl killed on Earth by a stray bullet, who was her bunkmate on the SS Nile. She gets closer to grandmother Betty, finally takes a job in the Division of Domestic Animals helping recently departed pets find new owners, and seems to be finding a place on Elsewhere.
I really loved this story. One of the most delightful things in ELSEWHERE is the animals, especially the dogs. Liz, a natural at the language of Canine, is able to interpret for her four-legged friends, and finally understand everything they have to say. I can't truly imagine aging backwards, but Gabrielle Zevin has managed to make a truly believable story that is realistic, entertaining, and emotional, all at the same time. This is definitely a recommended read, and in all honesty, I would love to visit the land of Elsewhere again in the future.