Book Reviews of Elsewhere

Author: Gabrielle Zevin
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ISBN-13: 9780312367466
ISBN-10: 0312367465
Publication Date: 5/15/2007
Pages: 304
Reading Level: Young Adult
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.

4.1 stars, based on 192 ratings
Publisher: Square Fish
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

37 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

xhollishx avatar reviewed Elsewhere on + 68 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 10
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!
Chocoholic avatar reviewed Elsewhere on + 291 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
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.
daredevilgirl013 avatar reviewed Elsewhere on + 746 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
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.
berries674 avatar reviewed Elsewhere on + 92 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
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!
Cindy84 avatar reviewed Elsewhere on + 118 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This book is one of the best books I've read! It is about a girl's afterlife. It makes you really think into things, and expand your perspective. Its a good book. I recommended it!
GeniusJen avatar reviewed Elsewhere on + 7145 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
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.
reviewed Elsewhere on + 23 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This was a light, fun read with an interesting premise but definitely young adult. Not much depth to characters or story but easy, light reading. I would classify it as a fairy tale.
caviglia avatar reviewed Elsewhere on
Helpful Score: 2
This is one of those books that makes me sad that the Young Adult designation exists. There is no reason why people of all ages shouldn't read and enjoy a book such as "Elsewhere". It's simply and beautifully written, but the themes are complex - it's about all the big stuff: death, forgiveness, family. Readers who are fond of dogs will particularly like this book. I really think this will become a new classic.
Lavendergrey avatar reviewed Elsewhere on + 20 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This is an unusual tale that was really entertaining. Not hard to read at all, and held my interest.
reviewed Elsewhere on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
When you die, where do you go? Elsewhere gives you a whole new idea of what could be. Wonderful book.
c-squared avatar reviewed Elsewhere on + 181 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A very original answer to the "what happens when you die?" question. Liz never made it to her 16th birthday, instead she was killed by a hit-and-run driver and ended up in Elsewhere. Zevin does a great job of creating this parallel world where the dead reverse-age until they're ready to be born again, with lots of fun little details.

I didn't find Elsewhere religious or sacrilegious, but I'm sure some people might find some of this book offensive, because everything seems to offend someone. In general, it was a nice PG treatment of death and the afterlife.
reviewed Elsewhere on + 44 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
An intriguing take on the afterlife of a 15 year old girl who is the victim of a hit and run. It takes a while for her to realize and accept her death, and then to move past the grief of what she has lost. In this afterlife you age backwards until you are a baby sent down the river of time to be reborn into a new life. Other than that, this afterlife seems strangely like life on earth, except that you can watch life on earth through observation windows for a limited time and you choose and "avocation", something you LOVE to do for the time that you are there. In this case Liz chose to place pets with new owners and she found she could speak their language so she could interpret for them. Liz finally came to terms with her with her new situation. I think the message in the book is that you need to consider what is important in life now. And for most of us that is family, friends, work we love and making the most of what comes our way! Although in this book you often get second chances! (and sometimes in real life too....) ( )
reviewed Elsewhere on + 7 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Enjoyed this book, a different look at heaven and what happens to us when we reach there, especially from a child's eye.
reviewed Elsewhere on + 39 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This YA novel gives an entertaining look at the afterlife from the perspective of a fifteen year old girl. Interesting that it really has nothing to do with any particular religion or belief, but looks more at living life in the moment - wherever that moment happens to be.
sakers avatar reviewed Elsewhere on
Helpful Score: 1
I enjoyed this book very much, its sad at points that she died so young but other then that its really wonderful the plot and how the reincarnated part was put in the book is amazing.
k9kutter64 avatar reviewed Elsewhere on + 167 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I really, truly enjoyed this book. It was a nice refreshing change from what I usually read. I recommend it for anyone that liked The Lovely Bones.....
thestephanieloves avatar reviewed Elsewhere on + 241 more book reviews
It's been a really long time since I've read a YA book with such a refreshing premiseno vampires, complicated love triangles, or anything remotely Hunger Games-esque here! Now, Elsewhere was published way before the current of "trendy" YA fiction began to flow, which stresses its originality, and its purpose on bookshelves today.

I love the take on reincarnation that's detailedit's fascinating, imaginative, and immersed me completely from page one! Zevin is also highly accomplished at creating relatable, completely memorable characters. The limited third-person point of view makes Liz rather distant, but she's still easy to appreciate. She's as neurotic and elaborate as any adolescent is: impressively mature at times, but frustratingly childish at others. I feel she's a bit naïve for a nearly-sixteen-year-old; don't get me wrong: her characterization is amazing, but her superficial portrayal is a little contradicting at times. As a teenage girl, though, she is perfectly accurate. Zevin couldn't have depicted the conflicting feelings and angsts of the modern teenager any better.

Elsewhere is a feel-good novel that keeps you tense and uneasy while reading, but leaves you both breathless and sighing in relief by the turn of the last page. It offers brilliant perspective on experiencing things to the fullest and never underestimating those around you who love you. Through Liz's journey in Elsewhere, spending her life in reverse, I learned that life isn't measured in hours and minutes; it's the quality that matters, not the length. And we, as people, grow with those experiences, not with age.

Young adults will devour this book, and better yet, parents will approve of it because of its tasteful, positive portrayal of life's decisions and values. Zevin's style is evocative, dreamy, and almost transcendentI'm definitely eager to try some of her other books now.

With a dash of charming romance, wry humor, and life-loving sentiments, Elsewhere engages readers into an afterlife where people falsely are under the impression that they know what will be JUST because they know the amount of time they have left to "live." But like I mentioned, it's experiences that matter, not time; this secret, Liz and readers discover, in the most delightful and adventurous of ways. In the town of Elsewhere, Liz has the chance to live again, to live as she never got to on Earth. To fall in love. To get a job. To know the part of her family she has never known. And she's going to have to make the most of it because even though it may not be clear all the time, good things happen everyday, even when bad things happen first.

Pros: Well-explored characters // Perfect ending // I was cheering at every one of Zevin's plot choices // Lyrical // Stylistically flawless // Plot is incredibly smart, entertaining, and touching // Very easy // Flows smoothly // Unpredictable // Not a high thriller, but its twists and turns are equally unnerving // Romance is perfectly placed // Deep in message of youth, forgiveness, and the meaning of life // Creative premise // Fresh ideas // Sweet, memorable analogies // Owen ♥_♥ // Curtis ♥_♥

Cons: Not particularly suspenseful... I was glued to the pages, but not exactly dying to know what happened next // Liz is frustrating at times, but I guess it's all part of her character!

Love: "The summer air is thick with perfume from Betty's flowers. The scent, Liz thinks, is sweet and melancholy. A bit like dying, a bit like falling in love."

Verdict: Elsewhere is a complex, probing novel wrapped up in a minimalistic, lyrical package of prose. In the vein of The Five People You Meet in Heaven, this book is haunting, affecting, and deeply resonant, and is sure to be a hit among middle-grade and teenage readers (ages 11-16), but even better, among adults as well; the universality makes it all the more impressive. Hilarious in some parts and alarming in others, Gabrielle Zevin's surprisingly and pleasantly touching otherworldly story will make you fall in lovewith your friends and family, with your life, and with yourselfand satisfy you completely.

9 out of 10 hearts (5 stars): Loved it! This book has a spot on my favorites shelf.

Source: Purchased.
crystal2528 avatar reviewed Elsewhere on
This book is great it makes you think about what hapens after death.Great book to read if you love to think alot.
reviewed Elsewhere on
Elsewhere was a short, cute read. It did make you think, and feel for the protagonist. I liked it a lot, maybe I will even reread it before reposting it.
hellolexi avatar reviewed Elsewhere on + 12 more book reviews
I hands down love this book! The begining is a litte zzzzzzz. but its amazing, its insperational. I love it and would recomend this book to anyone with a story behind their life.
reviewed Elsewhere on + 2 more book reviews
The book is written on an elementary level. The dialogue is extremely cheesy and predictable. I was frustrated at the lack of depth in the characters. Cute story, but not recommended if you're over the age of 11.
reviewed Elsewhere on
This book was different from other books as it is told from a very different perspective; the characters are likeable and its perfect for reading over and over again. Hannah- 12 years old
stephxcouture avatar reviewed Elsewhere on + 3 more book reviews
I loved this concept of Heaven.
lifeofemilyxo avatar reviewed Elsewhere on + 2 more book reviews
This is one of my favorite books. Made me think a lot about life and what really matters. Love the whole concept of the book and could not put down. I love the fact that the main character watched her own funeral. Reminded me a lot of The lovely bones.
KittenBooky avatar reviewed Elsewhere on + 28 more book reviews
One of the most adorable books I have read in a long time. It was the most enjoyable read. I love Zevin's interpretation of death and where we go, especially, through the eyes of a 15 year old girl. She is such a cynic when she arrives in Elsewhere with the attitude of anything done there is pointless. The Elsewhere world that Zevin imagines and brings to life in this book is practical & amazing. My favorite parts are that life (death) is perceived differently in this world. In Elsewhere, you age backwards to be reborn again on Earth and have another chance at life's experiences. The best part is you are able to talk to the animals. The personalities that Zevin gives the animals completely personifies a best friend attitudes and it is beautiful.

What a unique and beautiful premise about life and death. An amazing journey between Earth and Elsewhere. A story of loss, love, and rejuvenation of life... I truly loved this book.

My blog: http://cbbookreviews.blogspot.com/
nelliebly1025 avatar reviewed Elsewhere on + 141 more book reviews
A great book on a very interesting subject. You follow the story of a young teenage girl as she grows into a wonderful women, but her body gets younger. The author is captivating in getting you into the story. A simple read, I read it in one day, but well worth
duplica123 avatar reviewed Elsewhere on + 150 more book reviews
this book was OK. I liked the world and the idea of the afterlife which Zevin created. The main character, Liz, grew on me. I enjoyed reading it, and I found it a pretty quick read. But overall I wasn't really that thrilled. I didn't care about where the main characters were going or what they would do. It ended just about the way I expected it to. Overall, unremarkable. The part I liked the most, oddly enough, was the author interview they had at the end of my copy of the book. Zevin herself seems like a pretty neat person to know.
reviewed Elsewhere on + 4 more book reviews
I loved this book! It is an engaging story and presents a different way of thinking about the afterlife. The major story is Liz accepting her fate and learning to live the life she has, knowing that it is finite. Beautiful message that we can all learn from.
sweetnblissful avatar reviewed Elsewhere on + 81 more book reviews
I am very pleasantly surprised on how much I enjoyed reading this book. I read it in less then 2 days. The author does a great job sucking you in. This was one of those books that is sad to see end.
boxtopmom avatar reviewed Elsewhere on + 29 more book reviews
I liked this book. It was a simple read but interesting. It was an interesting take on life after death.
cloverluv avatar reviewed Elsewhere on + 129 more book reviews
Liz has died. She's dead. Kicked the bucket, taken the big sleep, bought the farm, whatever you want to call it, she's gone. Or is she? Liz wakes up shortly after her death. Not in her coffin or in her grave or somewhere gruesome like that, but she wakes up on a cruise ship. She's in white pajamas and rooming with a girl she never met.

It takes Liz awhile to figure out that she's gone. It doesn't make a lot of sense, she was only 15, well almost 16. The cruise ship she wakes up on finally puts her down in what all the inhabitants call "Elsewhere." Things are different here than they were on Earth...but surprisingly the same. Liz can watch over her family back on Earth...sometimes, but she has a life...now that she's dead.

Even though the synopsis is confusing, the book really is not. This has to be one of the best books I have read in a long time. Zevin basically answered the question about life after death, and did it in a way that was both sad, but enlightening and hopeful at the same time. "Elsewhere" is technically a YA book, but I found it to be exceptionally entertaining and very insightful.

I must say I cried throughout most of the book. Not full out balling, but I teared up on more than one occasion and at the seemingly simplest things throughout "Elsewhere." I feel that doing so really added to the reading experience as opposed to distracting from it. I found the entire story that Zevin made up about life after death to be just plain wonderful. She even answered the question of God and where He is after death in a non-offensive and non-religious way if that's even possible.

I have a lot of respect for Zevin. She has penned an amazing book that is insightful, heartwarming, and touching all at once. Pick up "Elsewhere" even if you don't believe in Heaven, God, life after death, or anything like that. "Elsewhere" makes you wonder, think, ponder, and appreciate the life you have.
moonsista avatar reviewed Elsewhere on + 5 more book reviews
This was such a good book. Its target audience is young adult but I'm 42 and I loved it. It has such a good message about life and death and living life and moving on. I cried just once (when the main character's dog from her life on earth showed up at the end). The book is well-written and is a fast read. I read it during my lunch hour and in the evening in about three days. I highly recommend this book for young adults, probably age 13 and above.
reviewed Elsewhere on + 1148 more book reviews
This is a read about dying and death but it's warm, fuzzy, too. A teenager who fails to look both ways as she rides her bicycle is hit and killed by a taxi. Is it the taxi driver's fault or her own? She has difficulty accepting her death as she exists in a place called Elsewhere. The existence she leads there is so different from her life that she is angry and confused. To say why would reveal the basis of Elsewhere. One must read the book to discover the secret of Elsewhere and why it exists.
paisleywings avatar reviewed Elsewhere on + 232 more book reviews
This was interesting. A teenage girl is killed when she steps in front of a taxi. In death she arrives in what seems like purgatory (Elsewhere)where she meets up with her granny.

So the story is about dead people and what happens to them and I found it highly entertaining. Well fleshed out characters make it fun to read, but also thought provoking for the clever subject matter.
my2luvsemmyandmally avatar reviewed Elsewhere on + 757 more book reviews
Interesting concept for a story.....was better than I expected.
stubbytate avatar reviewed Elsewhere on
This is a frustrating book. While I get the whole afterlife theme, connecting the dots was a little too easy. This is a good tween book as it isn't a bad one but for the most part, just too simple for my taste.
joann avatar reviewed Elsewhere on + 301 more book reviews
Elizabeth (Lizzie, Liz) Hall awakens to find herself on the bottom bunk in a cabin on a ship called the S.S. Nile. On the top bunk is a young African American girl with beautiful braids and Liz believes that she is dreaming and that Thandi, the girl with the braids, is a queen.

Liz learns the truth slowly, that she had died on Earth and is being transported to her life on Elsewhere. She learns that time travels backwards on Elsewhere and you get younger, rather than older. She meets her grandmother, who passed away on Earth before Liz was born.

We follow Liz through her ups and downs on Elsewhere. She meets her favorite rock star and has the ability to talk to the people on Earth, with consequences.

The book was a little short on story. I think that with this idea, so much more could have been done with developing more characterization and plot. The premise of the plot was good, just don't think that it was taken as far as it could have been.