Book Reviews of Elsewhere

Author: Gabrielle Zevin
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ISBN-13: 9780374320911
ISBN-10: 0374320918
Publication Date: 9/9/2005
Pages: 288
Reading Level: Young Adult
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.

4.1 stars, based on 99 ratings
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

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

reviewed Elsewhere on + 330 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
Great Discussion book. Great Book Period. This is one of the best books that I have ever read. My review doesn't do it justice, but that is just because I don't want to ruin this amazing book for you. Liz wakes up on a bunk in a boat not knowing where she is or how she got there. The shock of her life comes when she finds out that she is dead, the victim of a hit and run driver, and what's more important to her 15 year old self is that she will not turn 16 get her drivers license, go to college, get married or even get big boobs. This is a funny and heart-tugging book of Liz's journey through Elsewhere where she never gets older, but has an unexpected life and will grow younger until she is sent back to earth as a new born to experience life all over again. With the help of her grandmother that died before she is born, Liz makes this journey through anger, regret and triumph. It will definately make you look at the after-life in a totally different way.
20something-packrat avatar reviewed Elsewhere on + 18 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This was an interesting take on the afterlife, but I feel that all of the characters needed some fleshing out. I did not like or relate to Liz, which made it difficult for me to root for her and care about her ability to cope with death.

I did enjoy the concept of aging backwards in the afterlife, but it brought up a lot of questions. The author was not consistent in how the reverse aging process worked - when a reverted 7-year-old was depicted as having 100 years of memories and was in charge of captaining a ship, but a reverted 4-year-old was both physically and mentally 4 and unable to read, it struck me as a messy writing mechanic (either they mentally revert to the appropriate age, or they don't). I think it is a very interesting premise but the application was inconsistent and that drew me out of the story.
knittymama avatar reviewed Elsewhere on + 424 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This is certainly not your usual after-life story. Very ingenious. I couldn't believe this was listed as a young adult story. I enjoyed it very much!
wordyone avatar reviewed Elsewhere on + 112 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Although geared for a younger audience, I found the story of Liz's life/death interesting, funny and hopeful. I want an afterlife like this!
reviewed Elsewhere on + 22 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Similar to the Lovely Bones in that it is told from beyond, however it is an interesting view of what happens after death---enjoyable read.
reviewed Elsewhere on
Helpful Score: 1
I really enjoyed this book, I liked that it wasnt really too predictable.
northpolegirl avatar reviewed Elsewhere on
Helpful Score: 1
This is now one of my favorite books. It's explores a different scenario for what happens after we die. It's a different kind of afterlife where time moves backwards until you return to earth as a newborn. I really enjoyed this book.
reviewed Elsewhere on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
What a great read! Such a refreshing look at the cycle of life. Don't mistake this for light, teen read. I couldn't put it down, loved its creativity, and sorry...can't part with my copy, yet :)
myschyf avatar reviewed Elsewhere on + 18 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A sweet and interesting book. The ending felt a bit rushed, but I enjoyed the story very much.
carlamo avatar reviewed Elsewhere on + 269 more book reviews
I could not like Liz, no matter how hard I tried. An interesting take on death, but with a whiny, self-centered lead character and one-dimensional supporting characters, there's not really much to recommend this book. The talking dogs were a nice touch, though (but they usually are).
reviewed Elsewhere on + 20 more book reviews
Wow. I really loved this book. Not your typical afterlife book, and it made me consider what it would be like for me.
reviewed Elsewhere on
Written through the voice of a child, this book is surprisingly sweet and clever. I really enjoyed it!
Robin1 avatar reviewed Elsewhere on + 26 more book reviews
A teenage girl dies and the story an interesting take by the author on where her soul landed after dying. That's all I will say so as not to write a spoiler. Very good and enjoyable fictional read from beginning to end!
daly avatar reviewed Elsewhere on + 32 more book reviews
loved this book..Love the way the after life is described will stay with u for a long time just making u think about what it would be like
snowbird1 avatar reviewed Elsewhere on + 4 more book reviews
I can't believe how nitpicking some of the reviewers are. It's not a religious book, it's a fantasy!!! I am a Christian and do I believe this is what really happens when you die? No. Did I enjoy this book? Yes! Just take it for what it is (a fantasy, as you do Harry Potter books).
GeniusJen avatar reviewed Elsewhere on + 7145 more book reviews
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.
jazzysmom avatar reviewed Elsewhere on + 907 more book reviews
My friends daugher had this book and i read it to check it out--if i was locked in a room and had to choose between this book and a telephone book--I'd take the phone book--BOOORRRIIINNNG!!
barbsis avatar reviewed Elsewhere on + 1076 more book reviews
When you die you don't go to heaven or hell, you go to Elsewhere which is exactly like Earth except you're dead. Oh and you don't age, you grow younger until you are reborn on Earth as an infant. An incredibly boring and stupid book.