Sunday, August 29, 2010

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

Feeling like she just can’t wake up from a dream, Liz, doesn’t want to accept the fact that she has died and has moved on to live in Elsewhere. Elsewhere is a place where the recently dead go once they have passed away. Elsewhere is like any other town in the world only you age backwards from the time you arrive, so instead of growing old you grow young. Non one dies on Elsewhere and no one is born on Elsewhere. Once people age back to 7 days old they are sent back to earth by floating down the river and are reborn to live another life on earth.

Liz is greeted by her Grandma Betty, whom died before she was ever born. Liz doesn’t want to focus on the now, she wants to find a way back to earth to finish out her life. She wants to finish school, go to college and get married. She doesn’t want to accept where she is and she spends all her time at the observation decks, where you put tokens in the binoculars to watch loved ones back on earth. Liz finally learns to love her Grandma and enjoys being on Elsewhere. She takes an avocation counseling pets that have recently passed and arrived in Elsewhere and helps find them new homes. She even meets someone and experiences love firsthand.

A great book that read and flowed with ease! I loved the concept of the story and think kids too will like the fantasy aspect of the book, and may even get them contemplating death and an afterlife! I could see middle school ages and high school aged kids really getting into the story and the frustrations Liz has with death and leaving her family. The book can be related to dealing with death of loved ones and pets and maybe even help kids cope with their own tragedies. Recommended for ages 13 and up.

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