Release Date: June 7th, 2011
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.
Hereafter is the first novel by début author Tara Hudson, and I must say, she did quite an alright job with it. The cover and summary got me interested right away. I had to read it. But I found myself a little bit let down by the end of it all. My high expectations were too high but that didn't necessarily mean Hereafter wasn't enjoyable. It was. It just wasn't as remarkable as I hoped.
The characters, honestly, weren't anything special. I couldn't really connect with any of them including Amelia, the main protagonist of our story. Amelia's situation was probably the best, most interesting thing about her. She was essentially a ghost who doesn't remember anything of her past and is seemingly doomed to haunt the site of her death, a river, for the rest of eternity. But beyond that, I found she was annoying and a bit selfish in some parts of the novel and no matter how much I tried to like her, the irrational and irritating decisions she made really got on my nerves.
The love interest here is a somewhat normal boy named Joshua. Joshua is not the best love interest I've read about and he was kind of boring, really. He's popular and good-looking and even though he can have any girl he wants, he finds himself instantly attracted to this ghost of a dead girl. Creepy? I think so. Hudson didn't really bother to go below the surface with Joshua and he ended up seeming really superficial.
My favourite character out of the whole lot was probably the villain. Eli was what I call an interesting character. He had some depth and history that made me sympathise him and feel more emotion than the book as a whole could make me feel. I don't think he was really evil at all. His intentions weren't exactly 'I'll murder you and your whole family and kidnap your children.' He was just an unfortunate guy who died and was thrown off the right path.
There was nothing original with the plot. But I suppose, at least there was a plot. Most of it was really kind of predictable but nevertheless I did enjoy it. I'm not really sure what to say that won't give anything away, mainly because all the plot devices were so simplistic, you'd probably be able to guess what happens in the book right now without having to read it if I gave you a clue.
This was, to be frank, a definite case of insta-love. This was one of the cases where it annoyed me. I mean, Joshua over here is in love with the ghost of a dead girl he saw in a lake when he was about to die. That sounds a bit more like horror-movie stuff than fluffy romance. If I was Joshua, I wouldn't come back to see the ghost again. I'd probably run away as fast as I possibly could. What was it about each other that they liked so much? To me, their romance felt a bit shallow and under-developed. Hudson could have pulled it off better in my opinion.
Honestly, this book wasn't horrible. It just wasn't great either. If you don't mind insta-love and enjoy paranormal romances with under-developed characters, by all means give Hereafter a go. It just really wasn't for me. I'll probably read the sequel but I won't be losing sleep waiting for it to come out.