My rating: 3 of 5 genies
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Romance
Published: October 12, 2012
Source: Requested Review
Purchase At: Amazon.com
Note: A copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review.
“Just because you’re dead doesn’t mean you can’t die again in a thousand different ways.”
For sixteen-year-old Winnie Coleman, dying is the least of her worries. Between coming to terms with her mother’s unexpected death, trying to think up new and inventive ways to break up her father and Girlfriend #3, and keeping her brother from chewing off his fingers, she has her hands full. Courtesy of a thin patch of ice and failed swimming lessons, all of that changes in the blink of an eye.
In death Winnie will find the answers that eluded her in life, and a whole slew of other questions she never thought to ask. Like why is she stuck with Sam for a guide? Sure, he’s funny and cute in a geeky sort of way, but he wears sweater vests… and loafers. For a girl who has tattoos on her face and glue in her hair, it’s not exactly the best match up.
But when Sam is taken and his very existence threatened, Winnie must make the ultimate choice between cowardice and courage. Faithlessness and loyalty. Family... and love.
Suspenseful and action packed, After Ever is a must read for anyone who ever wondered: what happens next?
“Your mother has been dead for a year and a half. It is perfectly acceptable for me to begin dating again. Really, Winnifred. You should want me to be happy.” He frowns, as if I am the bad person. As if I am the one who has shut my family out.
I rest my elbows on the table and look down between them, studying a small chip on the wood surface. “I do want you to be happy Dad,” I say truthfully. “Just not with Girlfriend – er, with Trish. I really don’t think she’s good for you. And, newsflash, she’s not exactly great stepmother material. I mean, the evil stepmother from Cinderella looks like Mary Poppins compared to her.”
“Unfortunately, due to your recent behavior your opinion does not carry much weight with me.”
“How can you say stuff like that?” I whisper, aghast.
His eyes cut straight through me. “You will need to apologize to Trish,” he says, ignoring my question entirely. “Her feelings are very important to me and you’ve hurt them with your outlandish behavior.”
What about my feelings, Dad? What about me? Your daughter?
“No way in hell,” I say.
My dad rubs his chin and sighs. He looks tired, more tired than a forty seven year old man should ever look. If this is his ‘happy’, I would hate to see him miserable. “You will do as I say, Winnifred.”
“Or what, you’ll ground me?” I scoff, beyond caring now. I was stupid to think he would actually listen to me. My dad might not have his nose pierced or wear eyeliner, but he’s changed just as much as I have. It’s the people like him you have to look out for. The ones who are different on the inside.
The ones who make you hope they’ll go back to the way they were before because on the outside they don’t look any different, but underneath all that shiny sameness they’re just as broken as you are. Sometimes even more.
This book is a lot of creativity in a small package. I look at it as more of a novella now, but the story is big enough to keep people interested. Jillian Eaton introduces readers to Winnifred Coleman, a pretty kickass heroine with a lot of spunk and wit to spare; she and her family, comprising of her father, his girlfriend, Trish, and her brother Brian set off on vacation to the mountains. Winnifred is not like most girls, she recently lost her mother and is stuck stepping in her place to care for her brother Brian because her father isn’t up to it.
Ah, Mr. Coleman. Her father is funny in a pitiful kind of way in that he is repressing the feelings of grief over his wife’s death, and hence, pushing what is left of his family away. Winnie looks like her mother and he wants to see as little of her as possible so as not to be reminded of his late wife, and I get that, but the way he goes about it is not right and completely unfair not only on Win, but Brian as well. He needs his daddy, not some man trying to pretend that everything is okay. At the beginning it was strange knowing where to start because Winnie is portrayed as this hard-core goth chick, and yet she has not always been this way, she only retreated into herself post her mother’s death. So the question becomes, is this the real Win, or will she progress and return to the way she was before?
Eventually she settles into herself and after reading more about her the reader knows that Winnie is a combination of things; she is outspoken, impatient, gutsy, emotional, stubborn and girly. Winnifred is not just one “thing” or a “type” she is many. A part of the book I enjoyed was the unpredictability of Win and never knowing what would come out of her mouth next, she almost always surprised me. A few names and concepts like “Unknowns” and the “After” could have been expanded upon; I believe that the Unknowns aren’t nearly as mysterious as their name implies and that the “After” and its world-building require a bit more development. Still, there is always something happening in this book. From Winnifred dying – I will not give away how – to her attending her own funeral at the end, I wanted to see the story through.
It helps that partnered with Winnifred is the particularly cute spirit guide, sweater-vest Sam. Sam… cute, sweet and totally loveable, this guy is a keeper. He takes his job as guide pretty seriously and had immense amount of patience when dealing with Winnie; the girl isn’t easy to keep a hold of. Still, he did it and in doing so, made me love him. This book is gritty, direct and personal; it knows its purpose and goes for it, succeeding in the most parts. I plan on reading the second book in this series because the ending frustrated me; I want to find Ellie and wring her neck a little now! Speaking of which, there was a moment near the end, a conversation in particular, that didn’t feel right. It was a bit of information released through two characters and felt rushed for the ending, but I expect Ms. Eaton has big plans for the second book which probably involve said topic.
I cannot fault this book for much and appreciate its unique take on the paranormal, I would recommend giving it a read if you’re in the looking for anything different. Watch out for minimal spelling errors, they don’t get in the way of the reading, but they are still there, other than that, grab yourself a copy.
Favourite Quote: “it’s my first time guiding someone across,” Sam explains. “That’s why you could see me before. No one else could. Just you. I picked you.”