Huntley, Amy. 2009. THE EVERAFTER. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 9780061776793 [Suggested Grade Levels 7- 10]
We meet Madison Stanton as she becomes conscious in a place she will eventually name “Is.” After a time, she realizes that she must be dead but has no memory of her death, and very few of her life. As she wanders through the murky void, she discovers objects, relics from her life, are dispersed through the vast nothingness. These items, lost during her lifetime, allow her to revisit the moment of their disappearance. Through these objects the reader, and Madison, begins to piece together the mystery of Madison’s life and the events that led to her death.
Madison’s character is revealed slowly and through these encounters with lost objects, readers witness the growth of a young girl with “object attachment” issues, into a young woman with issues of her own. Poetry is sprinkled through the book, especially the musings of Emily Dickinson; “For each ecstatic instant / We must in anguish pay /In keen and quivering ratio / To the ecstasy.” These lost objects serve as a metaphor for the ecstatic instances of life, and can leave readers pondering the distinction between losing and letting go.
If permissible, and you are comfortable with doing so, discuss varying ideas of what happens after we die. Why do we think all cultures have mythologies and beliefs about this and what role do ghost stories play in these belief systems?
Other interpretations of the afterlife:
Soto, Gary. AFTERLIFE. ISBN 9780152052201
Whitcomb, Laura. A CERTAIN SLANT OF LIGHT. 9780618585328
By Marianne Follis