(clicking on the cover will take you to Goodreads!)
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Published on: September 23rd 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: Fantasy & Contemporary Fiction (YA)
Part of a series?: No
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Scott Westerfeld comes a smart, thought-provoking novel-within-a-novel that you won't be able to put down.
Darcy Patel has put college on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. With a contract in hand, she arrives in New York City with no apartment, no friends, and all the wrong clothes. But lucky for Darcy, she's taken under the wings of other seasoned and fledgling writers who help her navigate the city and the world of writing and publishing. Over the course of a year, Darcy finishes her book, faces critique, and falls in love.
Woven into Darcy's personal story is her novel, Afterworlds, a suspenseful thriller about a teen who slips into the 'Afterworld' to survive a terrorist attack. The Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead, and where many unsolved and terrifying stories need to be reconciled. Like Darcy, Lizzie too falls in love - until a new threat resurfaces, and her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she cares about most.
After the Uglies trilogy, I wasn't sure about reading Afterworlds. The Uglies trilogy has had some mixed reviews and I wasn't feeling very positive about the entire trilogy (or series?) either. But since BEA, Afterworlds has gotten a handful of glowing praise and there's been a bit of buzz about it. Plus, the paperback edition of Afterworlds is huge. And wonderful. And I just had to get it because the premise sounded good. Teen author publishing her novel? I'm in.
This was my reaction after turning the last page of Afterworlds:
I was a tad disappointed.
What's so funny about Afterworlds is that just like Uglies, there was a lot of potential which fizzled out later. The beginning makes you think that this book is going to be one of a kind, a book that you will give five stars to, without a doubt. A book that will hold your attention until the very end. When you reach the middle though, the story doesn't seem to be so brilliant after all. You start to wonder if the beginning of the book was just a ruse. Hold on...where did all that amazingness that made my insides do a happy dance go to?
Like I said, the beginning of the book was excellent. It was a bit slow, but everything was perfect. I had a hunger to explore this new world that Darcy had created and was also given a chance to learn more about the world of authors...or whatever you want to call it. What makes Afterworlds more enjoyable is the alternating storylines or POVs. There are two different storylines in Afterworlds; one centers around Darcy, and the other, Lizzie. Darcy is the teen author who managed to write a draft of Afterworlds in one month (I know - sounds like NaNoWriMo, right?), and Lizzie is the protag living inside the world that Darcy created. We get to see those two worlds in different chapters, which is great. The insider tips about writing and publishing plus Darcy's bookish perks bumped this book up the relatable factor. It was both new and familiar territory, and for that Afterworlds will still be a well-loved book even for its meh ending. I also liked how it was made evident that there were two alternating storylines by marking Lizzie's POV -the character that Darcy created- with a black border on top.
The major flaw about Afterworlds was that the story left out a lot of exposition, big time. I wanted facts. A bit explanation as to what was going on in Lizzie's bizarre world. Lizzie's story plunged on without the much-needed elaboration and as a result, there were a lot of things that I struggled to understand. The story felt like disorganized, like the author had a lot of good ideas but didn't properly arrange them into the plot. The irony in all this? Darcy was warned that her book had too much exposition, and I think the point of Afterworlds, and all the alternating chapters, was to give us a feel of Darcy as a debut author. Her story isn't the best out there. It's terribly flawed but later, Darcy was told about the many errors in her writing. She also starts to realize that being an author isn't easy and encounters several writing issues. I think that a bit of Darcy was reflected in Lizzie's character as well. Both of them are young to the world that they are suddenly exposed to and they slowly grow from their mistakes.
All in all, Afterworlds wasn't too bad. Personally, I thought that there were too many facts left unexplained and Lizzie's story felt like a mess, but I guess it really depends on how you view the alternating stories. It truly was fun to see the world of writing and publishing through Darcy's POV. The first few chapters stirred something in me that had gone into hibernation for some time -the passion to write. After all, isn't Afterworlds dedicated to us readers?
"To all you wordsmiths, you scribblers, you Wrimos in your vast numbers, for making writing a part of your reading."
Any YA book lover or aspiring author will find this book relatable. There's two storylines told in alternating chapters so Afterworlds has that extra something to look forward to!
'Tis the Season to Be Readin' is a month-long event in which Perusing Bookshelves is updated with Christmassy posts to spread the Christmas cheer and love of books. To know more, click on the graphic above!
Love and Other Unknown Variables was a book that tore my heart open and made all my feelings go into overdrive. The author of this book, Shannon Lee Alexander, is a really inspring person. I love her posts on her website and how she emphasizes on hope and how important it is. Therefore, we have Shannon on PB today, talking about the books that inspired her! Let's give a warm welcome to Shannon and her book, Love and Other Unknown Variables!
Guest Post: Five Books that Inspired You and Gave You Hope
Happy holidays, Perusing Bookshelves readers! I’m Shannon Lee Alexander, author of Love and Other Unknown Variables, a contemporary young adult novel about a math prodigy whose meticulously planned future is cast into chaos when he meets a girl with a tattoo of a mathematical symbol and a devastating secret.
Love and Other Unknown Variables is a story of first love, heartbreak, and hope. Hope is important to me. It’s essential. It’s the piece of the grand puzzle that makes squinting over all those crazy tiny pieces worthwhile in the end. Hope carries you through to the moment that you set the last piece in, sit back, and think, Well, it all makes sense now!
So I was thrilled when Kat asked if I’d share five books that have inspired me and brought hope into my life.
Anyone who reads Love and Other Unknown Variables will immediately see that Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is at the top of the list of books that inspire me, but for this list, I wanted to pick out some other gems, some going waaayyy back in my life.
1. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
I have a stuffed bunny lovey, so of course, this book was right up my alley as a kid, because, of course, my bunny was really real. No doubt about it. When I was a young woman, the story took on a whole knew meaning as I was experiencing transformative love. And as a mother, watching my kids grow, succeed, and sometimes fail, I’m reminded that love is messy, exhausting, and sometimes bittersweet, but it lasts for always.
2. The Little Prince by Antoine Saint-Exupery
This is another one of those books that has grown with me. When I was a teenager, I wanted to be treated like an adult. I wanted to be anywhere other than my own small hometown. Reading this book allowed me to travel wide and far, but also reminded me that perhaps being young wasn’t all that bad. As an adult, it helps me remember what an elephant looks like when it’s been eaten by a boa constrictor.
3. & 4. In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: a Book of Womanist Prose & Possessing the Secret of Joy by Alice Walker
Both of these books have gone missing from my shelves, which leads me to believe I loaned them to someone and haven’t gotten them back. I don’t remember who borrowed them though. If it was you, and you’re finished reading them, could I have them back, please?
I read these books in my late teens, early twenties when I was in college. Alice Walker shook up my limited worldview. When I was living in Denver, she came to speak in this beautiful old theater. I sat in a balcony, sandwiched between two very different women, different both from each other and from me, and cried as she read to us. Cried because what she said was beautiful, but also because I wanted to find the courage to speak my mind just like her.
5. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
I read this book a few years ago, and when I was done, I flat out demanded that EVERYONE read it. Well, I demanded it once I had stopped sobbing enough to catch my breath and make intelligible sounds. For those unfamiliar with it, Ness picked up this story about a boy dealing with his mother’s cancer after Siobhan Dowd passed away. She had written a synopsis for the story, but her own cancer took her before she could write the rest. Ness wrote a brilliant, beautiful story that truly encompasses the emotional spectrum of love.
Now EVERYONE go read it so we can talk about it more!
Thanks for hanging out with me today. I’m always looking for hopeful books to add to my TBR list, so I’d love it if you’d share a few of your favorites with me in the comments.
Here’s to hoping for happy holidays for all!
'Tis the Season to Be Readin' is a month-long event in which Perusing Bookshelves is updated with Christmassy posts to spread the Christmas cheer and love of books. To know more, click the graphic above!
Hello, dear readers! You may or may not have rememberedthe time when I read The Silence of Six and enjoyed it. Either way that's totally fine. In The Silence of Six, we don't get to know much about Evan - because he killed himself. (Not a spoiler because it's included in the blurb) For some reason, I kept thinking about him and what he would do if he was alive. He'd be an interesting character, which leads me to my next point. Today we have the author, E. C. Myers, on Perusing Bookshelves to talk about Evan (and, of course, Max) which is awesome. What's even more awesome is that Myers has graciously offered to give away two signed hardcover copies of The Silence of Six (I'm sallivating myself) plus bookmarks or an electronic copy, which is so cool of him to do that. So grab a mug of hot chocolate and prepare yourself to know more about Evan and Max!
If Evan could be alive on Christmas -just for one day, what would Max have planned for their time together?
Thanks for inviting me to contribute this holiday guest post!
If you’ve read The Silence of Six, you know that Evan was deeply sentimental and generous, which made Christmas his absolute favorite holiday. He hadn’t made many friends in real life, but he loved making the people he cared about happy, and he had a special knack for finding them exactly the right present — sometimes the gift they didn’t even know they wanted.
Having Evan back for even a day would be the best Christmas present Max could hope for. As sentimental as Evan is, he wouldn’t want to dwell on their past mistakes and focus on making apologies, so Max would concentrate on enjoying every minute of their time together. Evan loves surprises and puzzles, and he’s very nostalgic, so Max would plan a sort of scavenger hunt that would remind his friend of the good times they had, knowing that Evan would figure out even his most complex clues fairly easily and lead him around on a fun adventure in their hometown.
Christmas morning would start with a big breakfast at Denny’s, where they used to spend late nights hacking into corporate servers. Max would rent out the small local cinema for a special screening of It’s a Wonderful Life, which Evan watched religiously every year, and a couple of other movies that Evan missed out on that Max knew he would love. (Unlimited popcorn!) They would drive around their hometown of Granville talking and listening to a special music mix he made just for Evan. They would sneak into Granville High School to fix themselves a school lunch in the cafeteria. (For some reason Evan liked the school lunches. Weird, right?) In the afternoon, they would trim the tree at Evan’s house, drinking eggnog and eating pie, before going to Max’s house for dinner with his dad, Evan’s parents, and their friends Courtney, Penny, and Risse. Then it’s the gift exchange!
Max’s present to Evan is a special photo album. Evan loved trains and had always wanted to visit the B&O Railroad Museum, the site of the B&O Railroad Depot, which received the first telegraph message in 1844. Evan never made it, so Max took a solo trip to the museum in Baltimore, Maryland and took photographs of him there with a cardboard standup of Evan.
Penny’s present is Evan’s old laptop, which she had recovered so they could spend the rest of their day in the place Evan had always been most comfortable: the internet. Back to Denny’s for an all-nighter! Do they hack any sites? Well, Evan may leave some “STOP was here” messages on various sites like whitehouse.gov, panjea.co, and the consulting firm Sharpe & Company — just a little holiday going away present.
If you want to read more about Evan, download the free prequel short story, “SOS”, on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and iBooks. The Silence of Six is available now from Adaptive Books in hardcover and eBook wherever books are sold online. Learn more at http://ecmyers.net.
E.C. Myers was assembled in the U.S. from Korean and German parts and raised in Yonkers, NY by his mother and the public library. He is a graduate of the Clarion West Writers Workshop and a member of the prolific NYC writing group Altered Fluid. In the rare moments when he isn't writing, he blogs about Star Trek at The Viewscreen, reads constantly, plays video games, watches films and television, sleeps as little as possible, and spends far too much time on the internet. His first novel, FAIR COIN, won the 2012 Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy.
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In case you need persuading (which you don't, this book is amazing), here's my review of The Silence of Six.
It's been another busy week. December was supposed to be the month where I get some well-deserved rest. To cheer myself up, (and you too!) I decided to do a book tag! I've always loved doing them because the questions can get really creative, and I'm sure you'll love this particular tag because it's Christmassy! This tag is also a featured post in 'Tis the Season to Be Readin', a month-long, Christmas-themed event on Perusing Bookshelves to spread the Christmas cheer and love of books. To know more about the event, click the graphic above!
The Christmas Carol Book Tag!
For this one, I'm going with The Darkling from the Grisha trilogy. A lot of people would disagree with me, but I've always had mixed feelings for him starting from book one. It's become a game of "Do I hate him or not?" and I got tired eventually. He's still pretty seductive, though.
This is a hard one. There are SO MANY books I want to get (that would be a really interesting topic to talk about) but there is one particular book that would be a perfect gift to find under my Christmas tree this year!
As I live internationally, acquiring hardcover copies of books has never been easy. Rarely do our bookstores sell books in hardcover because they can be really expensive, so most of the time I rely on Amazon to get a hardcover copy. But since the shipping alone costs a great deal of money, I usually only order books I truly love from Amazon. Books that are special. The only book I ever ordered from Amazon this year was City of Heavenly Fire (because it was a book that was dear to me and it also came out on my birthday!) and I never got around to ordering Percy Jackson's Greek Gods (in hardcover) because I'd already splurged a lot of money on other books. I only have the UK paperback edition of this book, and to have it as a present on Christmas would be wonderful. From other reviews I know the art in it is lovely and sadly, the paperback edition doesn't have any of the art in it. Plus, the book is so large and beautiful that unwrapping it would be a pleasant surprise!
For this, I'm naming a character from a book I just finished, and that is Celaena Sardothien from the Throne of Glass series. It's been no secret that this series is totally awesome and kick-ass. Everyone's talking about it, and if you've not heard of this book or series before-
Just a few hours ago I finished reading The Assassin's Blade, a compilation of five Throne of Glass novellas, and boy was it the greatest thing I read. Ever. The novellas managed to overwhelm me more than an ordinary story would. Celaena goes through some amazing character development but what I liked was how she managed to stay determined and find hope in every situation, even at her lowest moments. Even though she's Adarlan's Assassin, Celaena is one of the most passionate and well-rounded character I've ever read and her flaws compliment her personality as much as her strengths do. At the end of the five novellas, Celaena has gone through a lot of rough times but still, she stays strong-willed and tells herself not to be afraid, and that is when I think she overcame a major obstacle.
Adelina Amouteru from The Young Elites, I think, would be at the top of Santa's naughty list - but she's still one of the best characters that I loved. The Young Elites is a really dark story, with the protagonist as the "villian". Adelina did a lot of bad things and she's protrayed as the evil person in The Young Elites, but I think she's still trying to find her place. That poor girl always gets blamed and shut out! Still, I think she'd make the naughty list. Adelina is not the story's villian for nothing.
I tend to forget nice characters easily. Heck, I forget a lot of characters easily but for some reason, nice characters never stay in brain for long. As of the moment, I can only think of one character that'd be at the top of Santa's "nice" list, and she is Aria from the Under the Never Sky trilogy. She was such a bitch in the first book but I still remember thinking, "This girl is really nice!" in the second and third book. I especially enjoyed her character development and she's easily likeable and friendly to the people around her.
If this means a good, heartfelt book with a newfound OTP in it, I am going with Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell! At this point, I don't think this needs an explanation. If you've read the book, you know why. Such a perfectly relatable and beautiful story! There's so much to relate to in that book, plus cutesy-romance. Awww.
Ha. I could easily choose a book that doesn't take place in my country, Malaysia, and I don't know if I should be happy or sad. I do hope that in the future, authors will attempt at writing stories that occur in other countries! For the sake of this question though, I choose Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. In the story, Anna gets sent away to a boarding school in Paris (Paris!!) and I really enjoyed the romance in the book, enhanced by its setting. Again, Anna and the French Kiss is one of my cutesy-romance favourites!
Currently, I'm reading My True Love Gave To Me (if you haven't noticed from my sidebar) which is a compilation of twelve short holiday stories written by 12 different YA authors. It's supposed to be a really Christmassy read from the blurb and I'm enjoying it so far! It's not one of the best Christmassy anthologies out there but I am feeling festive!
This was the same question I asked Amy Smolcic for her guest post, and you can read her answers and the characters she'd like to spend Christmas with here! For me, (and I'm going to cheat a lot here) I would absolutely love to spend Christmas with all the characters from The Mortal Instruments series and The Infernal Devices trilogy. I marathoned both the TMI and TID series in November and December last year and the timing was perfect. Those were the days when I fangirled the hardest and felt a lot of Christmas cheer, thanks to these books and characters. So yes - Clary, Jace, Jem (major swoon), dear old Magnus (who could forget him, honestly?) and the rest of the characters - I'd be overjoyed and won't be a bit irritated if all of you showed up in a rowdy bunch on Christmas.
Rarely do I ever hate a book to that extent. Even if I do think the story is absolutely crap and was a waste of my time, I'd still feel a bit remorseful at burning it. However, I have one book that I would happily sacrifice for my health and well-being, which is Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire. I can't say much as it was DNF-ed after 50 pages or so, but I guess that still says something about the story, and how bad I think the romance was.
Oh, goodie! Recommendation time!
If it was a book that I'm sure would be loved by everyone, I would recommend Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. That series is perfection. But if it was a book that I loved, wasn't sure if it would be as widely enjoyed and loved, but still recommend it anyway - that book is The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. The fact that I linked the Goodreads page and put the title in bold says that I really, really want more people to read this book. The Kite Runner meant a great deal to me when I read it, and still means a lot to me. The story is real, profound and heartfelt. There's a lot of good values to be learnt from the story and it also takes place in a different setting. It's refreshing and will give you a different insight on life.
I hope you enjoyed The Christmas Carol book tag! I will be notifying the people I am tagging, and I also tag YOU if you want to do this tag! (And I don't see why not, it's fun and Christmassy.)
influence—the memories of traitors. But the leader of the rebels claims they used to be in love—even though Ella’s never met him before in her life. Which can only mean one thing…Someone’s altered her memory.
Ella’s gift is enough to overthrow a corrupt government or crush a growing rebel group. She is the key to stopping a war she didn’t even know was happening. But if someone else has been inside Ella’s head, she cannot trust her own memories, thoughts, or feelings.
So who can she trust?
That was one of the most confusing things I've ever read. I need a minute to get my thoughts into order. Clearly, I'm not cut out for science-fiction.
The plot was okay. Not absolutely brilliant, but not entirely solid either. For the most part, my brain was running around in circles trying to get a sense of what the heck was going on, instead of happily imagining how the story was playing out in my mind. Honestly, if I were to visualize anything right now, it's the image of my brain frantically running all over the place. And that's certainly not a good thing.
Because the plotline of The Body Electric felt like it was all over the place! I could understand where the plot was going, but the facts and information were simply blasted at my slow reader mind at different intervals. It could be a good story if not for the confusion, because the premise was interesting and seemed to be something I could truly enjoy reading.
I liked that the story was set in a dystopian world, with androids serving as workers and maids. There wasn't a lot of detailed planning and elaboration on the android/cyborg/technology part though, which ultimately led to a bunch of plot holes and a very bewildered and disgruntled Kat. I knew that in the story, lives had become more restricted and there was a limit to the things one could do after the war. People relied heavily on technology, and Ella's mother and father were one of - if not the most - powerful people because of the new technology they discovered.
However, the characters' actions didn't correspond well with facts from the story which led to the inevitable plot holes that I was talking about. I didn't understand why the rebels were still using androids in their safe houses when they were perceived as dangerous objects that could explode unexpectedly. Plus, all the science that was going around in the story wasn't properly explained. There were a lot of times when I had to stop, go back and re-read a page again because it was all too confusing. The transition from reverie to real life became such a mess at the end. If it weren't for the info-dumps and the too-quick pace of the story (plus plot holes!!) , The Body Electric would've been a thoroughly enjoyable read. I still have yet to read Across the Universe, but here's hoping that it will be a better constructed story and with more lively characters than The Body Electric.
Fans of Beth Revis' previous works and also sci-fi lovers. Obviously, The Body Electric still appeals to a ton of people. The facts in the story and plot was a little too confusing for me to fully appreciate it, but it has that potential to grab other readers.
my rating for The Body Electric:
The story was not tedious, it was just a bit lacking in the structure.
Kat is a voracious reader who enjoys nothing more than losing herself in a good book. Fantasy is definitely her cup of tea. She often complains about never having enough time to read and constantly struggles with keeping her TBR pile a considerably decent size. Read more or keep up with her bookish whims on Goodreads or bloglovin.
none at the moment!