RobertaÂ R. is a senior blogger with a penchant forÂ YAÂ books. Her love of music has landed her a job as a host for a local radio station. Her fancy for TV series, Â from police procedural to sci-fi to urban fantasy, causes her to experiment wild adventures with too many fictional characters in her night dreams. Her urge to spread the love for overlookedÂ YAÂ novels drove her to start her blog,Â OffbeatÂ YA, in 2012.
It started with a book. It always does.
In 1997, I stumbled upon the blurb of a 8 year old Christopher Pike novel, Remember Me, inÂ the YA section of a book catalogue. Please take special note of the following:
I wasn’t familiar with his stuff, or with the whole YA phenomenon for that matter (what with being in Italy); I was already past the age of reading YA novels…or so I thought. I was only going through the whole catalogue because I’d read pretty much anything, telephone address books included.Â But the image of a deceased girl who sets on investigating her own murder began to haunt meÂ to the point that I impulsively went out and bought the book. Little did I know at the time that such a simple action would have started my love affair with afterlife novels…and Pike himself (IÂ mean his writer persona of course…).
The fact is, I simply love everything about afterlife novels. I love to see characters
rewatch/relive moments of their life and realize things. I love to see them try and find out how theyÂ ended up dead. I love it when they try to contact the people they’ve left behind. I love all theÂ different, imaginative afterlife settings they found themselves in. I even love those of them whoÂ refuse to stay dead (more about this later…).
Since when I joined Goodreads, all kinds of YA afterlife novels began to pop up everywhere forÂ me. I had no clue there were so many. I was in heaven (pun not intended). So I slowly startedÂ making a list of them, and managed to read a few Â discovering a whole world in the process.Â Because, unlike most genres nested into the YA trend, there seemed to be so many differentÂ spins on the matter. I’ve still to come across an afterlife book that doesn’t have something freshÂ and different to offer. And this is one of the reasons why I love them so much, but you know? notÂ the main one.
The fact is, what appeals to me the most is the paradox, the oxymoron of it all-being dead, butÂ still alive on a plane of existence. Getting to see and hear other people, but not being able to beÂ perceived by them. Not to mention, recalling one’s death, or (more often) not having a clue andÂ investigating it.
And what about the unfinished business? Because there’s always one, isn’t it? Life is a seriesÂ of goals and expectations, and when it’s cut short, if you were able to look back at it, you wouldÂ likely feel restless and outraged because you were supposed to do something. Or have something.Â Or go somewhere. So we often get characters who still try to fit in the alive world somehow, or toÂ influence it…or Â most of the times Â to right a specific wrong that death caused to them.Â Also, how do we imagine the afterlife? Because no one of us, even those who don’t believe inÂ landing somewhere after their death, is willing to think it all over. For someone it may beÂ comforting, while someone else just has fun picturing a place and its rules, or reading about it, as anÂ extension of our mortal life. So, you see, afterlife novels have something in them for everyone.
My only small criticism would be that YA afterlife seems to be populated by an endless
stream of girls and very little boys. While the latter are to be found in books that actually presentÂ an afterlife setting (but girls are always the main characters), or are the leads’ companionsÂ sometime, afterlife novels as a whole are pretty much a dead-Âgirl affair. I do love reading about them Â– and Â I suppose they sellÂ more Â– butÂ what about a deadÂ-boy novel once in a while? *hint toÂ authors*
Are you intrigued by afterlife books by now? Would you like to hear some recommendations?Â But of course Â my pleasure! So here goes…
Afterlife Novels with Mystery Aspects:
Remember Me by Christopher PikeÂ is a must read (you’re notÂ surprised, are you?). I think it was the very prototype of a firstÂ-person narrative by a ghost, atÂ least in YA fiction. The two sequels (where main lead Shari comes back as someone else) areÂ forgettable IMO, but please, do yourself a favour and read this one.
Deadgirl by B.C. JohnsonÂ This one came out in 2012, but hasÂ been reissued a few months ago, and a sequel is in the making. Lucy is not a zombie, neither aÂ ghost in the classic sense…she’s just the girl who refused to die. A fabulous read about beingÂ young, passionate and hungry Â– literally Â– for life…
The Actual Afterlife
The Everafter by AmyÂ HuntleyÂ Maddy finds herself in a dark,Â lonely space, full of all the objects she lost in life. She finds out that, when touching them, she canÂ relive moments of her life. Can she even prevent her own death?
There are so many other books in this subgenre that I’ve read, or that I plan to. If your interest hasÂ been piqued, letÂ me steer you to a place where you can dwell in Afterlife BooksÂ awesomeness…theÂ Afterlife RoomÂ of my own blog.
Thanks to Emily for letting me do this. I very much enjoyed writing this post, not toÂ mention, being featured on her young, but passionate blog. Which you all should follow, if you’reÂ not doing it already ;).Â Also big thanks toÂ The Book BratzÂ for putting this awesome tour together!