SBPT Sunday: Afterlife Special with Offbeat YA

Posted July 5, 2015 by Emily in Blog Tour, Special Feature / 1 Comment

 

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Rocartoon offbeat ya avatarberta R. is a senior blogger with a penchant for YA books. Her love of music has landed her a job as a host for a local radio station. Her fancy for TV series,  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 overlooked YA novels drove her to start her blog, Offbeat YA, in 2012.

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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, in 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. But the image of a deceased girl who sets on investigating her own murder began to haunt me 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 (I 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 they ended up dead. I love it when they try to contact the people they’ve left behind. I love all the different, imaginative afterlife settings they found themselves in. I even love those of them who refuse to stay dead (more about this later…).

Since when I joined Goodreads, all kinds of YA afterlife novels began to pop up everywhere for me. I had no clue there were so many. I was in heaven (pun not intended). So I slowly started making a list of them, and managed to read a few ­ discovering a whole world in the process. Because, unlike most genres nested into the YA trend, there seemed to be so many different spins on the matter. I’ve still to come across an afterlife book that doesn’t have something fresh and different to offer. And this is one of the reasons why I love them so much, but you know? not the main one.

The fact is, what appeals to me the most is the paradox, the oxymoron of it all-being dead, but still alive on a plane of existence. Getting to see and hear other people, but not being able to be perceived by them. Not to mention, recalling one’s death, or (more often) not having a clue and investigating it.

And what about the unfinished business? Because there’s always one, isn’t it? Life is a series of goals and expectations, and when it’s cut short, if you were able to look back at it, you would likely feel restless and outraged because you were supposed to do something. Or have something. Or go somewhere. So we often get characters who still try to fit in the alive world somehow, or to influence it…or ­ most of the times ­ to right a specific wrong that death caused to them. Also, how do we imagine the afterlife? Because no one of us, even those who don’t believe in landing somewhere after their death, is willing to think it all over. For someone it may be comforting, while someone else just has fun picturing a place and its rules, or reading about it, as an 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 present an afterlife setting (but girls are always the main characters), or are the leads’ companions sometime, afterlife novels as a whole are pretty much a dead-­girl affair. I do love reading about them – and  I suppose they sell more – but what about a dead­-boy novel once in a while? *hint to authors*

Are you intrigued by afterlife books by now? Would you like to hear some recommendations? But of course ­ my pleasure! So here goes…

Afterlife Novels with Mystery Aspects:

Remember Me CoverRemember Me by Christopher Pike is a must read (you’re not surprised, are you?). I think it was the very prototype of a first­-person narrative by a ghost, at least in YA fiction. The two sequels (where main lead Shari comes back as someone else) are forgettable IMO, but please, do yourself a favour and read this one.

 

Dead­But­Not­Dead Characters:

Deadgirl coverDeadgirl by B.C. Johnson This one came out in 2012, but has been reissued a few months ago, and a sequel is in the making. Lucy is not a zombie, neither a ghost in the classic sense…she’s just the girl who refused to die. A fabulous read about being young, passionate and hungry – literally – for life…

 

The Actual Afterlife

The Everafter CoverThe Everafter by Amy Huntley Maddy finds herself in a dark, lonely space, full of all the objects she lost in life. She finds out that, when touching them, she can 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 has been piqued, let me steer you to a place where you can dwell in Afterlife Books awesomeness…the Afterlife Room of my own blog.

Thanks to Emily for letting me do this. I very much enjoyed writing this post, not to mention, being featured on her young, but passionate blog. Which you all should follow, if you’re not doing it already ;). Also big thanks to The Book Bratz for putting this awesome tour together!

 

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