Sunday, 23 April 2017

Cova Reviews | The Hereafter, by Jessica Bucher

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book for review via NetGalley. This does not in any away affect the truthfulness of the following statement, which reflects my honest opinion on the novel

Hello, everyone! Today I bring to you a review of the book The Hereafter, by Jessica Bucher. It is a great new adult, paranormal novel, a stand-alone (at least, so far) about death, love, faith and consequences.  I was lucky enough to be granted this book for review, and I am so happy I was! It was published independently by the author, and it honestly changed my mind about self-published works. It came out last month, March 16th.
"Nin has no recollection of her death. The things she does remember, like her cruel boyfriend, troubled father, and absent mother, she’d like to forget. Dylan doesn’t need to remember his death to know that he deserved it. Who needs memories when you have the scars? Sparks ignite when the two, very different, strangers meet. Together they spend one endless summer exploring their new world. Suddenly, their after-lives hold more possibility and promise than their tragic teenage lives ever did.But no dream lasts forever, and all too soon, harmful memories from their pasts emerge and threaten to tear them apart. Given the chance to change their fates, Nin and Dylan must decide-- life or love.Weaving through past and present and alternating perspectives, The Hereafter is an emotional journey about young love and second chances." (Goodreads)

First of all, this synopsis really got me. It is a book whose protagonists are dead! I think I'd never read any books with dead main characters before (I've read The Graveyard Book, but actually the main character is the only one who isn't dead!). That was refreshing!

I found the story to be quite unique. It starts off very mysteriously, and you don't really know what is going on (because the characters don't either). There are a lot of flashbacks in this book, which I found entertaining. It's a way for the author to explain what has led the characters to the situation they are in without them telling, which is quite cool. However, because the characters remember things from their past bit by bit, I did not really understand whether what you learn from the flashbacks they remember as you're told it. Sometimes it did seem that way, but I felt like other times they didn't take that part of their stories into account. 

The writing was easy to follow, and the story well built. It has quite a surprising plot twist, although I think the author could have written an even more shocking transition - I felt like she told me something I wasn't sure she was telling me, and then she confirmed it instead of just letting out the bomb. I was nice, still, don't get me wrong!

About the characters, I really came to love both protagonists! I love that the author brought their true selves in their afterlife. They feel genuine. I also really liked Dylan's preschool teacher - she represents such an important figure in a child's life. Moreover, the main characters' families are not sugar-coated, which I really appreciated; The Hereafter does not intend to hide the cruelty of reality. I am very grateful that mental health was represented in such a smooth, natural and honest way. As a medical student, I think we are not exposed enough to what mental disorders really are and what brutal effects they can have if not handled correctly - and even if we do try and take care of them, there are just some things we cannot control. In addition, this novel also includes the topic of how upbringing affects how people turn out to be when they grow older, which is another issue parents are not sufficiently talked about. The significance of it is outstandingly presented in this book, especially for the audience it tries to reach. I hugely respect Jessica Bucher for all the important messages she shares in her book. 

The ending (no spoilers, worry not 😉) brings up a point I had been thinking about throughout the whole book and that I thought it missed. Although I understand that was not the point of the book, I still think it could have been explored more broadly as it rapidly comes to mind. Nevertheless, it was satisfying for me! 

Overall, you can see that I really enjoyed this novel! I had rather high expectations of it and it definitely met them :) I really recommend this novel if you're looking for something light that will have you hooked. I'd say it's a very good choice to snap out a reading slump!

Had you heard of this book before? What do you think of it? Leave me a comment!

Happy reading!

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