Friday, July 8, 2011

Review - Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

Title: Elsewhere (Amazon)
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Publisher: Square Fish
Release Date: 2007
Pages: 277
Genre: YA
Source: Library

Welcome to Elsewhere. It is warm, with a breeze, and the beaches are marvelous. It’s quiet and peaceful. You can’t get sick or any older. Curious to see new paintings by Picasso? Swing by one of Elsewhere’s museums. Need to talk to someone about your problems? Stop by Marilyn Monroe’s psychiatric practice.

Elsewhere is where fifteen-year-old Liz Hall ends up, after she has died. It is a place so like Earth, yet completely different. Here Liz will age backward from the day of her death until she becomes a baby again and returns to Earth. But Liz wants to turn sixteen, not fourteen again. She wants to get her driver’s license. She wants to graduate from high school and go to college. And now that she’s dead, Liz is being forced to live a life she doesn’t want with a grandmother she has only just met. And it is not going well. How can Liz let go of the only life she has ever known and embrace a new one? Is it possible that a life lived in reverse is no different from a life lived forward?

This moving, often funny book about grief, death, and loss will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned.

Kim’s Take – This was a pretty good book. My favorite part of it was the image Zevin gives of where you go when you die. It is described so much like being on Earth but a place with a great climate, the ocean, and where everything seems so peaceful and happy.

Elizabeth (Liz) Hall is fifteen when she is hit by a car and killed while riding her bike. When she awakes, she finds herself on a ship with other recently deceased individuals and heading to a place called Elsewhere. Elsewhere is the place where everyone who dies goes to and where time works the opposite of Earth. Instead of growing older, the residents grow younger until they are babies and sent back to Earth to be reborn into different lives.

Liz has a very hard time acclimating to her new "life" which is understandable for her age. Over the months, she begins to realize there is no choice but to accept her situation, she begins a job that requires her to help recently deceased animals to help them understand what has happened to them and help place them in loving homes. She even meets Owen, who she becomes very good friends with. All the while, she is still missing that she will never get her driver’s license, graduate, or fall in love.

It was a great story but I didn’t really care for the main character Liz. Maybe she just had a spoiled attitude but she gave everyone such a hard time, seemed very selfish, and seemed to act as if rules didn’t apply to her. But I did like the others character’s in the story. And also the feeling the book gives you of being in such a happy carefree place.

Altogether, it was a really good story and gives you a good feeling about the author’s fantasy regarding what may happen when you die and meeting others who have already died. I just would have felt a little better about if I could have maybe given a little face slap to Liz to get her to open her eyes and see how wonderful the place and people were and how she was treating her grandmother who was so happy to finally be with the granddaughter she had never met. I understand she is only fifteen but it was still rather annoying!

It’s great book for someone that is looking for a feel good, quick read.

Kim’s Rating – 4/5


  1. I'm glad you liked this overall, I haven't read anything by this author but I do have a copy of her upcoming dystopian to read. I've been thinking about reading this one first...not sure if I want to deal with an annoying MC though - so thanks for the review!

  2. I hadn't heard of this book but it sounds interesting. I think I'm going to check it out at the library before I buy. Great review! : )

  3. I like the synopsis of this book. I have not heard nor seen on it shelf's at my local book store but I definitely interested after reading your review!

  4. I actually bought this when it first came out and for some reason never read it. I probably still have it on my shelf...maybe I'll give it a read now ^-^

  5. I'm with you about Liz, she was the hardest thing to warm up to about the whole book.

    I really liked Owen and Betty though, and ... Curtis? (the ex-singer?), but Liz was harder at times.

    Still, I do like this book :D

  6. I don't think I have this on my reading list yet. So glad you enjoyed it! That means I need to check it out!

  7. This is one of my favorite books. Liz is annoying, but I just adore the idea of it. I'm glad you liked it!