What happens after we die? It’s a question I’m willing to be everyone has asked at some point in their lives. There are many theories and speculations and beliefs, and in Everlost by Neal Shusterman, a new idea is explored.
In Everlost Nick and Allie die in the first chapter, but after bumping into each other on their way to “getting where they were going,” they end up in the in-between world of Everlost. Lief, a boy who’s been living in Everlost for over a hundred years, becomes their guide, and after helping him overcome his fears of the monstrous McGill to leave his forest home, they head to New York and meet Mary Hightower in the Twin Towers, a girl who can teach them more about the world of Everlost and possibly how to get back home.
As with the other books from Shusterman that I’ve read, the prose is perfect, and his third-person POV is the best way to tell this story. What captivated me the most, however, was the way his vivid imagination transformed this idea of an in-between into a fully fleshed-out world. Everlost has its quirks and rules and niches that make it as vivid, if not more, than our own world. Each Afterlight enters Everlost with a worn coin. Afterlights must keep moving when not on “dead spaces”, or else they’ll sink all the way to the center of the Earth to wait for all eternity. In Everlost, all fortunes in Fortune Cookies come true.
Rules, rules, and more rules.
And these rules never feel like they’re overloading the story. Each quirk is woven into the story in such a way that it progresses the story’s movement and doesn’t make you feel like there’s any sort of info-dump taking place. It’s an easy progression, and as more and more information about Everlost is explained, you’ll look back on previous parts of the story and think, “Oh, that makes sense now!”
Shusterman has a knack for creating great stories. Granted, I’ve only read the first three books in his Unwind series before Everlost, but it’s been enough to make me crave his other novels. I hope after reading this review, you crave Everlost, too.
*Sorry this review’s a bit shorter than most of my previous reviews. I’m officially on vacation-mode right now, and am trying to relish every single bit of it!