Scott Westerfeld
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Scott Westerfeld comes a smart, thought-provoking novel-within-a-novel that you won’t be able to put down.Darcy Patel has put college on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. With a contract in hand, she arrives in New York City with no apartment, no friends, and all the wrong clothes. But lucky for Darcy, she’s taken under the wings of other seasoned and fledgling writers who help her navigate the city and the world of writing and publishing. Over the course of a year, Darcy finishes her book, faces critique, and falls in love. Woven into Darcy’s personal story is her novel, Afterworlds, a suspenseful thriller about a teen who slips into the “Afterworld” to survive a terrorist attack. The Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead, and where many unsolved—and terrifying—stories need to be reconciled. Like Darcy, Lizzie too falls in love…until a new threat resurfaces, and her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she cares about most.


Reviewed: 2018-04-21
This is the story to give aspiring writers; it shows writing is more about the rewrites the editorials and marketing then just putting random ideas on paper. Also you can see glimpse of your favorite authors in all the characters.
Reviewed: 2015-11-21

An amazing book for anyone interested in the writing/publishing industry and with a great life/death type of book.

Reviewed: 2015-10-25
*slight spoilers* This book, is amazing. Just, hands down, it is wonderful and magical and everything I expected and so, so, much more. The world building was amazing, both in Darcy's world and on Lizzie's. These are amazing characters living in two different genres. Darcy's story and journey in trying to get her novel published, all while falling in love in and with New York City, is about as contemporary YA romance as it can get. Lizzie is living the life of a grim reaper due to a near death experience and ends up falling for the death God, the perfect prompt for a fantasy/paranormal novel of I've ever heard one. And together, they balance each other, creating an almost perfect harmony and flow that you just love. I so recommend this book to everyone!
Reviewed: 2015-04-07
There are two whole novels here, and I enjoyed both of them enormously.

One is a paranormal fantasy about a California girl who dies and meets the Indian god of death, and thereafter can see and talk to ghosts. It reminds me quite a bit of Meg Cabot's Mediator novels, which I also enjoyed enormously. This novel is ostensibly the work of a high school senior during NaNoWriMo.

The other book is a realistic contemporary about a high school senior who managed to score a contract and a whopping advance for the paranormal fantasy she wrote during NaNoWriMo, and how she uses that money to move to Manhattan, befriend real, professional writers in the city, and learn how to rewrite her novel into something good, and also find love and independence while maintaining a relationship with her family and high school friends. This one feels like a modern comedy of manners.

Both stories are grounded in a plausible reality while also incorporating some whimsy. Westerfeld has been a popular writer of YA series for a while now, and is married to a writer I likewise enjoy enormously (Justine Larbalestier!), so there isn't a lot of angsting about The Great American Novel but there is great insight into both the process of editing a book, and about all the other business related to publishing. As a former flap monkey, the book tour killed me.

Reading this book, and thinking about it just after, I realized that my own reviews and those of most reviewers I follow, tend to focus on plot and characters and themes and motifs, not unlike the discussion in many English Lit courses. What I don't often address is how reading a book makes me feel. Reading Afterworlds is pretty much a full emotional banquet: there is pain and sadness and romance and humor, and, AND there's even an examination of how stories can be appealing while being problematic, with Darcy having an opportunity to hear those criticisms and learn from them, and revise her novel in more positive ways. All of us are steeped in a culture of assimilation and stereotype and prejudice, and all of us are creating problems for our fellow beings all the time just being thoughtless. Westerfeld is showing us, in a kind and not at all off-putting or sermonizing sort of way, how we can improve ourselves if we listen to the critical feedback. So, not only is it a book that makes you feel all kinds of things while you're reading it, it isn't a guilty pleasure at all.

And I kind of hate that we're still at this place, but I would like to give Westerfeld some cookies for showing a New York that isn't all white male anglo-saxon protestant hetero. This is a New York I recognize full of all kinds of people.

Library copy
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