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Hereafter Author: Tara Hudson

Synopsis: Can there truly be love after death?

Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she’s dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she’s trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.

Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.

I was instantly intrigued to read Hereafter once I had read the blurb to the novel. After reading the first chapter I was happy I got the book but then . . . the happiness faded and a great deal of yawning and frustration took it’s place.

Hereafter is about a girl named Amelia, who had died falling from a bridge and is now wondering the Earth as a ghost. She has no memory of her past and of what exactly happened to her to cause her death. She can only remember her age and her first name. But lord and behold she is miraculously lifted from her desolate fog when she saves a boy, named Joshua, from drowning and discovers he can see her. Once the boy is safely back on shore and being carded off by the paramedics, Joshua let’s Amelia know his name, and Amelia instantly falls in love with him (seriously?!). Amelia fears she will never see him again but two days later Joshua shows up, back on the bridge where he had fallen, searching for her. Joshua, without hesitation, accepts that Amelia is a ghost and falls in love with her (because we all know how realistic that is!) But Amelia is also being stalked by another ghost, Eli, who is determined to keep her for his own. Amelia also has to contend with Joshua’s grandmother, Ruth, who is a Seer and has the power to cast out ghosts and hurt them. To top it all off, Eli will use even Joshua’s family to get to Amelia if he has to. Can Joshua and Amelia stay together and somehow manage to save his sister Jillian from certain doom? *bum bum bum*

Is anyone else sick and tired of the insta-love paranormal romance stories? I cannot be the only ONE in the world who is completely over this ridiculous trend! That’s not to say I don’t enjoy a good love story. I am a BIG fan of love. But a love story that has passion and purpose. A love story that shows the characters ACTUALLY working toward each other not just falling all over each other the moment they meet.

As much as I thought I would really love this book, Hereafter was just too packed with convinces and clichés. Most of this novel consists of Amelia describing every one of her sensations–she cannot believe she can feel after going so long unable to feel anything–and her non-epic romance with Joshua. Amelia confesses to Joshua she is dead and is a ghost. Joshua accepts her truth without so much as batting an eye of disbelief. What the hecksies?! A girl tells you she is dead and a ghost and you just act like it’s no big deal?? That was just way too unbelievable.

There is a scene where Joshua asks Amelia to go to school with him. They head to his calculus class where Joshua ends up getting called up to the front because he was caught talking to Amelia. Except Joshua knows nothing about math but –you guessed it–Amelia is miraculously a math genius and gets the exact answer he needs. What was the point of this scene?? It was a piece of plot that was useless and lead no where. There was also a scene where the head cheerleaders make an entrance. Kaylen, the head cheerleader, wants Joshua for her own but Joshua isn’t swayed by her because he believes Amelia to be the most beautiful girl he’s ever seen . . . Even though she is dead . . . And why cheerleaders? So cliché. Yet again, another scene that was nothing more than to fill in otherwise obvious empty spot in the plot.

Eli was probably the best and only fleshed out character of the entire novel. He is completely nuts and evil. He doesn’t really recognize the fact that he comes off like it and I found that amusing. Amelia is not a character I would consider a heroine. Joshua is pretty sweet and adorable but flat. There isn’t much of Ruth but she is a total betoch when she is in the story. If I had her as my grandmother, I would tell Eli to take her. Jillian is, of course, the wanna-be popular little sister who is riding on the coattails of her jock-star brother.

The pacing gets better closer toward the end when Amelia and Eli face off but that wasn’t enough to save the book from being lack luster. There were just too many things that were convenient well others were never explained. Case in point: Eli finds out that Amelia has been seeing Joshua and is determined to break them apart since he wants to keep Amelia in the afterlife with him. After an argument one night with Eli, Eli threatens Amelia to meet him at her grave site or he will make sure Joshua doesn’t end up well. Amelia complies and goes to the graveyard where she is supposedly going to talk things out with Eli (why she would just go ALONE to see the evil-psychopathic ghost when she has no ability to defend herself I just don’t understand!). Eli tries to sway Amelia but when his logic doesn’t work he attacks her. Amelia falls onto her grave site and knocks her head then falls unconscious. Here is Eli’s opportunity to take her back to his world. To trap her and force Joshua to find some way to rescue her. Would have made a better plotline but instead, Eli does nothing to Amelia and just leaves her there . . . Although he’s been chasing after her and wanting her for himself *anyone else confused*

Another part of the plot that made absolutely no sense and proves how things were never explained, was through the fact that Amelia could touch Joshua even though she could touch no other object. She can smell him even though she can smell nothing else. She can somehow manage to cry REAL tears even though she is a ghost. She can bleed. She gets a heartbeat every once and a while. She can kiss. None of this stuff is ever explained even a little which is confusing because she has NO BODY!

There are also pieces of the plot that are just too convenient. When Amelia and Joshua find her real home and the door is just left open. Amelia suddenly remembers how she dies because Eli has planned a similar death for someone else. Amelia suddenly develops powers that helps her defeat Eli and his minions. Also, Joshua and Amelia’s relationship didn’t make a whole lot of sense either. The two of them make out , talk, and hold hands in PUBLIC places! I had always expected someone to finally call Joshua out and ask him if he was losing his mind but no one ever noticed. Joshua was always gone all the time but no one in his life ever wondered where he was or what he was doing.

The dialogue is slow moving and the narration, which is told from Amelia’s point of view, is as overly dramatic. The plot barely exists and moves at a snaillike pace.

I am sure for all you die hard Twilight fans, you will very much enjoy Hereafter since Amelia is as daft and over dramatic as Bella. But the rest of you paranormal romance fans, I would recommend practicing caution if you attempt to read this novel. There are certain aspects that are enjoyable enough but the book isn’t the “wow, bang” type of love story you’re dying to get your hands on. It’s a good book to pass the time but nothing that hasn’t really been done before.