Author: Gabrielle Zevin.
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? (Published Summary)
Meh. The concept of de-aging was cool, but nothing else. Barely anyone beyond the main character receives more than a cursory fleshing out; most of the book was completely predictable; and the romance was… sad. Creepy. Strange. I don’t even know how to categorize it.
Owen ‘breaks up’ (they never actually talk about this, so it’s unclear what happened) with his wife when she joins him, although they apparently had an extremely happy relationship and he spent most of his life in Elsewhere pining after her, to get together with a girl much younger than him whom he’s known for months. Maybe a year, at most. So now these two are a couple – as they age younger and younger? They have two, three years of teenage relationship then everything’s younger! They’re nine and ten at one point, and younger still at another!
Sorry, but not sorry. No. This doesn’t fly.
And there weren’t any redeeming factors, because, well, there weren’t many other factors at all. It’s a very straight forward plot, with only one or two small subplots, and like I said, revolves very closely around the main character without a lot of work being put into the others.
Sexual Content: MC in afterlife can watch her family/friends to a certain extent: “Once, Liz watches her parents have sex, which she finds both disgusting and disturbing.” Some kissing. MC comments on how they “Never made it to the backseat” – this in the car her lover/boyfriend’s been teaching her to drive.
Language: 4 hell, 1 d***, 1 derogatory term, 1 scatological term
Violence: Character remembers being hit and killed by a car. Character sees the bullet-wound to the head that killed another character, and scarring/wounds up and down yet another person’s arm that are attributed to the heroin addiction that killed him.