Skinjacker #1. Author: Neal Shusterman.
Nick and Allie don’t survive the car accident…
…but their souls don’t exactly get where they’re supposed to get either. Instead, they’re caught halfway between life and death, in a sort of limbo known as Everlost: a shadow of the living world, filled with all the things and places that no longer exist. It’s a magical, yet dangerous place where bands of lost children run wild and anyone who stands in the same place too long sinks to the center of the Earth.
When they find Mary, the self-proclaimed queen of lost kids, Nick feels like he he’s found a home, but Allie isn’t satisfied spending eternity between worlds. Against all warnings, Allie begins learning the “Criminal Art” of haunting, and ventures into dangerous territory, where a monster called the McGill threatens all the souls of Everlost.
Everlost is a bit like Alice in Wonderland – if Wonderland made sense, in an internal self-contained way. I mean, our characters fall down a long hole into a strange, often whimsical, new land. A land where how you remember yourself determines your appearance, where falling straight to the center of the earth is a real danger but dying is not. The key difference, as I said, is that it actually makes sense internally. The children have slipped into limbo, where they need to neither eat, drink, nor sleep. If they’re not careful, they’ll slide into an eternally repetitious rut, and spend the rest of their long non-aging life doing the same thing day after day.
It’s clearly a first-book-of-series. A lot of world-discovery and introduction, but at least it makes perfect sense within the story. It may be a bit silly at times, but I really enjoyed it; I love Nick and Allie, stubborn and hopeful, and so determined not to give up even now that they’re dead.
Sexual Content: None.
Violence: The story opens with a car crash and death – the two MCs feel no pain, there’s no blood or gore described. Characters are attacked by a villainous type, who tries to stuff them in barrels; they realize there are other children there, (children in Everlost feel no pain and cannot die) trapped for ‘forever’ or the foreseeable future. One character ‘skinjacks’ a handful of times to travel places, which means invading a living person’s mind and controlling them against their will. Possible body-horror in the form of a grotesque monster character.