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Everlost (1) (The Skinjacker Trilogy) Hardcover – October 1, 2006
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From School Library Journal
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Neal Shusterman has written an engaging story full of twists and turns to keep the reader on their toes. This is not simply a YA novel, adults can fall under it's spell just as easily and teens. The story doesn't end on a cliffhanger but I can't imagine not wanting to dive right into the next book in the series.
I gave this a three out of five stars on Goodreads. I love Neal Shustermans writing. And I liked the story. I thought the world could have been a bit more developer. I also didn't really connect with the characters. I love his dystopian series "unwind" and I'm hoping the second book turns out better than this first in this paranormal. I was a fun read. I enjoyed it.
If any of these things stopped you from moving on, you may end up in Everlost, as Allie and Nick found out after a fatal car crash left them in a luscious forest. As this pair get acquainted with their new afterlife, they stumble across an assortment of villains, horrors, and a bibliophile. Or maybe you could call the bibliophile the "Life After Death for Dummies" superstar author.
The characters in this book really fell flat. For someone we spend the majority of the book with (Allie), we really don't get a good feel for her or really step into her character much - and the person who really seems to turn the book around (Nick), we see very little of and don't know him much by the time the book ends. The one character I feel we connected most with, that had the most real emotions coming through were Mary and Vari. We got to see more of their personality instead of being told what it was.
The villain in the book seemed... for lack of a better term, nonthreatening. Ugly, very much so. Rude. UH-HUH. Evil?? Nope.
It was an easy read, the story moved along, but at times, it really didn't feel like we were doing much. It almost seemed like scenes were put in there just to fill the time. The plot isn't deep, the ending is pretty predictable, and there isn't much to the suspense. I know this is labeled for a younger reader, but I still believe that this could have had a few subplots woven in for the enjoyment of older readers, especially given Shusterman's fan base.
One thing that really and truly upset me were the amount of errors found in the book. This is a book put out by one of the biggest publishing houses out there. There is no reason to have as many errors as there are in this book. Self-published authors get slammed on a daily basis because of their lack of editing, and the big houses are putting out books that are entertaining, yes - but also riddled with blatant errors. There were instances of two characters speaking in the same paragraph, commas missing from the end of dialogue, "id" being used instead of "is" and the list goes on.
I feel that, especially in a book that is aimed at younger readers, our goal is to show them how English SHOULD be written, not by throwing a popular author's book out there full of errors because the publishing house knows it will sell.
I'm giving this book a three-star rating because the storyline was interesting, I was able to finish it, and I wasn't bored to death. However, I will say that I am getting increasingly more angry at the large publishing houses for their lax editing and formatting on their eBooks.
As a whole, I am not interested enough in the series to pick up book two. I will, however, be reading book two of his Unwind series (which I thought was brilliant). Everlost is the second book of Shusterman's that I have read, and while I'm not thrilled with it, I haven't given up on him as an author. I want to see what else he has in store for me in his other books. :)
Top international reviews
Despite opening with the death of its two main characters, and all of its characters being dead children, `Everlost' is not as dark as `Unwind'. The Everlost is a place between worlds. The novel's premise is that some children (and it is only children, the novel contains no adults), don't get to wherever it is we go when we die, but instead get stuck in a world that coexists with our own. The children of the Everlost, can see what is happening in the real world, but cannot interact with it, and are invisible to the living. Shusterman does not dwell on death and dying until late on in the book, so for much of the time, The Everlost functions as a fantasy setting, in which an interesting story unfolds.
On their arrival in Everlost, Nick and Allie meet Lief, a boy who has been dead for over one hundred years. Lief introduces them to the peculiarities of their new situation, after which Nick and Allie head toward their old homes, hoping to find out what has happened to their families. On their way, they meet various denizens of Everlost, the strong and the weak, the friendly and the not so friendly. One thing that they do learn is that everybody in the Everlost, no matter who they are, is scared of the monsterous McGill.
The magic of 'Everlost' is in the quality of Shusterman's world building. He has constructed a completely credible afterlife. In the Everlost, objects come through too, but only if they were really loved. As a result there are lots of musical instruments, and vinyl records, but no CD's or record players. This is a subtle way of examining how we form attachments to inanimate objects. Buildings too, can make it to the Everlost, which makes for interesting reading once the children reach New York.
The novel is riveting from start to finish, with some really nice touches (including the best use of fortune cookies in fiction, ever!). The story is both exciting and a deeply moving examination of good, evil and the blurred areas between them. The novel is set up well for a sequel, and there is reason to hope that the 'Everlost' series could turn into an all-time classic. Neal Shusterman's books are excellent, a cut above most of what else is out there. It's a great shame he seems to be criminally under-read.
Elsewhere, The Five people You Meet in Heaven and The Everafter are similar and also books I love so
I thought I'd see what ideas Neal Shusterman has come up with about what happens to us, or in this book,
children after we die.
Firstly I liked the way we were introduced to the Everlost. At first you're not sure if Allie and Nick are
really dead until we meet their new friend Lief, who has been on his own ever since he ended up there.
He's so excited to meet new people that he decides to go with them as Nick and Allie try to figure out
what has happened to them, where they are, and how they get to where they were going. It is soon revealed that
this really isn't heaven for children, its and inbetween place where some children on their way to heaven
get a little lost. And its not a very safe place to be.
We meet lots of interesting characters along the way, Mary Queen of Snots is one of my favourites, even if she
is not the good girl we all are led to believe, however I do believe that all she ever had are good intentions.
ut apparently the road to hell is paved with those.
I found Allie quite annoying and warmed to Nick much more, he turned out to be a real hero in this book. The characters overall were very well written, The McGill (The big bad monster) had many more layers to him than just
being a monster. I was very surprised to find out who some of the characters really were at the end, the ending
was quite exciting. And so I'm looking forward to the next book, it is in my ever growing pile of books to read.
And I'm hoping the story will continue to be exciting!
Shusterman communicates many ideas and concepts to transform Everlost into a fascinating and believable world. Part of the beauty of the story is learning about these along with Nick and Allie. I really don't want to give any spoilers because this book should be experienced in its imaginative entirety. So instead I'll ask some questions that you may find the answers to by reading the book. Why do we believe ghosts to repeat the same pattern day after day? What happens when your soul travels to the centre of the earth? Why do adults never land in Everlost? Who or what is the McGill?
One of the things that I really liked about this book is that Shusterman doesn't portray Allie and Nick as grieving children who long for their family. He doesn't focus on the fact that they should be in emotional agony. Instead he focuses on their integration into the world of Everlost. Some people could read this as a weakness but I personally see it as a choice not to sentimentalise the book and I like that quality. The plot moves a steady pace as Allie and Nick move around Everlost facing many challenges and fears. The one point I would pick up on is Nick's relationship with Mary. The love that grows between them seemed cosmetic and without any depth. I understand the reasons for this but it still irritated me during my reading.
Reading Everlost was a journey into an unknown world which is populated by the most fascinating characters with ghostly abilities. Although this isn't quite my usual read, I did enjoy it. I am reminded of Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book as Everlost has the same extraordinary imaginative power to transport to you to a different ingenious world. I would definitely recommend this to fantasy fans 10+ or anyone who is looking for something just a little bit different.