Media Review: “Afterworlds”

Cassie Sullivan and Cassie Sullivan

Scott Westerfeld, a young-adult author known for his novels like “Leviathan” and the “Uglies” Trilogy is back with a new novel about a novelist writing her

first novel.

“Afterworlds” follows two main characters: Darcy, the 18-year-old novelist who wrote her first novel in a month based on her mother’s childhood best friend’s death; and Lizzie, Darcy’s main character in her novel, who is the sole survivor of a terrorist attack in an airport.

In Darcy’s point of view, she signs a contract with a publisher to print “Afterworlds” and write a sequel to the novel, along with doing the rewrites and edits on her first novel. Darcy moves from her parents’ house in Philadelphia to New York City, where she meets other authors [both experienced and new, like herself] and adapts to the life of being a writer.

While Darcy is working on her novel and eating her way through New York, Lizzie is coping with something completely different.

During the attack, Lizzie was told by the 911 operator she called to pretend to be dead to avoid being killed, which she did. But when she pretended to be dead, she slipped into the Afterworld, where she was given the power to see ghosts and travel to and from the Afterworld.

After that experience, Lizzie finds her mom’s childhood best friend in her home, and finds out the girl had been murdered during their childhood. Lizzie takes it on herself to find the man who did it and provide closure for

the girl.

Based on the month-long National Novel Writing Month challenge, Westerfeld was able to take what could have been two completely different novels and combine both into one, feeding off characters for both novels. While the reader is reading about Darcy’s time in NYC, the back of their mind is constantly wondering what is happening in Lizzie’s world, and vice versa as the chapters change back and forth.

It’s one thing reading a book separated into chapters based on the points of views of the characters, but it’s something completely different when the novel is about the author and their work as well as the love and sometimes frustration the author goes through while

working on a novel.

Westerfeld did a great job getting the reader involved with both characters and understanding how the life experiences of the author were able to influence her character, while the experiences of the character were able to influence the author in ways that she hadn’t imagined before.