Everlost by Neal Shusterman

Nick and Allie don’t survive the crash, and now they are in limbo, stuck halfway between life and death, in a netherworld known as Everlost. Everlost is home to those who didn’t make it to their final destination: A magical yet dangerous place filled with shadows where lost souls run wild.Shocked and frightened, Nick and Allie aren’t ready to rest in peace just yet. They want their lives back. Desperate for a way out, their search takes them deep into the uncharted regions of Everlost. But the longer they stay, the more they forget about their past lives. And with all memory of home fading fast and an unknown evil lurking in the shadows, Nick and Allie may never escape this strange, terrible world.In this imaginative, supernatural thriller, Neal Shusterman explores questions of life, death, and what just might lie in between.

everlostWhen I picked up Everlost to read I wasn’t too sure what I’d be getting. It was obviously a ghost story of sorts, but beyond that I was going in blind. One thing I didn’t realise until I started reading it was that it was a Young Adult novel. This isn’t a bad thing and I don’t have anything against the genre – in fact I’m the opposite, I just don’t have the time to read much of it – so it was with some anticipation that I plowed through. What found in Everlost was a good, fast-paced story that I enjoyed enough to remind me to look at more YA.

Allie and Nick are our two main characters, although once they cross over to the Everlost they meet Lief, a young boy who has been there for a long time. The initial character relationships between these three are fairly straight forward and expected due to the age of the three. Each have their own personality that works well with the story and this leads all of them to the places they find themselves. We also have some other characters that play a larger role in the story: Mary and the McGill. Mary is the leader of the children stuck in the Everlost of New York while the McGill is the bad guy of the story, but one that has more depth to him than I would have expected. Mary is a grey character, one that comes across sometimes as the sort of person you would love to be around, but at other times someone that is clearly not telling the whole truth. It’s down to the personalities of all these characters that give us the story of the children stuck int he Everlost.

Speaking of which, the Everlost is a surprisingly fresh look at a normal ghost story. While only children can cross over to the Everlost, only the items they carry come with them. Neal Shusterman has created an excellent reasoning behind the Everlost and the way in which it works. Only things that have been loved immensely can cross over, so although the ghosts of the Everlost can walk the Earth (with the added difficulty of slowly sinking as they do so) only these areas that have also crossed over can give them a solid ground to live on. Unsurprisingly, Mary’s main base in New York are the twin towers of the World Trade Centre. There are plenty of touches throughout the novel that make you realise how much depth and thought has gone into creating such a believable explanation of the Everlost – all done exceptionally well!

There are, of course, twists and turns throughout the story, although it is the pacing that is one of the better things. It may be my relative lack of recent YA reading, but Everlost always has something on the go – there are never any serious down time sections – which really helps to keep everything moving at a good speed and it keeps the interest in finding out what happens next. The pages are always crying out to be turned and the story just wants to be read.

All in all it was such a refreshing change to read something that is both deep and meaningful, yet lots of fun. Everlost is one of those books that I would recommend to anyone that is after a good, quick read regardless of the audience it is aimed at. It’s good at what it is: a YA book that gives the older readers a reason to pick it up!

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