Elsewhere
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Elsewhere

3.91 (43,434 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Is it possible to grow up while getting younger?

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?

This moving, often funny book about grief, death, and loss will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned.

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin is a 2006 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 137.16 x 200.66 x 22.86mm | 272.15g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0312367465
  • 9780312367466
  • 23,657

Review quote

"A work of powerful beauty. This inventive novel slices right to the bone of human yearning, offering up an indelible vision of life and death as equally rich sides of the same coin." --Booklist, Starred Review

"With an intriguing and well-developed premise, thoughtful characterization, and refreshing style, Zevin's poignant novel rewards readers with a view of death that celebrates the rich complexities of being alive." --The Horn Book, Starred Review

"Intriguing. Surely guides readers through the bumpy landscape of strongly delineated characters dealing with the most difficult issue that faces all of us. Provides much to think about and discuss." --School Library Journal, Starred Review

"Zevin's touch is marvelously light even as she considers profundities, easily moving among humor, wisdom and lyricism. . . . No plot synopsis can convey what a rich, wise spell this book casts." --The New York Times Book Review

"Elsewhere is a funny, fast-paced, and fascinating novel. The concept is completely out there and yet the emotions are so weirdly realistic. I loved reading the story of Liz's life (death?)." --Carolyn Mackler, author of The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things and Vegan Virgin Valentine

"An unusual premise and a thoughtful treatment make Zevin's first effort at writing for young adults a success. Will captivate teens ready for a thought-provoking read. Hopeful and engaging." --Kirkus Reviews

"Funny and pensive, happy and heartbreaking. Readers from a broad range of beliefs will find this a quirky and touching exploration of the Great Beyond." --The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Fascinating. Zevin, in her first novel for young people, bends the laws of physics and biology to create an intricately imagined world." --Publishers Weekly

"A fun and thought-provoking page-turner. Readers . . . will relish Zevin's lively imagination and her fast-moving plot. Buy this book for them." --VOYA

"Great humor and speculation, on pets as well as people." --Chicago Tribune

"Zevin presents an intriguing concept of the afterlife in her first novel for young adults." --Cleveland Plain Dealer (paperback edition review)

"A charming story about growing up, Elsewhere encourages the reader to look toward the future and to expect the unexpected." --Armchair Interviews (paperback edition)
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About Gabrielle Zevin

Gabrielle Zevin is the author of award-winning books for young adults including Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac, and books for adults including The Hole We're In and Margarettown. She was also the screenwriter for Conversations with Other Women, which received an Independent Spirit Award nomination. Of her writing, The New York Times Book Review said, "Zevin's touch is marvelously light even as she considers profundities." A dog lover and Harvard graduate, she lives in New York City.
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Rating details

43,434 ratings
3.91 out of 5 stars
5 35% (15,028)
4 34% (14,641)
3 23% (9,787)
2 7% (3,030)
1 2% (948)

Our customer reviews

It's been a really long time since I've read a YA book with such a refreshing premise-no vampires, complicated love triangles, or anything remotely Hunger Games-esque here! Now, Elsewhere was published way before the current of "trendy" YA fiction began to flow, which stresses its originality, and its purpose on bookshelves today. I love the take on reincarnation that's detailed-it's fascinating, imaginative, and immersed me completely from page one! Zevin is also highly accomplished at creating relatable, completely memorable characters. The limited third-person point of view makes Liz rather distant, but she's still easy to appreciate. She's as neurotic and elaborate as any adolescent is: impressively mature at times, but frustratingly childish at others. I feel she's a bit na�??????�?????�????�???�??�?�¯ve for a nearly-sixteen-year-old; don't get me wrong: her characterization is amazing, but her superficial portrayal is a little contradicting at times. As a teenage girl, though, she is perfectly accurate. Zevin couldn't have depicted the conflicting feelings and angsts of the modern teenager any better. Elsewhere is a feel-good novel that keeps you tense and uneasy while reading, but leaves you both breathless and sighing in relief by the turn of the last page. It offers brilliant perspective on experiencing things to the fullest and never underestimating those around you who love you. Through Liz's journey in Elsewhere, spending her life in reverse, I learned that life isn't measured in hours and minutes; it's the quality that matters, not the length. And we, as people, grow with those experiences, not with age. Young adults will devour this book, and better yet, parents will approve of it because of its tasteful, positive portrayal of life's decisions and values. Zevin's style is evocative, dreamy, and almost transcendent-I'm definitely eager to try some of her other books now. With a dash of charming romance, wry humor, and life-loving sentiments, Elsewhere engages readers into an afterlife where people falsely are under the impression that they know what will be JUST because they know the amount of time they have left to "live." But like I mentioned, it's experiences that matter, not time; this secret, Liz and readers discover, in the most delightful and adventurous of ways. In the town of Elsewhere, Liz has the chance to live again, to live as she never got to on Earth. To fall in love. To get a job. To know the part of her family she has never known. And she's going to have to make the most of it because even though it may not be clear all the time, good things happen everyday, even when bad things happen first. Pros: Well-explored characters // Perfect ending // I was cheering at every one of Zevin's plot choices // Lyrical // Stylistically flawless // Plot is incredibly smart, entertaining, and touching // Very easy // Flows smoothly // Unpredictable // Not a high thriller, but its twists and turns are equally unnerving // Romance is perfectly placed // Deep in message of youth, forgiveness, and the meaning of life // Creative premise // Fresh ideas // Sweet, memorable analogies // Owen �?????�????�???�??�?�¢�????�???�??�?�¢?�????�???�??�?�¢�?????�????�???�??�?�¥_�?????�????�???�??�?�¢�????�???�??�?�¢?�????�???�??�?�¢�?????�????�???�??�?�¥ // Curtis �?????�????�???�??�?�¢�????�???�??�?�¢?�????�???�??�?�¢�?????�????�???�??�?�¥_�?????�????�???�??�?�¢�????�???�??�?�¢?�????�???�??�?�¢�?????�????�???�??�?�¥ Cons: Not particularly suspenseful... I was glued to the pages, but not exactly dying to know what happened next // Liz is frustrating at times, but I guess it's all part of her character! Love: "The summer air is thick with perfume from Betty's flowers. The scent, Liz thinks, is sweet and melancholy. A bit like dying, a bit like falling in love." Verdict: Elsewhere is a complex, probing novel wrapped up in a minimalistic, lyrical package of prose. In the vein of The Five People You Meet in Heaven, this book is haunting, affecting, and deeply resonant, and is sure to be a hit among middle-grade and teenage readers (ages 11-16), but even better, among adults as well; the universality makes it all the more impressive. Hilarious in some parts and alarming in others, Gabrielle Zevin's surprisingly and pleasantly touching otherworldly story will make you fall in love-with your friends and family, with your life, and with yourself-and satisfy you completely. 9 out of 10 hearts (5 stars): Loved it! This book has a spot on my favorites shelf. Source: Purchased.show more
by Karielle
Stories about the Afterlife have always appealed to me. There are thousands upon thousands of interpretations out there about what, exactly, happens to a person after they die. ELSEWHERE is a new spin on an old topic, but it manages to bring emotion, realism, and entertainment to something that is, in most circumstances, a very depressing situation. To me, ELSEWHERE is a combination of Mitch Albom's THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN and Alice Sebold's THE LOVELY BONES, two other wonderful books dealing with death and the Afterlife. ELSEWHERE goes beyond those two books, however, taking readers on a journey into a land so much like Earth, and yet so very, very different. Fifteen-year old Elizabeth "Liz" "Lizzie" Marie Hall has found herself in ELSEWHERE after dying in a bicycle-meets-taxi accident. After taking a long ride on the SS Nile, Liz has finally realized that she's not in a dream after all, but really, truly dead. When she arrives on Elsewhere, she meets her maternal grandmother, Betty, for the very first time. A woman who died at fifty from breast cancer, Betty is now a woman in her thirties--one of the first surprises Liz is in for is the fact that, on Elsewhere, lives are lived backward from the age of a person's death. Needless to say, this thought depresses Liz. She'll never be sixteen, never have a Massachusetts driver's license, never go to the prom or graduate from high school or go to college or get married. The only thing she has to look forward to is growing younger, until she returns to being an infant and is sent back to Earth to be born again. Liz spends her first month on Elsewhere spending all of her time--and her grandmother's eternims, the currency used there--to watch her family, friends, and classmates back on Earth. She's soon a regular at the OD's, or Observation Decks, watching life on Earth pass her by. She's upset that her best friend, Zooey, didn't attend her funeral. Her parents are inconsolable, her younger brother, Alvy, tells jokes to get through the day, and her dog, Lucy, refuses to accept that Liz isn't coming back. It takes awhile, but Liz finally realizes that spending hours upon hours at the OD's is not helping her adjust to life on Elsewhere. She finds a new friend in Owen, one of the detectives in charge of keeping the inhabitants of Elsewhere away from the Well, where contact with people on Earth is possible, but illegal. She once again befriends Thandi, a young girl killed on Earth by a stray bullet, who was her bunkmate on the SS Nile. She gets closer to grandmother Betty, finally takes a job in the Division of Domestic Animals helping recently departed pets find new owners, and seems to be finding a place on Elsewhere. I really loved this story. One of the most delightful things in ELSEWHERE is the animals, especially the dogs. Liz, a natural at the language of Canine, is able to interpret for her four-legged friends, and finally understand everything they have to say. I can't truly imagine aging backwards, but Gabrielle Zevin has managed to make a truly believable story that is realistic, entertaining, and emotional, all at the same time. This is definitely a recommended read, and in all honesty, I would love to visit the land of Elsewhere again in the future. *Gold Star Award Winner!show more
by TeensReadToo
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