Afterlight by Rebecca Lim

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Since her parents died in a freak motorbike accident, Sophie Teague’s life has fallen apart.

But she’s just enrolled at a new high school, hoping for a fresh start.

That’s until Eve, a beautiful ghost in black, starts making terrifying nightly appearances, wanting Sophie to be her hands, eyes and go-to girl.

There are loose ends that Eve needs Sophie to tie up. But dealing with the dead might just involve the greatest sacrifice of all.

Dark, thrilling and unrelentingly eerie, Afterlight will take you deep into the heart of a dangerous love story, revealing the otherworldly—and deadly—pull of past wrongs that only the living can put right.

I am like 85% sure Rebecca Lim is not of this world. I don't know how she does it, but she's written a novel about a girl who follows the directives of a ghost and it's somehow believable. Authentic. Ghosts exist. There's these gate-keepers stopping them from getting at us. All of this makes perfect sense. She's got powers, is what I'm saying. I am fully convinced this all could've actually happened. I think this is due to a combination of two things: Sophie's hilarious, unpretentious narration (which reads like a friend telling you what they got up to at the weekend) and the astounding amount of geographical detail (I'd call it world-building but it's Melbourne which I'm fairly sure is not Rebecca Lim's creation - but who really knows, maybe I'm in a Rebecca Lim novel? Disappointing lack of babes/supernatural creatures makes me think this is unlikely).

I stayed up very late reading this novel and it is a very creepy novel and when I went to get a glass of water in the dark, scary night while reading the dark, scary book I was DEEPLY CONCERNED that there would be a ghost in the kitchen and/or outside the kitchen window (for some reason, outside the kitchen window is scarier, I don't know why). Fortunately there was not. But. This book: really, really spooky. (After I finished reading, I had weird, disorienting dreams. Possibly due to this book. Possibly due to the fact I usually have weird, disorienting dreams.)

I cannot believe Jordan Haig is not mentioned in the blurb because he's terrific, he's the most terrific character in the book, I can't believe it. Best love interest in a YA novel I've read in recent memory. It's a definite read-in-one-sitting book (both because it is really short and also because it is really compelling). There are some characters that I expected more development of or some resolution to their story, which makes me hope there's a sequel (for instance, Daughtry seemed underutilized - surely he could've helped out a little more?). I thought, at the very least, Claudia P (the very awful bully) would get some sort of ghostly comeuppance (or would that have been cliché? Possibly). Afterlight doesn't have the same degree of in-depth expansive development as Lim's Mercy series, but it does have the same fast-paced, punchy thrills of The Astrologer's Daughter. I'm just very excited to read whatever Lim writes next, sequel or standalone.

Read it if you like: Underbelly and/or Goosebumps; spooky stories; quick, compelling reads; paranormal romance/urban fantasy/thrillers or any combination thereof. Just read it. I reckon you'll enjoy it.

Afterlight on the publisher's website.
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