The Hereafter by Jessica Bucher

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This book is a hard one to rate. It pulls the heart strings and yet leaves a subtly bitter taste at the same time. Please note that this review may contain some spoilers.

On the plus side, this book really gets you thinking: if I was dead what would I do with my infinite days? Where would I go? Could I bear to look in on my loved ones? Could I stand to watch my death? I absolutely love books that make me question things like this. Our main characters, Nin and Dylan, are alone in “The Hereafter” together and at first they are content with their own routines and spaces. Eventually they meet and begin to recover memories from their lives and discover that their lives–and deaths–actually have something in common. I also loved the phoenix that Dylan carves for Nin and how she really lives up to that in the end. By saving him, it is Nin who sparks a near rebirth for both of them. And of course we have a happily ever after for everyone in the end.

On the down side of the story, the book deals with some tough topics and to me, I didn’t always like how they were dealt with. For example, Nin’s abusive relationship with her boyfriend who is involved in (what is hinted at as) drug and trafficking rings. There are some books out there that deal with topics like this (other tough topics in this book include parental depression, drug use, abuse, and suicide; poor self-image) that resolve in very solid and positive ways and I find myself recommending them to my teenage students or even sometimes my colleagues or peers. I found these aspects to be mostly necessary plot points, but not relatable.

Soundtrack: “Bird of the Summer” ~ A Fine Frenzy

Alex & Eliza : A Love Story *SNEAK PEEK*

This is my first sneak peek, my first blog review, and honestly, this book was one of the reasons that I really wanted to get into this “business.” I was so jealous of the people raving about the previews of this book…and it did not disappoint! Now, believe it or now, I ¬†have not seen the musical Hamilton, though I have listened to the soundtrack several times. I like it but I don’t squeal over it like some do. My interests in this book are purely curious and I really like the idea of key historical figures in a YA romance! So now, on to the review….

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I want to begin by saying that the title spells out an exact equation for the first 50 pages of the book Alex + Eliza and you know its going to = a love story. And a really good one at that. There are very modern and relatable characteristics about both story lines, even though they are set hundreds of years ago. I love that Eliza and her sisters each have their own personalities and opinions, yet seem to get along (so far). And then Alex’s humanity as he discusses his past working as a clerk on a ship having to inventory “supplies” (i.e. slaves). To me, this book does a good job of bringing a lot of intricate, historical details to life that I had never thought about, but now that I read them I think that they are so quirky and interesting, or so delicate and fascinating that I really have an appreciation for them! I hope that there is much more of this to come in the rest of the book!

Listening Soundtrack: “Italian violin concerto” @ 71% … Franz Joseph Hadyn’s String Quartet No. 53 in D Major

Thank you, Penguin Young Readers Group for sending me my first sneak peek! Looking forward to many more!!

Firsts.

What/who was your first….

  • Time on an airplane?: Flying to Atlanta, GA with my youth group from church. I wasn’t even with my parents! :\
  • Pet?: The family dog – a chow/german shepard mix named Ziggy.
  • Car?: A ’94 Dodge Shadow. I called her “Pinky.” (She was fuchsia and oh, was she a beaut!).
  • Book you remember reading?: “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” I remember the book specifically because I absolutely loved how beautiful the pictures were. The pages were outlined with yellow and I remember Goldilocks’ hair reminded me of my own blonde hair and the bears reminded me of my own teddy bears.

Its amazing isn’t it? How books can take us away places? They can take us away in the moment that we are reading them to wherever we are at the time that we are reading them. And they can also take us back in time to a memory to when we were little–cozied up in bed reading a picture book with mom or dad and the bed that is just right.

Honestly, that’s how this blog is coming to be. I’ve always been a reader. It has always been inside of me and ever since I was little, the spark has just grown and grown until now, I’m in my late 20’s and I read almost 150¬†books a year. I say that to people around me and they say “Oh, I wish I could read 5 books a year.” Well why not?? I tell you, it just takes a little time before bed; or a little time in the car; or a little time during your lunch break or just whenever! Its just like that phrase about the elephant, what is it now? You can’t eat an elephant all in one bite! Just read a book a few pages at a time. Just aim for one book at a time. Relax and don’t let it stress you out. Let it take you back and remind you of some memory. Or maybe even better, create a new one.

Listening to: “8TEEN” by Khalid