Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Ninja Listens to. . .The Everafter by Amy Huntley

At first, Maddy doesn't know where she is. She has no body, no real senses. She seems to be. . .nowhere. But then she realizes: she's dead. Around her, barely illuminated enough to see, float objects that she soon recognizes as things she lost when she was alive. A piece of homework, a baby rattle, a hairclip, an orchid, even a single piece of popcorn.

When Maddy touches these objects and imagines holding or using them, she is transported back to that moment in her life. She eventually finds that she can not only view these memories, but actually re-live and even change them. But changing a moment means that other parts of her life change, too. And that might not be a good thing, especially when Maddy doesn't even remember how she died.

* * * * *

I listened to the MP3 version of this novel, then later went back and re-read some of it in book format. The audio version is read by Tavia Gilbert, who is wonderful at portraying the helplessness Maddy feels as she simply exists and re-lives pieces of her life.

Author Amy Huntley uses an interesting technique in telling her story; As Maddy touches each lost object and relieves moments in her life, she does so in a random order. One chapter might be when she is 17 and the next when she is 5. There is even a chapter when she is a baby. As confusing as this sounds like it might be, it really isn't. Amy Huntley does this in a way that we not only learn more about Maddy, but we learn more and more about her friends and loved ones, including her mother and sister, her best friend Sandra, and her boyfriend Gabe. I actually found myself anticipating Maddy re-visiting certain periods in her life, so I would say the author uses this technique very well in order to build up the reader's anticipation and even a sense of foreshadowing.

I have read some reviews of this that say there is no real happy ending. Some people were even depressed by the ending. I didn't feel that way. I felt that the ending gives hope. Maddy was given a chance not only to re-visit her life but to learn about life in general, learn about herself, and better understand everyone she knew and loved.

If you want to read something that is different, very emotional, and a little bit supernatural, give this one a try and you may be surprised.

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