Review: After Ever by Jillian Eaton

After Ever
Jillian Eaton
Series: None that I am aware of
Release Date: June 12th, 2012
Publisher: Bay Horse
Number of Pages: Unknown
Source: Jillian Eaton
Rating: 4 of 5 stars

For sixteen-year-old Winnie Coleman, dying is the least of her worries. Between coming to terms with her mother’s unexpected death, trying to think up new and inventive ways to break up her father and Girlfriend #3, and keeping her brother from chewing off his fingers, she has her hands full. Courtesy of a thin patch of ice and failed swimming lessons, all of that changes in the blink of an eye. 

In death Winnie will find the answers that eluded her in life, and a whole slew of other questions she never thought to ask. Like why is she stuck with Sam for a guide? Sure, he’s funny and cute in a geeky sort of way, but he wears sweater vests… and loafers. For a girl who has tattoos on her face and glue in her hair, it’s not exactly the best match up.

But when Sam is taken and his very existence threatened, Winnie must make the ultimate choice between cowardice and courage. Faithlessness and loyalty. Family... and love.

Suspenseful and action packed, After Ever is a must read for anyone who ever wondered: what happens next?

I'm not sure as to what I should be writing in this review, because I have conflicted feelings when it comes to After Ever, but I suppose I'll start with the things I really liked when reading After Ever, the things I thought were okay when reading After Ever, and then the not so good.

The (Really) Good

Honestly, I think the good outweighs the bad and the okay, if ever so slightly. The plot is somewhat original, the banter between the characters is witty and entertaining, and the After is an incredibly interesting world. Eaton provided us with a wonderful villain in After Ever, who is very creepy, and each and every one of the action scenes in After Ever were extremely well done. I'm at a loss trying to put my feelings of the world Eaton created in After Ever, but some of the things she incorporated were very original, making up for the somewhat original plot (girl dies, tries for redemption, etc). The concept of the doors that you conjure out of nowhere that can transport you to where ever you desire was cool, as was the concept of levels in the After. I think that's it for The Good in After Ever, and while it may seem like a little, trust me, the things I've mentioned above take up a very large part in this book, and the things that are good in After Ever are really good.

The Okay

While the world in After Ever is interesting, the world building isn't the best. If I'm not given plausible world building, obviously I'll have a hard time believing in the world you've built, and that's exactly the situation in After Ever. Eaton's provided us with an interesting afterlife where the dead can still eat, sleep, and do anything humans can do. They're able to jump around the After, and the real world, using aforementioned Jump Doors. However, they can only visit the past or present when using Jump Doors, and they're not allowed to interfere with the lives of the living. Sounds interesting, yes? It is interesting. In fact, the world Eaton created is highly interesting and creative, however, we're never given an explanation as to how or why everything in the After is what it is. It's just... there. If you find yourself engrossed in the story and the world like I was, though, this may not be a problem for you. It wasn't a huge problem for me, hence the reasoning why it's on The Okay, but it's something to mention.

As well as the lack of plausible world building in After Ever, I never cared about any of the secondary characters, and I actually believe we're barely given any time to care for them. The lack of character development for everyone other than Sam and Winnie (barely) is quite overwhelming, and while they're really the only characters in the book who take a large role, the lack of character development is, too, something to mention.

The Not So Good

Okay, so I believe that After Ever's greatest downfall is its main character, Winnie. This flaw relates to the flaw previous to this one, which is the lack of character development. Like I mentioned, there really isn't any character development for any characters other than Winnie and Sam, and I still don't think that their characters were fleshed out well enough, and in the end, when I thought about it, I just didn't care about any of the characters, sadly. I love Winnie's wittiness, and she was a clever character, but honestly, I think that's it. I may be going a bit too hard on Winnie, but, while her character was at times strong, she was, mostly, whiny and annoying. The last flaw I have for The Bad in After Ever was the ending, but I really think that's because I had, to be blunt, a better expectation of what the ending would be in my head, and the ending provided to us in After Ever was thoroughly unsatisfying. (view spoiler)[I was really, really hoping that Winnie would go back to the present to see how her father, Trish, and Brian were coping without her, and I was hoping to see Trish actually grow as a character and display genuine sorrow concerning the death of Winnie. Sadly, none of that really happens, and what we're left with is, in the last 5% or so, Winnie visits her funeral, and her father is somehow able to see her. The thing she says to him? "Hi, Dad. I'm dead." Really? Of all things, that's what you say? (hide spoiler)]

Looking back on my review, I made this a lot more critical than I intended it to be, but, in the end, I thought After Ever was an extremely clever and emotional book, and did end up really liking it, and I would definitely recommend it, despite its flaws, and I definitely believe Eaton is an author to look out for in the future.

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