"Hereafter" is a paranormal YA love story by new author Tara Hudson that is scheduled for release June 7, 2011.
sidenote: I am shocked to hear Tara Hudson is a "new author" because the quality of her writing rivals that of much more seasoned authors.
The book begins with Amelia. Amelia is dead. And a ghost. She remembers very little of her past, other than her first name and age at time of death, but has no other memories of her life, family and how she died. Except that she drowned in the river under High Bridge Road. Her regular "nightmares" make sure she never forgets that part, after which she would always wake up in the graveyard. She spends her days wandering aimlessly, alone, without a purpose and without knowing why she is there.
Until one day during one of her "nightmares" she realizes she isn't alone in the water. This time a boy is drowning with her. She struggles to save him but is unable to touch or affect any part of him. When his dying heart skips a beat, he sees her. He can hear her yelling at him to swim and obeys. He's able to get himself to the surface and then to shore as Amelia swims with him. As paramedics attended to him, he continues to stare at Amelia, even telling her his name. "Joshua". Amelia may not have been aware of much before this encounter, but she does know living people shouldn't be able to see or hear her. But somehow this boy can.
Suddenly Joshua is all Amelia can think about, and after Joshua's near death experience, the feeling is mutual. But Joshua is alive and Amelia is dead. What kind of future could they have? Can a ghost and a living person even date?
But they're not the only ones in the story. Suddenly a mysterious ghost named Eli appears. He's been watching Amelia for a long time, but chooses the moment after Joshua survives to reveal himself to her. Why now? And what does he want from Amelia?
As Amelia gets to know both Joshua and Eli better, she begins to remember some of the details of her death. Why are they so important? And what does this have to do with High Bridge Road, the place Amelia died? Where Joshua almost died? They're not the only ones who've had brushes with death on that road.
Did I mention Joshua's grandmother Ruth is a Seer? She also can see and hear Amelia, but unlike her grandson, Ruth believes any spirit trapped between realms is evil. She not only plans to keep Amelia from dating her son, she plans to exorcise Amelia from this world.
As Amelia becomes more aware of her story and her ghost status, her future becomes more clear. Can she solve the mystery of High Bridge Road and save others from her fate while ending up with the boy she loves?
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and immediately fell in love with Amelia. Her journey was so detailed, I found myself lost in the world with Amelia as an observer to her story. I don't know if the author has plans for a sequel, but I hope she does because I'd love to visit these characters again.
If you like paranormal YA romance like I do, pre-order this gem. I hope you will love it as much as I did.