Review: Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Posted September 17, 2014 by lockhartbecca in Uncategorized / 4 Comments


Author: Scott Westerfeld
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: YA Contemporary/Paranormal
Format: ARC
Release Date: September 23, 2014
Source: Received ARC from Publisher at BEA
Rating: 3 Stars
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***I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way changed my opinion of the book. The review below is my open and honest opinion.***
from Goodreads:
Darcy Patel has put
college and everything else on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds.
Arriving in New York with no apartment or friends she wonders whether she’s
made the right decision until she falls in with a crowd of other seasoned and
fledgling writers who take her under their wings… 

Told in alternating chapters is Darcy’s novel, a suspenseful thriller about
Lizzie, a teen who slips into the ‘Afterworld’ to survive a terrorist attack.
But the Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead and as Lizzie
drifts between our world and that of the Afterworld, she discovers that many
unsolved – and terrifying – stories need to be reconciled. And when a new
threat resurfaces, Lizzie learns her special gifts may not be enough to protect
those she loves and cares about most.

As an aspiring author I
was dying to read this book. Reading about a young girl’s publishing experience
just sounded so interesting and fun. And that part of the book was a lot of fun
for me. But I wish that was all we had. Because we don’t just get that part of
the story. The chapters alternate between Darcy’s (the young author) publishing
journey and her novel that she wrote. And the parts where we were reading her
book were, to me, not really necessary. And I didn’t enjoy the story that much.
I thought that the romance moved too fast, the world-building was lacking and I
never felt a connection to any of her characters. I would have much rather
stayed focused on Darcy and her writing.
Because those parts
were very good. But because we were flipping back and forth, I was left feeling
a bit rushed and disconnected. There was a lot of telling versus showing and it
just left me feeling frustrated.
All that being said, I did
still enjoy the book. I mean, I don’t think I would’ve made it all 600 pages if
I hadn’t been at least somewhat enjoying it. I enjoyed watching Darcy grow as a
writer. She was very authentic with her insecurities and her lack of maturity. She
was young and living in a grown up world. So I liked that she made mistakes and
I liked that she questioned herself. I did think that her romantic relationship
moved a little fast. Technically it didn’t, because we would get things like “3
weeks passed” or “5 months passed”, but again, it was telling and not showing
so I never really believed in it.
I also really enjoyed
the secondary characters. Darcy’s sister especially. She was so mature for her
age and the girl just had me cracking up. Darcy’s friends from back home were
also great along with all the other authors that Darcy met along the way. But I’m
not sure I ever really connected to any of them. I liked them, but I didn’t
particularly care about them, you know what I mean?

But my favorite thing
about this book was how much it motivated me to write. All I wanted to do was
grab my laptop and start working on my WIP. Hearing about Darcy doing rewrites
and copyedits, working out new endings, strengthening her characters. It was
writer heaven and I can’t wait to open up my WIP and start pounding out some
awesome revisions. Now hopefully that motivation will stay with me and I’ll
actually get some work done! Off to write! Happy reading all! 
Have you read this one yet? What did you think? Did you enjoy Darcy’s novel? Or did you think that it was unnecessary? What did you think of Darcy’s writing/publishing experience? 

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4 responses to “Review: Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

  1. I felt a lot of the same things you did about this book, although you liked it more than I did. Yeah, the paranormal book was just not good, but part of me was wondering if it was supposed to be. It had all of the elements that people don't like…insta-love, lack of character development, lack of world-building. And I loved the author's Uglies series so it just made me wonder if the book was bad on purpose. Oh well! At least it inspired you to write!

    By the way, have you checked out Swoon Reads? I just joined the site and I'm not sure how it works for authors (since I was just looking at it as a reader), but maybe it would be a good thing? Anyway, just thought I'd ask. ~Pam

    • Yeah, I know. I kept trying to decide if he was trying to make it seem like a first draft of a book or not? I thought it was pretty unrealistic too that she didn't do any revisions after writing the book for Nanowrimo and she just got this badass publishing contract. Idk. I mean, I've revised my WIP three times now and I haven't even sent a single query letter. And I think, from talking to other writers, that that's more the norm. And I also loved his Uglies series so I feel like his writing is better than that. Idk.

      No, I haven't, but I'll look into it!

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