Elsewhere – Gabrielle Zevin

“’The end came quickly, and there wasn’t any pain’ Sometimes, the father whispers it to the mother. Sometimes the mother to the father. From the top of the stairs, Lucy hears it all and says nothing.
For Lizzie’s sake, Lucy wants to believe that the end was quick and painless; a quick end is a good end. But she cant help wondering, How do they know?”
Fifteen year old Lizzie is hit by a car. That’s the last thing she can remember before waking up on a boat, traveling to Elsewhere. What Lizzie doesn’t realise at first is that shes dead, and Elsewhere isn’t like earth. All the inhabitants get younger, rather than older and you meet people you never thought you would meet before. Lizzie is greated from the boat by her maternal Grandmother, who died before she was born. But this Elsewhere isn’t like home and Lizzie finds death hard to adjust too.

***
I had been recommended this book so many times before and I just kinda kept forgetting about it. I knew it was meant to be good and it sounded ok but something just didn’t make it jump out to me. That was until now… now I don’t think I will ever forget about this book again. Its beautiful, fantastical and very, very, thought provoking.
I didn’t think Id think about death as much as I did whilst reading Elsewhere. I found the concept fascinating and I could help but carry on reading to find out what happened to Lizzie. Although it was written in third person I felt a real connection to Lizzie and her situation. I kept thinking how I would deal with it if it had happened to me and there are certain things I think I would have done the same as Lizzie but many I would not.
I loved the idea that in Elsewhere time goes backwards so you get younger. That is something that had me mystified for hours. Also that you can teach yourself how to speak canine… though it annoyed me slightly that no other animal languages were mentioned (obviously I would like to know if you could learn Dinosaur hehe) maybe the author just really likes dogs… It through me off slightly with the first chapter too but I thought it was very unique and I liked that little twist on things.
The characters you meet in Elsewhere are really, really amazing. I think they really made the book. The concept was great but it needed the right characters to pull it off. I think Lizzie was a brilliant character, she was so brilliant in fact that she had some serious flaws and Zevin did well to create a very relatable main character. Lizzie (sorry, I know shes called Liz and Elizabeth as well as Lizzie but I have to call her by that as that is what she was to me!) struggled with her new surrounding and her death  just didn’t compute for ages. I can understand exactly what Lizzie went through and I found her story fascinating.
The other characters were brilliant. I loved how Betty tried to work everything out through the use of a book, because she didn’t know any other way. Also how Lizzies counsellor, Aldous, blamed allergies to emotional situations when he cried was hilarious. I loved how Lizzie met Curtis and how she handled it so much better than I would have! Then Thandi, Owen, Jen and Susie; all bloody awesome, and considering two of them are dogs, that’s quite an achievement!
Although I loved Elsewhere I will have to admit that the writing was a little off for me. It didn’t flow in places as well as I would have liked it and I fear that it was a little too simplistic in places… like it was intended for a younger audience almost. However, if the plot and characters weren’t as amazing as they were thing would have been more of an issue. As it was the story took the focus away from the writing for me and I still loved it!
Elsewhere is a coming to terms story with a difference. It is all about redeption and hope and making you think more about the stuff you don’t think about a lot, without pondering too much on it. Its definitely one that sticks with you and I loved it. If you haven’t read it yet, please do because it is brilliant.
Elsewhere was published in 2005 by Bloomsbury. My copy was sent as a gift for me from the wonderful Cait from The Cait Files, Thanks!!!
  • It sounds brilliant! What an intriguing concept…thank you for your review. It definitely got me thinking! (And looking forward to reading this one!)

  • Mia

    I’ve read Elsewhere too! I completely loved it especially the concept of it. I particullary enjoyed the romance. It is really cute… Great review!

  • I read another book by this author and didn’t really enjoy it, which is why I’ve never picked this one up. I think I’ll have to now though, I’ve heard nothing but great things about it! Thanks for the review, I must read this one soon. Glad you enjoyed it!

  • I liked this, but preferred Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac.

  • I hadn’t heard of this before, but I have a strange liking for books about death… That sounded more sane in my head.

    Anyway, it’s gone straight onto the wishlist. Thanks for pointing it out 🙂

  • I’m really glad you liked this, I thought it would be right up your street!

    The Cait Files