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by Scott Westerfeld

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9925416,368 (3.55)9
In alternating chapters, eighteen-year-old Darcy Patel navigates the New York City publishing world and Lizzie, the heroine of Darcy's novel, slips into the "Afterworld" to survive a terrorist attack and becomes a spirit guide, as both face many challenges and both fall in love.
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» See also 9 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
I have never read a book with this format before. Half the chapters were about a young woman writing a book, and then the other half is that book. Either part could have been a decent story on its own but I don't think they would have been as memorable if they had been separate, and the book did a pretty good job combining them. I liked most of the characters ok, but I didn't really feel super connected to any of them, which was a bit disappointing. Also even though a fair amount of the story involves death or ghosts I didnt really find it scary. Other people might find it creepier than I did I dunno, but for me it was pretty mild. I enjoyed the book but I think a lot of that was because of the suspense and not knowing how either story would end, so this isn't something I would reread probably. ( )
  mutantpudding | Dec 26, 2021 |
One book with two stories: it's common to like one more than the other. Overall, Darcy's story was more interesting than Lizzie's. I liked seeing more of the publishing world and not so much the underworld.
Either way, none of the stories blew me away but I give the book 3 stars for the cool concept. ( )
  _Marcia_94_ | Sep 21, 2021 |
I had to drop this book about halfway through. At first, I really enjoyed the alternating stories, but the further I got, the harder it was to readjust when switching from the fictional world to the real world. Honestly, the only reason I made it as far as I did in this book is due to the story that Darcy was writing. That had an interesting plot and seemed to move along. The story revolving around Darcy was slow and boring. The 1 1/2 rating is for the potential that this book had, but failed to execute. ( )
  bookworm148 | Dec 18, 2019 |
DNF'd at 48%

This had a lot of potential to be a really unique and profound story. It's told in alternating chapters: one of Darcy, the writer finding her way through the world of Young Adult literature in New York City as a teenage debut author; the other is of Lizzie, the main character in Darcy's urban fantasy book, who is the sole survivor of a terrorist attack at an airport and subsequently becomes a psychopomp and falls in love with the Hindu death good Yamaraj.

Unfortunately, it was boring af. Here's a list of problems:

- Darcy expects the world to be handed to her on a silver platter. She makes a lot of mistakes but never faces any consequences.

- Lizzie is the sole survivor of an American terrorist attack in an airport but 1) never experiences any PTSD or symptoms of trauma, 2) overcomes her trauma because she insta-loves Yamaraj in the first chapter when he kisses her even though he told her to forget about him and never come back, and 3) she's a freaking Mary Sue.

- The terrorist attack could have been a really profound part of the story, being post 9/11 but instead it was just the method of her meet cute with Yama. It could have shown the complexities of terrorism, fear mongering, and islamaphobia in America today, but it was just an excuse for Yamaraj to kiss her into another dimension.

- Darcy's story, well generally less stupid, is just plain boring. I'm not super into contemporary unless someone's dead or about to be, so I was out of my element.

- Given how cliché and illogical the book in the book is, why the actual f was it acclaimed in universe as being astounding, having "the juice" and worth thousands of dollars? It's post-Twilight trash. It's generic and soulless. Even Darcy knows (is that supposed to be meta or bad writing?)

- Lizzie lies to everyone all the time. She lies to her mother about experiencing PTSD. She lies to her best friend about Yamaraj and says instead that she's dating the FBI agent who's in charge of her security (at least she tells him about it). She lies to Yamaraj about exploring the Stranger Things Upside Down—I mean the flip side.

- Can Scott Westerfeld stop having teenagers say "[adjective]-making"?? No one talks like that!!!

- Also, goosepimples or whatever. Just say goosebumps like normal people.

And here are some stuff I actually quite liked:

- Darcy is Indian, which is unforgivably uncommon in today's YA literature, given that a significant part of the world's population is Indian. She's also queer, even though I don't like that her girlfriend is a lot older than her (that just makes me uncomfortable)

- Idr her name for some reason, but the little ghost girl who follows Lizzie around (my brain wants to say Mindy, but I'm not totally sure) is actually a pretty great character and added much needed depth to the story. She's paranoid that the man who kidnapped and killed her, burying her in her own backyard, is still out there and will find her when he dies. Like that's some intense stuff!!

- I liked the psychopomp stuff. I'm writing a psychopomp novel so it was cool for me

- I appreciated the guide through the world of authors, but it felt unrealistic tbh

Lol half of these have negative comments in them.

I might retry at some point to see if any of these are resolved by the ending, but honestly I kinda don't care. ( )
  Faith_Murri | Dec 9, 2019 |
High school senior Darcy wins NaNoWriMo (it's not explicitly stated but she wrote a 50,000-word novel in November), then lands an extraordinarily generous two-book publishing deal. She moves to New York City and basically lives out all kinds of writerly dreams. It reads like wish fulfillment, to be honest. The chapters alternate between Darcy's adventures writing her novel and the novel itself, which is a more standard YA fantasy - girl almost dies, girl starts seeing ghosts, girl falls in love with death god, etc. Which would be fine, except so much of the Darcy side of things is spent on people telling Darcy how wonderful her novel is. So not only do you get yanked out of the story at the end of every single chapter, people keep insisting that it's great. Thing is, Westerfeld is a good writer. I did appreciate some of the discussion of the craft of storytelling, and perhaps it is a realistic peek into the world of mainstream YA publishing. And maybe if I was closer to Darcy's age I'd just eat it up and pretend it was all happening to me, the wannabe novelist. But as a middle aged reader, I think I'd rather have skipped that part in favor of the ghosts and death gods. ( )
  melydia | Jul 19, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Scott Westerfeldprimary authorall editionscalculated
Flath, ReginaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rosamilia, MikeDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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We tell ourselves stories

in order to live.

-- Joan Didion
Education is the path from cocky ignorance to miserable uncertainty.

-- Mark Twain
To all you wordsmiths, you scribblers, you wrimos in your vast numbers, for making writing a part of your reading
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The most important email that Darcy Patel ever wrote was three paragraphs long.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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In alternating chapters, eighteen-year-old Darcy Patel navigates the New York City publishing world and Lizzie, the heroine of Darcy's novel, slips into the "Afterworld" to survive a terrorist attack and becomes a spirit guide, as both face many challenges and both fall in love.

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Average: (3.55)
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