Hereafter by Tara Hudson
Can there truly be love after death?Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she’s dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she’s trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.
Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.
Until now, I wasn’t aware ghostly romances were a thing, but while searching for something to fulfill a readathon prompt, I discovered this particular novel. I had no idea what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised.
Amelia is a ghost, who doesn’t remember anything about herself. She knows her first name, but not her last. She knows her age at the time of her death, but not her birthday. She doesn’t know when she died, who she was before or how she ended up in the river on the night she died. She believes her afterlife has no purpose, that’s until she saves Joshua, a stunning and handsome boy from drowning in the river after his car accidentally drives over the bridge.
After saving Joshua, he and Amelia discover they have a connection. It leads to friendship, which then becomes more. Curious about Amelia, Joshua helps her to discover who she was, and the two begin investigating her past. They soon find out that things are not as they once seemed. Naturally, Joshua and Amelia run into a few obstacles both regarding their search, and their relationship. Oh, and there is also a creepy ghost named Eli involved who pops up at unexpected and inconvenient times.
The reader finds out answers to all of Amelia’s questions at the same time she does, which means there is a little mystery involved. As the story plays out, more and more is revealed about Amelia, Joshua, and Eli. I enjoyed the search for Amelia’s backstory, I liked seeing the small snippets as they were gradually discovered, and I liked the way everything seemed to weave together.
Joshua is a bit meh of a character, but you really only see him through Amelia’s eyes, so smitten and lovestruck teenager is really the only glimpse you get. Amelia has a bit more depth to her, she is decently smart and funny, and some of the things she says and does made me smile. Eli is suitably creepy, and I enjoyed finding out where he fits into the rest of the plot.
Overall, Hereafter was a pleasant surprise. It has a fairly slow start, but it doesn’t take long to pick up. The ending was a little unexpected and the epilogue was sweet.
Have you read Hereafter? Ghostly romances? Let me know!