The whole town of Halvertson, North Carolina is in mourning. Local hero and the towns’ favourite football star Jimmy Hawkins is missing. No one has seen him in days. Well almost no one. Keira Nolan has but she knows no one will believe her that she has been visited by Jimmy Hawkins – in ghost form.
Or worse – they will believe her and think she has something to do with his murder.
As far as YA fiction goes This Is Your Afterlife deals with some pretty dark subject matters. Murder, obsession, psychotic episodes but it does so in a way that is not too intense. There are some genuinely warm and comedic moments in this book that make it quite an enjoyable read. If I had to liken it to anything I would say that this is like the film Ghost meets TV’s Ghost Whisperer but for a younger audience.
The clever and playful banter between Keira and Jimmy was entertaining; you didn’t get the impression that Jimmy was dead. They bickered like brother and sister and their constant jocular discourse helped the flow of the novel.
The relationship that Keira and Jimmy’s brother Dan had was also quite sweet. They had to learn to trust each other again and through uncomfortable circumstances. Barneveld managed to keep this believable considering that the overall theme of death could have potentially overshadowed any bourgeoning relationship; she was very sensitive to theme of loss and played down the relationship extremely well.
This Is Your Afterlife deal with emotions that we all feel after losing someone close to us; that intense desire to have one more moment with them. It is a comfort to see someone writing about the possibility of that in a believable way. Well done Vanessa Barneveld.
You can follow Vanessa Barneveld (@Vanessab73) on Twitter.
This Is Your Afterlife by Vanessa Barneveld is available now.