top of page
  • _

Afterworlds Review

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Reviewed by Taylor Beach, Editor-in-Chief.


“Maybe the trick was not to panic. In life, as in the bewildering business of writing stories and flinging them out into the world, you had to focus on the page in front of you.” –Darcy Patel, Scott Westerfeld, Afterworlds


If you think about it, a lot of research and reflection is put into the act of purchasing a novel. As readers, we have to be selective with the amount of money we’re willing to spend on a book, fully aware of supply and bookish demand and how high prices are now for a paperback novel because of our uncontrollable desire to read. That being so, there are many factors of book-buying that come into play when a reader places one foot past the threshold of a bookstore. Factors of purchasing a novel include a reader’s personality, the mood they happen to be in on that particular day, the talents and hobbies they enjoy, and last but not least the hopes, aspirations, and dreams they hold near and dear to their hearts. I spent $11.99 on Scott Westerfeld’s YA novel Afterworlds because I knew upon reading the synopsis that the contents of his book was the perfect match for me.


As you walk the rows and rows of bookcases in your favorite genre section of the bookstore, you become a super speed reader, reading every title until a cover finally catches your eye, stopping you dead in your tracks. Immediately, readers turn the book to the back cover and read its synopsis. The synopsis of a novel is crucial to a book-buyer’s final decision. The first sentence of a book’s synopsis, in my opinion, is more important than a book’s first sentence because a potential book-buyer typically reads the synopsis of a book without ever reading the author’s first sentence in the first chapter until they get home. Therefore it is imperative to hook a reader right off the bat no ifs, ands, or buts, about it.


As an aspiring writer and a die-hard reader devoted to spending hours and hours of reading my life away, Scott Westerfeld irrevocably hooked me with the first sentence in the synopsis of his novel Afterworlds: “Darcy Patel has put college on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds.” I consumed the rest of the synopsis as it went on to give me insight into how Darcy gets wrapped up in the publishing world as one of the youngest debut novelists—a dream I hope to live someday.


My whole life, short as it may be, has been spent working towards my goal of becoming a New York Times bestselling author. Being twenty-one-years-old and the editor-in-chief of Moorefield House Publishing, I’m still learning the ropes of the publishing world. A year ago I read the synopsis of Afterworlds and it intrigued me, hence the $11.99 purchase. I had to have this novel because it went hand in hand with my hopes, aspirations, and dreams. I learned what publishing a book would be like; the process an author goes through. Darcy Patel signs a hundred thousand dollar book contract for her novel Afterworlds. She arrives in New York with no apartment, no friends, and all the wrong clothes with not a clue of what she should do. Then Darcy meets other fledgling YA writers and they show her how to navigate the publishing world and how to thrive in it.


This novel offers a dynamic plot with alternating chapters unlike anything ever attempted in Young Adult literature. The odd-numbered chapters are revelations of Darcy Patel’s life and her encounters in the publishing world. The even-numbered chapters are chapters in Darcy’s YA novel Afterworlds with her main character Lizzie. Scott Westerfeld wrote a YA novel inside a YA novel. Confusing but uncharacteristically brilliant. I’m amazed by how much talent Scott Westerfeld possesses to be able to create two made-up stories in one whole novel.


The even-numbered chapters of Afterworld is a suspenseful thriller about Lizzie, a teen who slips into the ‘Afterworld’ to survive a terrorist attack. The Afterworld is a vast place between the living and the dead. It is full of unresolved and terrifying stories. Lizzie is able to shift from the Real World to the Afterworld (aka. The Flipside) ever since the terrorist attack. Slipping between visible and invisible causes Lizzie to become a magnet for the ghosts who still linger in the real world—ghosts who are terrified of the Afterworld and the stories it possesses. A predator lurks around places where evil acts have occurred and it’s up to Lizzie to protect the souls of others with the help of the boy who protects the Afterworld and makes sure that things run smoothly.


I loved the publishing insight of Darcy’s world but ultimately got lost in her novel Afterworlds. I would read so fast through the odd-numbered chapters just so that I could get to the even-numbered chapters. I highly recommend Scott Westerfeld’s Afterworlds if you want to escape into a world within a world.


As writers, we all have the juice. Now we just have to pour it over the world.

[Read Afterworlds and you’ll know what I mean by this ;)]


Further Reading

Scott Westerfeld is the author of eighteen novels, five of them for adults and the other thirteen for young adults, which include the Uglies series, the Leviathan series, the Succession series, the Midnighters series, a new upcoming series of books beginning with Horizon, Peeps, So Yesterday, and many more.


Scott Westerfeld was born in Texas and divides his time between New York City and Sydney, Australia. Also, he’s a brilliant man with a fact sheet about himself. It’s on his website. Check it out!


0 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

The One Inside by Sam Shepard Reviewed by Jacob Hammer I had only previously encountered Sam Shepard as a playwright in my literature survey courses, so when I saw that he was releasing a novel I was

The One Inside by Sam Shepard Reviewed by Jacob Hammer I had only previously encountered Sam Shepard as a playwright in my literature survey courses, so when I saw that he was releasing a novel I was

Water Fragments. Catie Hannigan. Tammy, 2017. Print. 40 pages. $13.00. Available at Review by Santino DallaVecchia. Catie Hannigan’s second chapbook, Water Fragments, manages to be b

bottom of page