Saturday, 30 April 2011

Everwild by Neal Shusterman

Being an old lady in my thirties, the one genre I hardly ever read is YA. But last year I picked up a book called Everlost after the blurb on the back piqued my curiosity. I enjoyed it so much that, when I found out it was the first in a trilogy, I bought Everwild, the second volume.

In Everlost, we followed the stories of Nick and Allie, two teenagers who were killed in a car accident and woke up in the strange world of Everlost. Inhabited only by the spirits of children and teenagers, Everlost is a kind of ghost world which runs parallel to our own living world. One of the most influencial spirits in Everlost is Mary Hightower, who tries to gather other ghost children around her and trap them in a monotonous routine, causing them to forget their own identities.

In Everwild, we pick up the story from where it left off in the previous book, with Mary travelling around the world trapping unsuspecting ghost children and Nick doing his best to set those children free. Allie, meanwhile, has become obsessed with the idea of going home and sets off with her new friend Mike McGill to find her parents and try to let them know that she's OK.

As well as the four main characters from Everlost, the sequel introduces some new ones. Milos is a cunning Russian boy with the ability to "skinjack", or to put his spirit inside the bodies of living humans in a kind of possesion. It's an ability he shares with Allie, and he tutors her in the art of skinjacking, trying to get closer to her, while Mike looks on and becomes increasingly jealous of their relationship.

Nick's adventuers lead him to another new character, that of Zin, a young girl from the American civil war who has the ability to rip things through the barrier between the worlds and bring them into Everlost from the living world. They have a difficult relationship at first, but he soon realises how to persuade her to help him in his mission against Mary.

 If I'd read this book as a teenager I just know I would have loved it. The story switches around between the charcters, which gives the book a great sense of pace, and it has some great plot twists,  including one about Allie that really caught me by surprise. The book manages to draw the various threads together nicely, making for a really exciting climax and a cliffhanger ending that's going to have you rushing straight back to the bookshop for volume 3. Unfortunately you'll have to be patient though, because it's not out (at least in the UK) for another month. I'll definitely be getting it though, as I can't wait to find out how the story ends.

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