Hereafter by Tara Hudson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is an excellent ghost-story romance from a debut author. Amelia has been haunting the river where she died, unable to remember anything about her life except for her first name, and unaware of time passing. One day she saves a boy from drowning in the same spot that she did, and, unlike the rest of the world, he can see her and touch her. Joshua and Amelia are naturally curious about each other, and quickly become friends. Joshua starts to help Amelia to see the world around her again and uncover the mystery of her death, and as they spend more and more time together, they start to fall in love. Amelia and Joshua compliment each other really well, both helping to draw the other out of their shell more, and help each other out. I really felt a real connection between them, and they both grew in confidence around the other. I was riveted from the first page, and loved how things are only revealed gradually. The writing just flows and I always wanted to keep reading, just a little bit more.
There is a whole mythology of the afterlife, spirits that can possess unsuspecting victims, and a group of human seers who have the ability to see the ghosts around them and are intent on exocising the spirits that haunt the bridge- including Amelia. One of these spirits is a particularly nasty ghost named Eli who haunts the bridge and has influence over the spirits crossing over. He can see a power in Amelia and wants her for himself, as his "apprentice" to gather the souls who die near the bridge.
This is a really engrossing romantic ghost story with a dramatic twist. I loved this and wanted the story to keep going so that I could read more Amelia and Joshua! I was sad for the main character, I loved the romance, I laughed at the jokes, I was scared at the drama. The book doesn't end on a cliffhanger, but there are still many unanswered questions by the end, and with Amelia being a ghost there are obvious complications with their relationship. Summed up in 3 words- Haunting, dramatic, romantic. How long 'till the sequel?!
ARC thanks to HarperCollins Publishers and netgalley.com
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