Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld
When Darcy’s first novel is snapped up in a two-book deal for over a hundred thousand dollars, she is astounded. After all, she wrote Afterworlds in a month, and her dream of being a writer has always just been a dream. But it is, and suddenly she’s not just a writer, she’s an author. Not quite a published author, but still. Now all Darcy has to do is convince her parents it’s a great idea for her to defer college for a year and move to New York to do the rewrites and edits and promo tours and bookstore signings and write the sequel.
No one expects a terrorist attack to happen to them. Lizzie is in the Dallas airport changing planes after a trip to New York to visit her dad when it happens. It’s the 911 operator who saves her life, hers alone out of the eighty-eight people in the airport that night. Suggesting that Lizzie play dead, Lizzie drops to the ground and somehow wills herself into the afterworld – dead but not dead, somehow in between the worlds. It’s here that she meets Yamaraj, guardian of the dead, who tells her that she’s just like him, able to walk in both worlds. And when she wakes up in the real world, lone survivor of a terrorist attack, the world is nothing like what it was.
Living on her own in New York, finding her first outrageously priced apartment, navigating the world of publishing, hanging out with other YA writers, falling in love, and trying to figure out how to rewrite the ending of Afterworlds in a way that doesn’t suck and satisfies her editor’s need for the dreaded happy ending for Lizzie and Yamaraj is the most terrifying, amazing, delicious, dazzling, expensive experience of Darcy’s life, and she is in love with all of it. Even if she is worried about what readers will think about her exploiting her parents’ religion for the sake of YA hotness, how much her apartment costs, and just how fast she’s falling for her best writer friend.
Author Scott Westerfeld of Uglies and Leviathan fame brings us a fun, snarky, insider novel that explores the world of publishing, the joy and heartbreak of writing, YA author lore, the glittering streets of New York (and the food – oh, the food! I totally want gourmet ramen after reading this), and the thin line between life, death, love and friendship. The dual narrative makes this even more fun, Lizzie’s story unfolding and changing as Darcy grows as a writer and grows up more than a little bit. For everyone who loved Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, has ever wanted to be a writer or just loves to write, wishes they were besties with their favorite authors, or just wondered what John Green gets up to on tour, Afterworlds is a must-read!