The Afterwards by A.F. Harrold @afharrold @bloomsburykids Publication Day 3/19/19 GUEST BLOGGER REVIEW BY KATY SCHUESSLER (Special Bonus Guest Blogger Bio)

From the acclaimed team behind The Imaginary comes another powerful, poignant, and darkly fantastical story about friendship, perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman and Roald Dahl.

Ember and Ness are best friends, completely inseparable. Ember can’t imagine what life would be without Ness. Until Ness dies, in a most sudden and unexpected way. Ember feels completely empty. How can this even be real?

Then Ember finds a way into the afterworld-a place where the recently dead reside. She knows there must be a way to bring Ness back, so she decides to find it. Because that’s what friends do: rescue each other. But the afterworld holds its own dangers. How far will Ember go to make things the way they were again?

Paired with enchanting illustrations from Emily Gravett, A. F. Harrold’s powerfully woven tale explores the lengths we go to for the people we love.

The Afterwards is about a young girl named December and her best friend, Happiness. Happiness and December are never apart. Whether it’s playing at the park, having a sleepover, or whispering in class, Ness and Ember are together. When Ness suddenly dies, December is all alone. One day, her uncle picks her up from school and Ember learns something that will change her life forever. She finds out that she can go into the afterlife, and she makes a plan to save Ness. When she finds Ness though, Ness acts like she doesn’t want to be saved. Will Ember bring her back, or will Ness turn to dust? 

I was really excited to read this book since I had read another book (The Imaginary) by this author and loved it. I was right to be excited. This story was really great. Right from the beginning, this story really captures your interest. The characters were well developed. By giving us the character’s background, I felt like I knew Ness and Ember. I was able to picture the characters in my mind clearly (even before I looked at the illustrations.) I also felt as if I was a part of the characters emotional journey. I became invested in their story and felt as I if were experiencing what they were going through in some parts. I did feel like the ending wasn’t very satisfactory because it didn’t end how I thought it was going to but overall I really enjoyed the book. If you like this book, I also recommend A.F Harrold’s other book The Imaginary. I look forward to reading the next book this author writes.

A.F. Harrold is an English poet. He writes and performs for adults and children, in cabaret and in schools, in bars and in basements, in fields and indoors. He was Glastonbury Festival Website’s Poet-In-Residence in 2008, and Poet-In-Residence at Cheltenham Literature Festival in 2010. He won the Cheltenham All Stars Slam Championship in 2007 and has had his work on BBC Radio 4, Radio 3 and BBC7. He is active in schools work, running workshops and slams and doing performances at ungodly hours of the morning, and has published several collections of poetry. He is the owner of many books, a handful of hats, a few good ideas and one beard.

Guest Blogger Bio

Hi, I’m Katy Schuessler. I’m 11 years old and a middle school student. I love to read (which makes sense because my mom is a librarian.) When I’m not reading I like to play drums, skateboard, or do art projects.

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