Afterworlds/ posted in: Reading Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld
on September 23rd 2014
Genres: Young Adult
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)
Takes place in California
Darcy Patel has put college on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. With a contract in hand, she arrives in New York City with no apartment, no friends, and all the wrong clothes. But lucky for Darcy, she’s taken under the wings of other seasoned and fledgling writers who help her navigate the city and the world of writing and publishing. Over the course of a year, Darcy finishes her book, faces critique, and falls in love.
Woven into Darcy’s personal story is her novel, Afterworlds, a suspenseful thriller about a teen who slips into the “Afterworld” to survive a terrorist attack. The Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead, and where many unsolved—and terrifying—stories need to be reconciled. Like Darcy, Lizzie too falls in love…until a new threat resurfaces, and her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she cares about most.
I picked up this book for my first attempt at #ReadYourMyDamnBooks since it has been sitting on my shelf for a while. I don’t even know where it came from. It is the ARC so I had get it from someone else. Thanks, whoever it was!
I found it funny that a book that I picked up read to restart my reading mojo after NaNoWriMo turned out to be about a girl who wrote a novel during NaNoWriMo.
Darcy sells her book and is given a large advance for it and another book after it. She is just 18 and decides to defer college and move to New York to do rewrites and start the next book. She has a strict budget. This was the most stressful part of the book for me because I am old and cheap. She kept doing over budget in wasteful ways. She rented an apartment that was $500 over budget for example. She kept going out to eat. I honestly had to put the book down and walk away for a bit because it was stressing me out.
Every other chapter in this book is Afterworlds, Darcy’s novel. It is the story of a girl who survives a terrorist attack by slipping into the world inhabited by ghosts. She is able to cross back and forth and needs to learn how to function in both worlds.
Darcy spends a year learning how to navigate the YA publishing world while trying to fix everything her editor says is wrong with Afterworlds. We are reading the finished Afterworlds after rewrites and it is interesting to see her talk about the book she wrote versus the book we are reading.
Darcy’s story is a satire about world of YA publishing from editors who love your book and then tell you to rewrite it all to the randomness of whether a book will sell well to the craziness of going on a book tour with a YA superstar when your book isn’t out yet.
There is also a lot of talk about cultural appropriation. Darcy is Indian but not a practicing Hindu. Does that make it ok for her to use a Hindu god as a character in her book? Is it worse that she is using him as a love interest because he is hot?
The Afterworlds in the book has a lot of the YA tropes that people love to hate – instalove especially. It is done on purpose to show what a high school senior with absolutely no life experience would write because all she knows is what she reads in YA.