Hereafter by Tara Hudson

Can there truly be love after death?

Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she’s dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she’s trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.

Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever. (Goodreads)

The Story:

Amelia has no idea who she is. She doesn’t know where she’s from, where she’s been or how she died.  She’s a ghost who constantly dreams she’s drowning in a local river, only to wake to find herself in that river or in the graveyard where she is undoubtedly buried.  And worse, she’s alone in every conceivable way because no one can see or hear her.

That is until she helps to save Joshua from drowning. As he’s sinking, she yells and screams under the water and urges him to wake and swim upward.  Miraculously he does. And when he’s physically pulled from the water, he turns to Amelia and says his name.  He can see her, although no one else standing on the shore can.  And later he comes looking for Amelia (this doesn’t hurt matters because, of course, Joshua is hot.  Even a dead girl can see that). But there’s danger lurking around the corner in the form of another sinister ghost named Eli who wants to control Amelia.  He seeks her out and her frightens her.

Josh wants to help Amelia find her true identity. And, you know, he wants to kiss her, of course—OF COURSE he does! What kind of story would this be if neither of them were attractive or attracted to each other?  And yet despite their obvious hotness, their relationship seems doomed. I know. Who knew?

My Take:

This story started so good.  The first chapter vividly describes Amelia’s drowning nightmare and has a wonderful mysterious vibe.  And Amelia’s attempt to save Joshua, as well as his simple acknowledgment of her presence, grabbed me.

But somewhere along the line (fairly early into the story) it lost me.  There was a lot of wandering on Amelia’s part (because she’s “lost”, doesn’t know her identity, has no memories and time holds no meaning to her).  And when the details of her death were revealed I felt let down because I was hoping for a little more mystery. Instead the story fell flat.

The relationship between Amelia and Joshua had some sweet moments and had some interesting conflict, but even that seemed like a missed opportunity. Despite the fact that I liked both Amelia and Joshua, I never felt invested in either of them or in their relationship beyond the first couple of chapters.

Crush Intensity: 2/5 I was very disappointed, but since the first chapter was interesting and the basic idea was good, I’ll give it a 2.


Thank you to Net Galley and Harper Teen for allowing me to read an e galley of this book!