Elsewhere – Gabrielle Zevin | Book Review

11:14 AM
Pages: 277 Paperback
Publication date: May 15th, 2007
Publisher: Square Fish
How I got the copy: Bought
Rating:  3 out of 5
Series: N/A


Welcome to Elsewhere. It is warm, with a breeze, and the beaches are marvelous. It's quiet and peaceful. You can't get sick or any older. Curious to see new paintings by Picasso? Swing by one of Elsewhere's museums. Need to talk to someone about your problems? Stop by Marilyn Monroe's psychiatric practice.

Elsewhere is where fifteen-year-old Liz Hall ends up, after she has died. It is a place so like Earth, yet completely different. Here Liz will age backward from the day of her death until she becomes a baby again and returns to Earth. But Liz wants to turn sixteen, not fourteen again. She wants to get her driver's license. She wants to graduate from high school and go to college. And now that she's dead, Liz is being forced to live a life she doesn't want with a grandmother she has only just met. And it is not going well. How can Liz let go of the only life she has ever known and embrace a new one? Is it possible that a life lived in reverse is no different from a life lived forward?

This moving, often funny book about grief, death, and loss will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned.


This was so different than what I expected, but given the fact that I didn’t read the synopsis, I don’t know why I was surprised I was so wrong about this stories plot.

We follow Liz after she dies from a hit and run. We meet her on a boat going to Elsewhere, which is where everyone’s spirit/soul goes to after they’ve died. Liz is able to have a complete second life after life on Elsewhere but there’s a system to how Elsewhere works, before you’re given back to earth again. Everyone ends up going back to earth as another baby at the end of his or her life on Elsewhere and I thought this was a really cool idea.

The whole concept of this book is really interesting and different from other stories with a dead narrator. But I felt the first half of the book was super slow and repetitive and also the main character is super annoying. I understand Liz is written in a 15-year old’s perspective but I thought it was just too much.

By the second half of the book, it was way easier to follow. Liz finally accepts her life on Elsewhere after a lot of rebellion. This is where the repetition comes to a halt and I'm so happy about. I was really close to putting this book down before getting to the middle of the book.

I also have to say that I pick this book up thinking it was Inside by Alix Ohlin, being tricked by the covers. Both covers of these books have snow globes and a plain background. If it wasn’t for this mistake I doubt I would have ever read Elsewhere.

I believe I had a difficult time connecting with Liz because she was so young and loved to complain about things she had no control over, like being dead. The way she would treat the people who where helping her on Elsewhere made Liz seem like such a brat!

I gave this a 3/5 stars and recommend this to a younger audience, probably 13-16 that enjoy contemporary.


Thanks for reading!

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