Take one part THE LOVELY BONES, add a dash of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, and finish off with a sprinkling of INKSPELL and you still will not have a mixture as rich as the latest offering from Neal Shusterman. EVERLOST gives us the story of Nick and Allie whose lives are joined when they are killed in an accident that involves each of their family's cars. Instead of making it to the light, they are somehow bumped off course and end up in a forest greeted by a young boy dressed in strange clothes. Nicknamed Leif by Nick and Allie, the three set off on a trek headed toward Allie's home. However, in Everlost, there are many dangers including some monstrous creatures and the fact that Afterlights like Nick and Allie and Leif cannot walk upon the ground without sinking.
Shusterman's novel hooks readers from the outset as we race toward the collision with as little preparation as its victims. Then, almost as soon as you think you know where the book is heading, something happens to literally take your breath away. I do not want to give too much away here, but the scene as Nick and Allie cross the river into Manhattan is one burned in my brain as the site of the 9-11 terrorist attacks remains a part of our collective conscience and unconscious.
I continue to be amazed at the versatility of Shusterman's writing. I have been a fan since I read THE EYES OF KID MIDAS quite a few years ago. His Dark Fusion series is masterful. EVERLOST is demonstration of his considerable talent.