EVERLOST, by Neal Shusterman
Interest Level: Upper Middle Grades and Higher
This book, the first in the SKINJACKER trilogy, has found a definite following in my library, so I decided to give the audio book a listen on a recent trip. I was hooked from the very beginning, as I was drawn into the stories of Nick, Allie, and Leif, and their experiences in Everlost. Everlost is the place where the souls of children and teens go when they are "derailed" on their journey to the light. It is a place filled with danger--like the fact that the "living" land is like quicksand, and to stand on it too long means running the risk of being sucked to the center of the earth. The longer a soul is there, the more they forget about themselves and their earthly existence. There are many, many "Afterlights", which is the name given to the souls that occupy Everlost. There are rumors of a gruesome monster named "The McGill" who does terrible things to the Afterlights he captures. There's a leader named Mary Hightower who has taken on the job of caring for all of the Afterlights. I won't give away the resolution to this one--but it is a shocking one. Readers who love books that spark the imagination will fall in love with this masterfully written tale. I rarely like fantasy, but this one held my attention the entire time.