cover image Afterworlds


Scott Westerfeld, read by Heather Lind and Sheetal Seth. Simon & Schuster Audio, unabridged, 12 CDs, 14 hrs., $39.99 ISBN 978-1-4423-7246-7

This novel is really two books in one, told in alternating chapters. The first is a realistic fiction piece about Darcy, an 18-year-old whose novel is being published. She puts off college, moves to New York, deals with the stress of deadlines and rewrites, feels the excitement of seeing her book in print, and falls in love for the first time, with another YA writer, named Imogen. The other book is Darcy's actual novel, told in full: the paranormal tale of Lizzie, who survives a terrorist attack by pretending to be dead. She can subsequently see ghosts and visit the "afterworld," where she becomes romantically involved with spirit guide Yamaraj. Each book has a different narrator, which is helpful for keeping the two stories separate, and both narrators are excellent. Lind conveys Darcy's youthful excitement, her passion for writing, her insecurity, and her na%C3%AFvet%C3%A9, as well as voicing jaded and British Imogen, Darcy's Indian-accented parents, and numerous other characters. Seth is equally adept at Lizzie, searching for the truth and trying to do what's right, as well as creating believable voices for Lizzie's anxious mother, her curious best friend, a child ghost, and Indian-accented Yamaraj. This intriguing and creative audiobook will have listeners invested in both stories, rooting for both protagonists and eager to find out what happens to them. Ages 14%E2%80%93up. A Simon Pulse hardcover. (Sept.)