Since I heard about this book becoming a thing, I’ve been slightly nervously awaiting it’s arrival. As the blurb and cover was revealed, the hype started to build. Books that concern the afterlife are one of my favourite things. Take Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin for example. On the Other Side had a lot to live up to. BUT, while reading, I ended up being on either side of the argument for why this book is good…or not so. Where did I finally end up? Let’s see…
P R O S
- The Afterlife. I loved how this was executed. It was a little weird and wacky, and definitely took a lot of expositional explaining, but I don’t know how you’d get around doing that. Personally, I believe that everyone has their own personal heaven that they can create and be surrounded by whoever they choose, so the kind of afterlife in On the Other Side really suited me!
- Evie and Vincent’s relationship. It was sweet, literally. It started because of some orange flavoured sweets. When I was reading it, I couldn’t help but replace the couple with Carrie and Pete. In fact, the look of Evie is pretty interchangeable with Carrie, but that’s pretty cool because if you want to see yourself in fiction, just write a book and you get to decide whether your protagonist has big curls and brown eyes! The romance wasn’t too fast or too slow, it was just romantic. Kind of like the Paperman short Disney did a few years back. Were we expecting anything different from Carrie?
- The LGBT character. I think, from now on, I’ll only be satisfied with a book if it has some kind of LGBT+ representation in it.
- The sibling relationship. Despite having a horrible parent-child relationship between Evie and her mum, Evie’s relationship with her brother was great. Evie was old, by about seven years I think, which is the same age difference between Carrie and her brother Tom. She obviously had a lot of happy childhood memories to draw upon and that really came across.
C O N S
- The timelessness. This was just odd. Evie went back to being twenty seven when she died, so was she 27 in 2015, when the book was written, or 27 in the 1950s-1960s? The back story of Evie’s romantic relationship and the bogus views of her mother about a woman’s role in society screamed 1950s, but the time period was never explicitly mentioned. I would have liked some more time markers, like fashion or food to help me pinpoint when in time the story takes place.
- The names. This seems like a really trivial thing to get annoyed over, but they just all sounded like characters conjured over from children’s TV. I mean, Mr. Autumn? Evie Snow and Vincent Winters would not meet in real life. The names just pulled me out of the story every time.
O N T H E F E N C E A B O U T:
- The magical realism. Although I enjoyed the magical realism elements, sometimes it didn’t fly. It felt a little random, even though in a book about the afterlife with magical ghost-like appearances, it’s not that out of place. It reminded me a lot of the stories in The Tales of Beedle the Bard.
V E R D I C T
Overall, I’m giving this 3.5 stars. I enjoyed the story, but the things I’ve mentioned under cons stopped me being taken over by the hype. I was expecting something a little different, but that’s not to say I was disappointed. It was still a beautiful book and I look forward to reading whatever Carrie writes next!
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