Landing a major publishing deal, teenager Darcy finds herself in New York City, and suddenly surrounded by the cream of YA authors. At the same time, Afterworlds, Darcy's gripping thriller, begins to unfold. A novel within a novel..."
At first I thought the two stories could become confusing but I actually didn't find that to be the case at all; the two narratives ran smoothly alongside each other, each building at the same sort of pace. I found the parallels between the two stories really interesting; for example, both stories touch on budding romances, and both protagonists delay going to college, albeit for totally different reasons, in a way which makes you feel as though the book has come pleasingly full-circle.
I found both protagonists really well-written and believable, and I was really caught up in both the stories; I wanted to know what was going to happen to both Lizzie and Darcy. The supporting characters were nicely developed, meaning I felt as though I was really getting to know the people important to the protagonists as the story unfolded.
I also found some of the issues the story touched on, such as the appropriation of culture in art, really interesting, and found it made me think about the way certain groups of people and beliefs are presented in literature. As a voracious reader and someone with a vague half-formed notion of maybe, one day, writing a novel, I found the presentation of Darcy's experience of becoming a published author really interesting as well. Lizzie's story is what I'd call a paranormal thriller-slash-romance, with just the right amount of each - just the right amount of fantasy, beautifully woven into a world you can really believe in; it put me in mind of Neil Gaiman which is a compliment and a half as I love his work.
Afterworlds left me with a lasting impression (you know when you spend the next couple of days thinking about a book?) and I'm definitely keen to read more of Westerfeld's work now. Afterworlds will be published on the 23rd of September by Simon Pulse and is one I'd recommend for anyone interested in the world of publishing, as well as those who just love a good paranormal romance (think Twilight if it was written well, minus the vampires and with some pretty scary villains!). You can watch the trailer below if that's your sort of thing.
[*I was sent this book for the purposes of an honest review; as always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.]