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Location: Brooklyn, NY, United States

30 October 2014


Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld is a story inside of another story. One is about Darcy Patel who has just signed a contract with a publisher to write two books, one of which has the first draft completed. The other story is the one that Darcy wrote.

Darcy Patel just graduated from high school. Her parents think she is off to college, but she is about to surprise them. She has just signed a contract (for a lot of money) to write two books for Underbridge Publishing. And she is going to defer college, move to New York City and write for the next year. Darcy's sister, Nisha, has created a budget based on her contract salary that will give her a couple of years in the city.

Darcy's first night in NYC she attends a YA authors drinks night. She is shocked to see so many authors she looks up to at the event. And she meets the newly signed authors whose books are yet to be printed - among them Imogen Gray.

The protagonist of Patel's book, Lizzie, is in the opposite chapters. Lizzie is on her way home from visiting her father in New York City, on a layover in Dallas, when terrorists attack the airport. She is far enough away to call 911 and the dispatcher encourages her to play dead. Lizzie plays dead so well she leaves her body and crosses over into the flipside. There she meets Yamaraj who helps her understand what is happening and then guides her back into her body.

Westerfeld has created two stories in one, both with great lead protagonist and a variety of wonderful supporting characters. The descriptions of YA authordom seem real and exciting filled with humor and anecdotes that have likely happened to Westerfeld or his friends. (I know that like one of the characters, author Libba Bray had a friend lock her in the trunk of a car to be able to describe it accurately.) Afterworlds is definitely worth a read.

Westerfeld, Scott. (2014). Afterworlds. New York: Simon Pulse.

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