Author: Tara Hudson
Publication Date: 06/07/2011
Publisher: Harper Collins
Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.
Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever. (goodreads)
Hereafter begins abruptly with us being introduced to Amelia's recurring nightmare, which we end up finding out is her revisiting what she thinks the night of her death - yes, Amelia is dead. In fact, she's a ghost. Except it isn't her death from the top of High Bridge that she's seeing this time, it's someone else's. A boy, Joshua, has driven his car into the water and begins to drown. Being a ghost, Amelia can't save him, but she can sure try. Miraculously, she ends up somehow establishing a connection with Joshua who is the first living human to see her. Amelia later gathers that he can only see her because he experienced a moment of death before being revitalised and surfacing.
I didn't read the tag on the cover, but I should have as it pretty much sums up the book. The rest of the story is back and forth about how much they love each other after just one day, with also the occasional evil force (and bothersome grandma) that attempt to keep them apart. (And, of course, fail.) Hereafter would have done more for me if there were something about the story that wasn't about their instant attraction. Even if the writing for me wasn't stellar, it was still passable, but the relationship between Amelia and Joshua was too much, too soon. Sometimes I can get around the instashipping in books, but considering the relationship is between a dead person and a living one you would think there would be some moment of hesitation and a period of 'okay, so the girl is dead and just what is happening right now?'. But there isn't. And I realise that that's partially due to Amelia's interest in being able to talk to someone, however, that didn't come as being strong enough a reason.
Eli as an antagonist didn't work for me - I wasn't left anticipating what he would do or what sort of havoc he would wreak. He came off as creepy and a bit of a stalker, and I didn't really get what he was trying to tell Amelia about her powers. His storyline was left without a resolution or a hint as to what was coming for her on that front. I was more nervous waiting for something else big to happen.