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.
Title: The title screams paranormal. Hereafter is a great title for this story, since it gives a good idea of what this book’s about: a dead girl.
Cover: I must say I absolutely love this cover. The blues and greens are so pretty, and even though you can’t really see it, I love the dress Amelia is wearing. Also, it’s just a little shiny, so it’s even prettier in real life.
Pitch: For people who like paranormal romance, this pitch is sure to be intriguing. For someone like me, it’s a big turnoff. First of all, I don’t like paranormal romance, and having a dead protagonist just seems really weird. It seems like a well crafted story, but I’m not looking forward to it.
First Sentence: It was the same as always, but different from the first time.
A great first line. It makes me need to read on. What is this mysterious ‘it’? And how in the world can it be the same, and yet different? While this is a little vague, it is attention grabbing.
First Chapter: This chapter has some great points and some really bad parts. The writing is fairly good. It opens with the MC dreaming that she’s drowning, and it’s described so vividly I felt myself squirming. However, as soon as the dream ends, she starts thinking about what’s happened over the past years, telling us all sorts of backstory. One big writing rule is to not give any backstory in the first fifty pages unless absolutely necessary. Here’s it’s really not necessary. This scene would have been more powerful, especially the cliffhanger at the end, had it been written in straight narrative, not backstory.
Overall: For a fan of paranormal romance, this story has great packaging. There’s a perfect title combined with a gorgeous cover and an intriguing pitch. However, all of this convinces me that it’s really not the sort of story I’ll enjoy.