Number in Series: 1
Release Date: August 1, 2012
Publisher: Eternal Press
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal/Contemporary/Science Fiction
Synopsis from Goodreads
Thirty-six-year-old Irene Dunphy didn't plan on dying any time soon, but that's exactly what happens when she makes the mistake of getting behind the wheel after a night bar-hopping with friends. She finds herself stranded on Earth as a ghost, where the food has no taste, the alcohol doesn't get you drunk, and the sex...well, let's just say "don't bother." To make matters worse, the only person who can see her-courtesy of a book he found in his school library-is a fourteen-year-old boy genius obsessed with the afterlife. This sounds suspiciously like hell to Irene, so she prepares to strike out for the Great Beyond. The only problem is that, while this side has exorcism, ghost repellents, and soul devouring demons, the other side has three-headed hell hounds, final judgment, and eternal torment. If only there was a third option...
Hereafter follows a 36 year old woman named Irene. She loves her independence, she loves her job, she loves to party. After a night out with friends, she wakes up with no memory of the night before. She thinks she has been drugged or something. So she heads home to sober up. But she finds out that she has missed many calls and there is a week's worth of mail in front of her door. On a visit to her worried mother's house, her mother doesn't notice her. While pondering what is going on she runs into a 14 year old boy named Jonah who tells her she is dead. They soon embark on a journey to find out how to deal with Irene's afterlife and if she really wants to “go-into-the-bright-light” or stay on the living plane. It is easier said than done.
I had a lot of fun with this book. I love a good ghost story and this was definitely one them. Now, this isn't an action packed thriller or anything. I won't lie, I was expecting a little Darynda Jones, but what we got was just as good. There were laughs, there were some tears and some very thought-provoking moments. This is a read that will stick with me.
Our main character Irene was really interesting. It was very easy to relate to her, but she had her moments. I mean she could be quite the bitch sometimes. She was so selfish and stuck in her ways and that was what made her a compelling character. She didn't want to face her reality at all. She didn't want to face that everything she knew was now gone. But in the afterlife, she did find others like her who wanted to stay. But I love how much she learns even though she was so stubborn. I honestly didn't know where Irene would end up or even if she would try to change. I really loved the character development and Irene was a great lead.
But I absolutely loved Jonah. He was a little smartass, but very bright. He was a bookworm and knew far more than a 14 year old boy should. He could see Irene because he read how to astral project. I loved how diverse he was as a character. He was 14, but he acted like more of an adult than Irene. Sometimes she just reminded me of a petulant teenager. Then there were times when you remind yourself he is a 14 year old boy. Why didn't I find boys like this when I was 14? I loved the dynamic between him and Irene. Although, I hated how mean she could be towards him. He was obviously a social outcast and there were times I did want to kill her for things she said to him. Hell without him, I really don't know how much Irene would have discovered about the afterlife or just herself in general.
This is one of those character driven reads. Bruce did a wonderful job with the character development in this book. Once it was finished, I really felt like I lost a friend. We have to go through Irene's denial, her trying to accept her predicament, her trying to come to terms with how she died (she avoids it like the plague) and more. I love what she learns through some of the people she meets. Like through different cultures and beliefs, ghosts can receive presents and such. I even like the creative explanations of how we pick parking spaces, the way we stop at red lights, and long waits in lines. That was a pretty interesting way of bringing this into the real world and made it even more interesting. Very smart.
I won't spoil what happens, but it is great and I am happy to know there is more to come. I love the search for a guide and who they found (or well, who found them). It was very interesting, but again, I can't spoil. This is one of those reads that was very thought provoking and makes you rethink your life and what you have done with it. It is a profound read that was very entertaining and human. It can get a tad bit slow in parts, but it was still a great read. Highly recommended.
*This book belongs to the following challenge*BCC's 100 Books In A Year Reading Challenge 2013!
BCC's Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance Reading Challenge 2013!