by Gabrielle Zevin

Hardcover, 2005

Call number




Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2005), Edition: 1st, First Edition, 288 pages


After fifteen-year-old Liz Hall is hit by a taxi and killed, she finds herself in a place that is both like and unlike Earth, where she must adjust to her new status and figure out how to "live." Is it possible to grow up while getting younger?

User reviews

LibraryThing member Foxen
Elsewhere was a good story. I read the entire thing in one night, so it must have been compelling, but I wasn't amazed. In the category of books written from the perspective of dead girls (and it's very odd that that's a category), and also in the category of speculative fiction about the
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afterlife, it came up a bit short, for me. If you're considering it from a YA perspective it's probably quite good, but there wasn't enough depth to really be interesting as an adult reader. I wanted more exploration of, among other things, the economics of Elsewhere society, the dynamics of relationships that span death, and the existential issues of aging backwards and knowing the actual way that the world works. All of those aspects were present in the story, but their treatment was generally superficial and felt unrealistic. In fact, everything in Elsewhere worked just a bit too smoothly, without enough consideration of the difficult issues involved. I almost expected to find out that everything was a bit too smooth for a reason, for there to be a Big Bad behind the scenes (who figured out the whole cyclical pattern, anyway? What would happen if babies weren't sent to the River? What keeps the whole acclimation system running smoothly? Altruism? Really? It feels more likely to be part of a nefarious plot.) or to find out that everyone in Elsewhere were actually robots, or something. Instead, though, what I found out was that I was expecting more than this book intended to deliver. I realize that I'm probably judging Elsewhere on criteria it never promised to deliver on, but still, I think it's reasonable to expect a book about the afterlife to go further down the road of afterlife dynamics than Elsewhere does. That said, it was an enjoyable read, and it kept me up all night. Not too bad. I'd recommend it for maybe the late elementary/middle school age group, for whom the ideas would probably seem new and interesting instead of under-developed.
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LibraryThing member lhunt314
Liz Hall is only 15 when she is killed in a hit-and-run accident. She is sent to Elsewhere, a place where instead of aging, everyone gets younger until they are reborn on Earth. It’s heartbreaking to watch Liz struggle with the realization that she will never grow up, never get her drivers
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license, and never fall in love. She spends much of the beginning of the book grieving over what she has lost. But despite being about death and loss, the book is positive and optimistic about the cycle of life, and even includes a bit of humor and romance.
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LibraryThing member CaraLPeacock
AWESOME! This is the best book I've read all year. It is clever and interesting. It's the first adolescent lit book that I've read that deals with the afterlife exclusively. I'm not big into books that are "way out there"; I tend to stick to nonfiction or realistic fiction. I'm glad I took a chance
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on this book, though.
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LibraryThing member Schayde
Have you ever wondered what happened after you died? Everyone does at one point of time in their life.
Well, Zevin gives an interesting look at one possibility.

Liz is killed in a Hit and Run. She doesn't realize she's dead when she wakes up, she just knows she's on a boat. Once she finds out she is
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in fact dead, she doesn't want to believe it.
As the story goes on Liz finds out that she is heading to a place called Elsewhere and many more interesting things. One thing she finds out is that she will meet past dead relatives if it isn't too late.
Too late? What does that mean.
In Elsewhere you age differently than when you were alive.

A very interesting read.
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LibraryThing member Stevil2001
I read this because a student in my YA literature class asked to do an Honors conversion, and selected this novel as the basis for her supplementary research project. She ended up opting to not complete the research project. I wish she had, partially for the selfish reason that maybe it could have
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convinced me there was something more to this book. The fundamental idea is okay: when you go to the afterlife, you live there as you age backwards until you're a baby again, and then you get dispatched back to the real world to begin a new life. Zevin's afterlife is weirdly conventional, and conventionally contemporary America at that: people have jobs and drive on highways and stuff. But on the other hand, animals talk? A mundane afterlife could work, but in Elsewhere I felt like it was more a lack of imagination than anything else-- there's no coherent logic that backs this up. Like, where does money even come from? Why is everything like middle-class 21st-century America? Where are all the dead Chinese and Indian people, who surely would make up the majority of the residents of Elsewhere? A good book could get away with leaving out this kind of detail, but this book isn't that good. It's not terribly tedious or anything, but it sure takes its time with things. The sparse style is going for literary, I think, but it mostly comes across as underwritten.
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LibraryThing member allthesedarnbooks
This is an intriguing and beautifully written young adult book. Fifteen-year-old Liz is hit by a car while riding her bike. She wakes up to find herself on a boat, and eventually ends up in "Elsewhere." This is a really cool, unique take on the afterlife. My only problem was that Liz herself was
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kind of unlikable. There were several times where I was yelling at her to grow up. I understand that teenagers can be bratty; that doesn't necessarily mean that I want to read about it. The peripheral characters are much more likable than Liz, and Zevin especially shines in her portrayal of the dogs Lucy, Sadie, Jen, and Paco. A well-written, intriguing novel. Four stars.
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LibraryThing member fiveforsilver
It's kind of an afterlife story. A girl is in a bike accident and wakes up on a boat. She doesn't realize it for a while, but she's dead and they're on the way to 'Elsewhere', which is apparently where dead people go. And live backwards, so you start out whatever age you are and live until you're a
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baby, then you're sort of sent back to Earth to be reborn.

At first the main character resists starting a new 'life' in 'Elsewhere', instead obsessing about her old life. But she eventually accepts it and learns to enjoy it. At the end of the book, she is sent back to be born again.

It was an ok book. I didn't quite get the point of it. It was decently well-written and the characters were interesting enough, I just couldn't really get into the plot.
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LibraryThing member francescadefreitas
I really enjoyed the idea of this book, but the execution left me a little cold. When Liz is killed by in a hit and run accident, she ends up in an afterlife where she will age backwards until she becomes a baby and starts life over again as a new person on Earth. The first half of the book, where
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Liz is adjusting to her death, reads like a teen drama, with sharp emotions and an empathetic character. The second half of the book becomes gauzy, and the characters seem more like part players in a fairy tale. I'd give this to people who like Kathi Appelt, or Francesca Lia Block, maybe.
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LibraryThing member TMassey
Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin is a interesting fiction story about how when everyone dies you go to Elsewhere and you age backwards to when you are a baby. Once you are a baby you return back to Earth and relive your life. Elsewhere got my attention. I kept asking myself do we really live our life
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to find out that in reality this is what's going to happen? This story makes you imagine alot. You really get into the story. You really get into the characters and you feel bad for the main character because she never gets to live her dream. I loved this story. It's a page turner.
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LibraryThing member parkridgeya
Liz Hall is killed in a hit-and-run accident at age fifteen and ends up on a cruise ship headed to Elsewhere. In Elsewhere the dead age backward from their current age until they are babies and are sent back into the world as newborns. Liz must let go of the anger and pain of losing her former life
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and concentrate on living as well as she can in her new life/death.
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LibraryThing member Catnelson
After fifteen-year-old Liz Hall is hit by a taxi and killed, she finds herself in a place that is both like and unlike Earth, where she must adjust to her new status and figure out how to "live."
LibraryThing member wyvernfriend
A nice light book that would appeal to the fans of The Lovely Bones.
A book about the afterlife of a girl who dies unexpecitely in a crash. In Elsewhere you live backwards until you're reborn. Lessons are learnt while waiting to grow young again.
LibraryThing member abbylibrarian
Liz wakes up on a cruise ship, wearing unfamiliar white pajamas, with a strange sleeping girl in the bunk above hers. It takes her awhile, but eventually Liz figures out that she's dead. She was hit by a car and now she is in Elsewhere. Elsewhere is where people and animals end up when they die.
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And in Elsewhere, everyone ages backwards until they become babies again and are released back to Earth.

This book gives an interesting take on death and it's pretty believeable. It's a good book for discussion because it raises some interesting issues. I didn't particularly like the romantic aspects of the book, but they might appeal to teens.
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LibraryThing member roses
Very interesting concept on what happens to a young teenage girl who dies. Read the book in a day probably and couldn't put it down.
LibraryThing member bwoodreader
Liz wakes up on a boat on her way to Elsewhere. It takes her a while to realize she died in a hit and run accident and Elsewhere is the afterlife. In this rather Earth-like place everyone ages backwards, so now she will be getting younger every day instead of older. As she realizes she will never
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reach 16, get a driver's license, or have children, let alone see her beloved family again, she begins to despair. But the relationships with her also-dead grandmother, favorite musician, and some new friends, she starts to realize that life (or death) is what you make of it. This is a lovely and interesting book, with memorable characters - including the dogs, who can speak with the dead.
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LibraryThing member neighbour
This story begins with a tragic ending.
When sixteen-year-old Liz is involved in a hit and run accident, she never imagined she would awake on board the SS Nile, bound for Elsewhere. Liz doesn’t understand. Why is she on a ship full of old people? Where are her parents? And what is this long scar
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above her ear?
Soon Liz realises the truth. She is dead. She will never get her driver’s license. She will never go to collage. She will never fall in love. Her life is over. How wrong she is.
Once in Elsewhere Liz realises that there is such a thing as life after life. Nobody mopes around or acts depressed, because why should a little thing like dying stop people living life to the full? In Elsewhere, nothing is impossible. Inhabitants get younger instead of older, dogs can communicate with humans and people can receive messages in bottles from earth.
Elsewhere is a magnificently well-written book. Although it deals with death, it is by no means depressing. Quite the contrary: the love, determination and re-birth portrayed might well be called inspirational.
As we all know, Christmas is just around the corner and I am sure that any teenager or adult alike would love to find Elsewhere at the bottom of their stocking. Elsewhere is truly a life changing read which stay with the reader until long after the last decoration has been taken down. With an unforgettable blend of honesty, philosophy and humour, this book boldly submits unique, fresh ideas about the afterlife. There is definitely something in this book for everyone, young or old.
So for a breathtaking beginning to 2006, I would certainly recommend this debut novel by Gabrielle Zevin.
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LibraryThing member librarymeg
This thoughtful story tells about the life and afterlife of Liz, who was hit by a car when she was sixteen. She wakes up to find herself on the way to Elsewhere, which is where we all end up when we die. It looks a lot like Earth, but everyone in Elsewhere ages backwards, have avocations instead of
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jobs, and many people can communicate with animals. It's a creative way to look at death, but in the end this book is about life: living the one you've got and making the most of it.
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LibraryThing member dandelion1
Recommended by Roxie at NHS. About what limbo you go to when you pass away. Liz died in a bike/car accident. In Elsewhere you start at the age you pass, and then go backwards in age until you are ready to be reborn. It's a freaky experience. Liz Hall meets her maternal grandmother who died of
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cancer when she was on the way. And she falls mutually in love with a guy who is heartsick about the fact that dying split him from his wife and love of his life. Turns out the wife was the love of his life, and Liz is the love of his Elsewhere. He is very sad when Liz is finally rebirthed and leaves Elsewhere. A reverse experience on life and love that give one pause.
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LibraryThing member midnighttwilight101
Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin is an awesome story about life after death. But it's not the normal heaven and hell, in this afterlife people age backwards from the day they died. This continues until they are tiny babies again and they are shipped back to earth to be reborn.
LibraryThing member clik4
This book looks for spirituality with the death of oneself, in a reverse direction. The story is from the perspective of Liz Hall, unexpectedly hit by a car and what happens to her after death. I found this book remarkable in the wisdom and the quotes, “Real intimacy is brushing your teeth
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together”, “it is entirely possible, (though not particularly desirable) to love two people with all your heart. It is entirely possible to long for two lives, to feel that one life can’t come close to containing it all”, “If I interrupt this life, I will never know how my life was supposed to turn out”, “Happiness is a choice”.
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LibraryThing member library_girl27
I didn't like this book very much. I thought the whole premise of death just beginning a new life that was lived backwards depressing. What is the point of life when it doesn't lead to anything that built upon the life lived before? And then to be reborn and have no rememberance of the person you
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were, how sad. Anyway, I thought it was really well written, just depressing.
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LibraryThing member madams
Wonderful interpretation of what the afterlife could be like. Imagine meeting up with those who died before you. Would they remember you? Would you have a life or a just a sense of drifting to nowhere? This book gives hope and meaning to life after death. A good read but the plot dwindles and feels
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to far fetched by the end of the novel.
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LibraryThing member bellalibrarian
This title takes a very interesting look at the afterlife through a young adult's POV. While the text is not so in-depth that it loses readers; I would recommend it for anyone interested in reading about death who doesn't want an incredibly complicated title.
LibraryThing member FabulousandFeminist
I actually started crying somewhere in this novel because I thought it was so beautiful. It wasn't the sadness tat set me off just how well it was done and how beautifully crafted it was.
Absolutely fantastic.
Definite recommend to everyone you know.
LibraryThing member xhollishx
Elsewhere is a story about a girl named Liz who died from a hit and run accident. She wakes up to find herself on a boat called the USS Nile, with a girl named Thandi. Thandi also has died from a gunshot wound. They have no idea where they are going, so they explore the boat and both girls get to
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watch their funerals through binoculars. They arrive in Elsewhere to find that relatives that have passed away before them are waiting on their arrival. Liz is depressed and keeps going to the binoculars at the Observation Deck ( OD ) to see friends and family. Then Liz realizes that maybe Elsewhere isn't as bad as she had once thought, even though you age backwards, just to be born on Earth again.

Elsewhere is a beautiful, captivating novel. It is defiantly different than your regular YA read, but well worth the effort to pick up. It's a book that made me think and ponder on some of the ideas that Gabrielle instills in us. You feel sorry for poor Liz as she battles with depression and missing her family. But, you also feel good that there's so much more for her waiting there at Elsewhere, so of which she couldn't do on Earth. It's safe to say that this is one of my favorites that I've read this year and I'm going to read it again!
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