Afterworlds is actually two books in one told in alternating chapters -- the story of Darcy, who has just completed her first novel and is moving to NYC, and the story she wrote, called “Afterworlds.” I thought this was an interesting way to lay out the book, but I was also worried that it would be kind of confusing to read this way. But the way this book was set up was perfect. I loved going back and forth between the real world and Afterworlds. I did like the real world sections a little better, but I never found myself dreading the Afterworlds chapters or anything.
Darcy’s story gave an inside peek into the world of authors and publishing, which is really what I was reading this book for. I do hope to get into the publishing industry one day (even though I am really enjoying my current job in the non-profit philanthropy world…who knew?) and I feel like this book gave some good insight and interesting tidbits about the publishing world. I thought that Darcy was slightly annoying and her young age definitely showed itself sometimes, but she also felt very real. She had the insecurities of an 18-year-old, and she was sometimes frustratingly naïve. But that’s why I liked her. She wasn’t the stereotypical little-miss-perfect YA lead. She was even Indian and (gasp) a lesbian! Her culture and her sexuality didn’t play a huge role in the story, but it was nice to read about a different type of character for once.
The Afterworlds chapters were good, but not great. The story was similar to just about every overhyped YA paranormal romance book out there right now. It had moments I really liked, and it had some serious eye-rolling moments. I think the author was kind of making fun of and even satirizing the current YA canon. I think if you aren’t big on reading reviews and you don’t read a crapton of YA, this aspect might go over your head. But Westerfeld is a great writer, so I think his book was actually meant to be a little stereotypical.
This didn’t knock my socks off or anything, but I do think it was a worthwhile read. I think younger readers will enjoy it at face value and those of us who are older and a little more critical will see the satire in the Afterworlds chapters while still enjoying Darcy’s story and getting the inside scoop on the publishing world.