Elsewhere: A Novel by Gabrielle ZevinElsewhere: A Novel by Gabrielle Zevin

Elsewhere: A Novel

byGabrielle ZevinAs told byGabrielle Zevin

Paperback | May 15, 2007

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Is it possible to grow up while getting younger?

Welcome to Elsewhere. It is warm, with a breeze, and the beaches are marvelous. It's quiet and peaceful. You can't get sick or any older. Curious to see new paintings by Picasso? Swing by one of Elsewhere's museums. Need to talk to someone about your problems? Stop by Marilyn Monroe's psychiatric practice.

Elsewhere is where fifteen-year-old Liz Hall ends up, after she has died. It is a place so like Earth, yet completely different. Here Liz will age backward from the day of her death until she becomes a baby again and returns to Earth. But Liz wants to turn sixteen, not fourteen again. She wants to get her driver's license. She wants to graduate from high school and go to college. And now that she's dead, Liz is being forced to live a life she doesn't want with a grandmother she has only just met. And it is not going well. How can Liz let go of the only life she has ever known and embrace a new one? Is it possible that a life lived in reverse is no different from a life lived forward?

This moving, often funny book about grief, death, and loss will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned.

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin is a 2006 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

Gabrielle Zevin is the author of award-winning books for young adults including Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac, and books for adults including The Hole We're In and Margarettown. She was also the screenwriter for Conversations with Other Women, which received an Independent Spirit Award nomination. Of her writing, The New York Times Boo...
Title:Elsewhere: A NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 8.28 × 5.46 × 0.81 inPublished:May 15, 2007Publisher:Square FishLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0312367465

ISBN - 13:9780312367466

Appropriate for ages: 13 - 17


Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favourite books! I read this wonderful book in grade 10 and chose to do my report on it. I had never been so excited to talk about a novel before! Really interesting concept, and distinctly human characters with believable thoughts and emotions. Can't recommend it enough!
Date published: 2018-02-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Unique Concept! Not just another book about death and the afterlife. This book takes death and creates a whole new idea with the concept of getting younger again after one dies. I read this as a teen but I think that this book could appeal to a variety of ages. Although this book is about death it still has humor and romance.
Date published: 2017-12-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must-read! I've read this book numerous times over the last decade or so. Although it's recommended for teens, I think it's a great read for all ages. The idea of life in "Elsewhere" after death and reverse aging is almost comical, but very intriguing. This novel is definitely one of my favourites!
Date published: 2017-05-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVE THIS BOOK read it in the 7th grade and it still intrigues me a great boom that discusses death and the after life
Date published: 2017-05-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Unexpected and enjoyable The story is entertaining and makes the reader think about what does happen after death and how your loved ones can still be with you, even though they have passed. Even though the story deals with the afterlife, it is humourous, a bit romantic and a bit sad.
Date published: 2017-04-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from quick read Interesting book. I enjoyed it
Date published: 2017-01-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Book Quick read. Very unique, loved the story.
Date published: 2016-11-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this! very interesting read on a version of afterlife. thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Date published: 2016-02-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Elsewhere An excellent, unique version of the afterlife. A great read.
Date published: 2014-04-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Okay... I love afterlife books. Elsewhere could've been better but I really liked the whole idea. Everyone in this world dies a certain way and they still get to have fun living in the afterlife, watching over their loved ones who are stuck in the real life. It became boring at times, that's my confession. I wish it was more deeper, I wish the novel had some meaning to it... it's definitely not the best contemporary novel I've read. No way.
Date published: 2014-03-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Elsewhere This has proven to be an excellent choice for my ninth graders; it has got them reading, thinking and sharing. Liz is a teenager even boys can identify with. The idea of 'elsewhere' and life there is truly thought provoking.
Date published: 2014-01-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Elsewhere This book was unique, original and inventive. Elsewhere is an unexpected yet refreshing take on what happens after death.
Date published: 2014-01-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved This Novel! This book had a captivating, emotional and beautiful storyline as well as a unique idea on life after death. I thouroughly enjoyed reading this novel, and found it difficult to put down. Writing this review actually makes me want to read it again, it was THAT enjoyable. I recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys romance, suspence, mystery, and teen fiction.
Date published: 2012-07-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Gorgeous! One of my favorite books of all times. It keeps you locked in a trance as you walk with Liz through her beautiful story. Even after I put it down, I was still thinking about it for days. Gabrielle Zevin does an amazing job to create a world that makes us wonder if there is really life after death.
Date published: 2012-01-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from One can only wonder This book makes you really think about afterlife. I mean many would find it totally cool to life in a world where you get younger. I mean, isn't that what adults are always complaining about? Saying that they want to be young again? Of course! So how cool would that be? But no. In the book, Liz is scared, depressed, about being in this world. And honestly, I don't blame her. Dying at a young age, without getting to live your life. That would be so hard! And then there's the torture of watching your family and friends, knowing that they can't hear or see you. It's a really sad story and I loved it. It actually helped me to accept death, which is somehting that I have been fearing for a very long time. And maybe, if you read it, it'll help you too! :)
Date published: 2011-12-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Elsewhere? Elsewhere was a fantastic book. I would definitly reccomend it! The book was easy to read from front to back and it was extremly interesting. The only problem was that, when I was reading the book, I had alot of questions that only got partly answered when the book finished. Also, the book was so sad in the beginning and end, I cried my eyes out and even cried when explaining the book to some one. Although, I think it's very rare that other people will cry. Overall, the writer uses a unique writing style, that will make you remember the book for a long long time. If elswhere really was were people go when they die it would make a lot of sense and im starting to belive that it is true, however, frankly, I don't want Elsewhere to be heaven, becuase you won't last forever there.
Date published: 2010-08-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Finding Hope When All Is Lost This is good for those who often wonder about what happens after death. I love this take on that idea. Liz dies when she is fifteen and wakes up to find herself on a giant boat thats taking her and others to a place called Elsewhere. In Elsewhere life is a lot like life on earth but there is a universal language between all species. There are still jobs and houses and pets. The thing that is interesting in elsewhere is that you age backwards from the day you died until you are a baby and are born again to another family on Earth. Liz goes through struggles in elsewhere. She is in complete denial at first but finds a new life after death. This is a story of friendship, love, loss, and finding hope when all seems lost.
Date published: 2010-05-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One word; Awesome i absolutely loved this book. I wish it kept going on and on. I was so addicted to this book. I recommend this book for others to read.
Date published: 2010-05-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely Superb ;D Out of all the books I've read, and that's alot, Elsewhere is my absolute favorite. I recommend it to all of my friends. My mother read it, and she never reads, and now she wants to read practically all of my books! It took me a little while to get into it, and if you're having that problem with this book, just keep reading, you'll get into it eventually! I was like crying by the end, it's a beautiful book, and an amazing read.
Date published: 2009-08-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from BEST BOOK EVER Elsewhere was the most amazing book I have ever read…it was heartwarming, sad, funny and moving. I didn’t think I was going to like it, I’m not a fan of reading about after life, but Gabrielle Zevin did such an amazing job with this book. If you have looked at this book and thought that you wouldn’t like it or if you haven’t even heard of it I suggest you go right now and buy or borrow it from a friend, I promise you will not be disappointed.
Date published: 2009-07-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Nice take on the afterlife (: This book was preetty much talking about what happens after you die. It was pretty much like your normal life, except you`re aging backwards - which is soooo neat. This book was really good in my opinion, but some parts quickened up quite a bit, but I think it`s only to make the book less lengthy. Nice book overall, and a thumbs up xD 4.5/5
Date published: 2009-06-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from SUCH A GOOD BOOK! oh my gosh! i absolutely am in LOVE with this book! its just so creative and a m a z i n g! :) seriously.. just go out and read it. Its very captivating and not to mention, it is one of Emma Roberts' favourite books! Excellent page turner! Can't wait to read more from this author.
Date published: 2009-02-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from thought provoking and entertaining incredibly well written and imaginative. definitely perfect for the girl who likes her books a little sappy. i only hope the afterlife is something like Elsewhere.
Date published: 2008-12-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Superb Tale I heard about this book while I was in Chapters, and I had to get it. It talks about life after death, but not in a gorey, humorless way, but with an interesting, fun dialect. Marilyn Monroe is a waitress, in "Elsewhere", and Elvis is a fisherman. I found it funny, but also very close to my heart. The main character in the novel has just died, and the book covers her struggles as she watches over her family and friends as they get over her death and go on with their lives. THe ending was truly heart warming and it was a stellar read !
Date published: 2008-10-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Makes you wonder When I first read what this book was about I knew i had to read it. Liz dies in an accident and ends up in a world where everyone ages backwards until they are reborn again into the world. The idea is just so interesting to me. She has to come to terms that she is dead, and move on with the 'life' that she has and the people (and animals) that are there with her. It made me smile once Id finished it. Definite read.
Date published: 2008-09-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A - MAZING I thought that the book was great and very interseting! a very good plot line. it was extremely hard for me to put the book down! it was a great read!
Date published: 2008-07-31
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Good story line, but needed something more. The book had a very interesting plot line, something I had never seen done before but it didn't satisfy me totally. It could be because the writing style was kind of weak. Nothing against the author, it just didn't meet me expectations in that way. Besides the writing style, the story was unique and very interesting.
Date published: 2008-06-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Read! This book was amazing! I got it as a gift and I absolutely ADORED IT! It has excellent flow and is hard to put down. The author creates a wonderful idea of after life without using any religious material. I would recommend this to young, old, ANYONE!
Date published: 2008-04-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Refreshing... Once in a while comes a book that makes you smile, not necessarily laugh...but smile. This is one of them. If you are looking for a different read, I would definitely recommend this book. And if someone in your life just lost a loved one, or is sick...recommend this book. It is one of those "feel good" books.
Date published: 2008-02-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Refreshingly Unique Novel Elsewhere is a must read for any female teenager or young adult. It's unique, and creative.This has to be one of the best books I've read simply because of the way its written and the different ideas of after-life presented in the book. It's refreshing to find a book that is a little different than the typical non-fiction young adult/ teenage novels of our time. I originally read it at 15 but re-read it five years later and still loved it just as much. I would recommended it in a heartbeat!
Date published: 2007-08-23

Read from the Book

ELSEWHERE (chapter 1)At SeaElizabeth Hall wakes in a strange bed in a strange room with the strange feeling that her sheets are trying to smother her.Liz (who is Elizabeth to her teachers; Lizzie at home, except when she's in trouble; and just plain Liz everywhere else in the world) sits up in bed, bumping her head on an unforeseen upper bunk. From above, a voice she does not recognize protests, "Aw hell!"Liz peers into the top bunk, where a girl she has never seen before is sleeping, or at least trying to. The sleeping girl, who is near Liz's own age, wears a white nightgown and has long dark hair arranged in a thatch of intricately beaded braids. To Liz, she looks like a queen."Excuse me," Liz asks, "but would you happen to know where we are?"The girl yawns and rubs the sleep out of her eyes. She glances from Liz to the ceiling to the floor to the window and then to Liz again. She touches her braids and sighs. "On a boat," she answers, stifling another yawn."What do you mean 'on a boat'?""There's water, lots and lots of it. Just look out the window," she replies before cocooning herself in the bedclothes. "Of course, you might have thought to do that without waking me.""Sorry," Liz whispers.Liz looks out the porthole that is parallel to her bed. Sure enough, she sees hundreds of miles of early-morning darkness and ocean in all directions, blanketed by a healthy coating of fog. If she squints, Liz can make out a boardwalk. There, she sees the forms of her parents and her little brother, Alvy. Ghostly and becoming smaller by the second, her father is crying and her mother is holding him. Despite the apparent distance, Alvy seems to be looking at Liz and waving. Ten seconds later, the fog swallows her family entirely.Liz lies back in bed. Even though she feels remarkably awake, she knows she is dreaming, for several reasons: one, there is no earthly way she would be on a boat when she is supposed to be finishing tenth grade; two, if this is a vacation, her parents and Alvy, unfortunately, should be with her; and three, only in dreams can you see things you shouldn't see, like your family on a boardwalk from hundreds of miles away. Just as Liz reaches four, she decides to get out of bed. What a waste, she thinks, to spend one's dreams asleep.Not wanting to further disturb the sleeping girl, Liz tiptoes across the room toward the bureau. The telltale sign that she is, indeed, at sea comes from the furniture: it is bolted to the floor. While she does not find the room unpleasant, Liz thinks it feels lonely and sad, as if many people had passed through it but none had decided to stay.Liz opens the bureau drawers to see if they are empty. They are: not even a Bible. Although she tries to be very quiet, she loses her grip on the last drawer and it slams shut. This has the unfortunate effect of waking the sleeping girl again."People are sleeping here!" the girl yells."I'm sorry. I was just checking the drawers. In case you were wondering, they're empty," Liz apologizes, and sits on the lower bunk. "I like your hair by the way."The girl fingers her braids. "Thanks.""What's your name?" Liz asks."Thandiwe Washington, but I'm called Thandi.""I'm Liz."Thandi yawns. "You sixteen?""In August," Liz replies."I turned sixteen in January." Thandi looks into Liz's bunk. "Liz," she says, turning the one syllable of Liz's name into a slightly southern two, Li-iz, "you mind if I ask you a personal question?""Not really.""The thing is"--Thandi pauses--"well, are you a skinhead or something?""A skinhead? No, of course not." Liz raises a single eyebrow. "Why would you ask that?""Like, 'cause you don't have hair." Thandi points to Liz's head which is completely bald except for the earliest sprouts of light blond growth.Liz strokes her head with her hand, enjoying the odd smoothness of it. What hair there is feels like the feathers on a newborn chick. She gets out of bed and looks at her reflection in the mirror. Liz sees a slender girl of about sixteen with very pale skin and greenish blue eyes. The girl, indeed, has no hair."That's strange," Liz says. In real life, Liz has long, straight blond hair that tangles easily."Didn't you know?" Thandi asks.Liz considers Thandi's question. In the very back of her mind, she recalls lying on a cot in the middle of a blindingly bright room as her father shaved her head. No. Liz remembers that it wasn't her father. She thought it was her father, because it had been a man near her father's age. Liz definitely remembers crying, and hearing her mother say, "Don't worry, Lizzie, it will all grow back." No, that isn't right either. Liz hadn't cried; her mother had been the one crying. For a moment, Liz tries to remember if this episode actually happened. She decides she doesn't want to think about it any longer, so she asks Thandi, "Do you want to see what else is on the boat?""Why not? I'm up now." Thandi climbs down from her bunk."I wonder if there's a hat in here somewhere," says Liz. Even in a dream, Liz isn't sure she wants to be the freaky bald girl. She opens the closet and looks under the bed: both are as empty as the bureau."Don't feel bad about your hair, Liz," Thandi says gently."I don't. I just think it's weird," Liz says."Hey, I've got weird things, too." Thandi raises her canopy of braids like a theater curtain. "Ta da," she says, revealing a small but deep, still-red wound at the base of her skull.Although the wound is less than a half inch in diameter, Liz can tell it must have been the result of an extremely serious injury."God, Thandi, I hope that doesn't hurt.""It did at first; it hurt like hell, but not anymore." Thandi lowers her hair. "I think it's getting better actually.""How did you get that?""Don't remember," says Thandi, rubbing the top of her head as if she could stimulate her memory with her hands. "It might have happened a long time ago, but it could have been yesterday, too, know what I mean?"Liz nods. Although she doesn't think Thandi makes any sense, Liz sees no point in arguing with the crazy sorts of people one meets in a dream."We should go," Liz says.On the way out, Thandi casts a cursory glance at herself in the mirror. "You think it matters that we're both wearing pj's?" she asks.Liz looks at Thandi's white nightgown. Liz herself is wearing white men's-style pajamas. "Why would it matter?" Liz asks, thinking it far worse to be bald than underdressed. "Besides, Thandi, what else do you wear while you're dreaming?" Liz places her hand on the doorknob. Someone somewhere once told Liz that she must never, under any circumstances, open a door in a dream. Since Liz can't remember who the person was or why all doors must remain closed, she decides to ignore the advice.ELSEWHERE. Copyright 2005 by Gabrielle Zevin.

Editorial Reviews

"A work of powerful beauty. This inventive novel slices right to the bone of human yearning, offering up an indelible vision of life and death as equally rich sides of the same coin." -Booklist, Starred Review"With an intriguing and well-developed premise, thoughtful characterization, and refreshing style, Zevin's poignant novel rewards readers with a view of death that celebrates the rich complexities of being alive." -The Horn Book, Starred Review"Intriguing. Surely guides readers through the bumpy landscape of strongly delineated characters dealing with the most difficult issue that faces all of us. Provides much to think about and discuss." -School Library Journal, Starred Review"Zevin's touch is marvelously light even as she considers profundities, easily moving among humor, wisdom and lyricism. . . . No plot synopsis can convey what a rich, wise spell this book casts." -The New York Times Book Review"Elsewhere is a funny, fast-paced, and fascinating novel. The concept is completely out there and yet the emotions are so weirdly realistic. I loved reading the story of Liz's life (death?)." -Carolyn Mackler, author of The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things and Vegan Virgin Valentine"An unusual premise and a thoughtful treatment make Zevin's first effort at writing for young adults a success. Will captivate teens ready for a thought-provoking read. Hopeful and engaging." -Kirkus Reviews"Funny and pensive, happy and heartbreaking. Readers from a broad range of beliefs will find this a quirky and touching exploration of the Great Beyond." -The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books"Fascinating. Zevin, in her first novel for young people, bends the laws of physics and biology to create an intricately imagined world." -Publishers Weekly"A fun and thought-provoking page-turner. Readers . . . will relish Zevin's lively imagination and her fast-moving plot. Buy this book for them." -VOYA"Great humor and speculation, on pets as well as people." -Chicago Tribune"Zevin presents an intriguing concept of the afterlife in her first novel for young adults." -Cleveland Plain Dealer (paperback edition review)"A charming story about growing up, Elsewhere encourages the reader to look toward the future and to expect the unexpected." -Armchair Interviews (paperback edition)