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Reviewed by Arya Fomonyuy for Readers' Favorite
Afterdeath by Benoit Chartier is a well-crafted tale that will interest fans of young adult paranormal stories. The story starts on a very dismal note that will immediately enable the reader to connect with the compelling characters: “No angels showed up at Grandma Rose’s funeral. Not a whole lot of actual people did, either. Apart from the dutifully stern/sad-looking funeral lady, there was me and Olivia.” And from this moment, the story grows in emotional and psychological intensity as the reader follows Chloe and Olivia Borders, who have just suffered the devastating loss of the one last member of what was once a family to them, their grandmother, Rose.
Olivia and Chloe never enjoyed the luxury of being parented by their own parents, who died while they were still young. And for a while now, their grandmother has been distant from them, cut off from their lives because of Alzheimer's. After her passing, they decide to go on a road trip, hoping to leave all the sadness behind them, but then they have an adventure with death, and is there any way of coming back home?
Benoit Chartier is a great writer and he has the skill of making readers care about his characters. There is a kind of sadness about Olivia and Chloe that comes out powerfully in the narrative and that rubs off easily on the reader; the pathos is exacting and the story has great emotional depth. The story is fast-paced and it has the kinds of surprises that readers won’t see coming. Afterdeath is character-driven, featuring an exciting plot and strong themes like family, love, friendship, life and death. An entertaining read for fans of the genre!