What if death is only the beginning?
When Harriet Stoker dies after falling from a balcony in a long-abandoned building, she discovers a world of ghosts with magical powers – shape-shifting, hypnosis, even the ability to possess the living. Felix, Kasper, Rima and Leah welcome her into their world, eager to make friends with the new arrival. Yet Harriet is more interested in unleashing her own power, even if it means destroying everyone around her. But when all of eternity is at stake, the afterlife can be a dangerous place to make an enemy.
I do adore Lauren James. She is a brilliant author and each and every book is so different from the last. This latest novel, The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker plays with time and space in a very different way to her previous books. Here she explores life after death.. amongst other things.
Harriet Stoker is exploring the dilapidated remains of Mulcture Hall. It’s her first year at the University of Warwick and she is trying to add some atmosphere to her photography project. Unfortunately for Harriet, she is about to fall foul of a nasty accident, an accident that will kill her. Dead. But that, dear reader, is not the end of Harriet’s story – in fact it is just the beginning.
As Harriet comes to term with the fact that her physical body and she have parted company, she soon becomes aware that Mulcture Hall is full of ghosts. The energy that bursts from her as she dies wakes the ghosts up. Some of them are incredibly friendly and please to see her, they take her under their wing and help her with life after death. It’s a little more complicated than one might think. It’s not long before Harriet discovers that’s she unable to leave Mulcture Hall, to do so would cause her to disintegrate – and nobody knows what happens then. Harriet is distraught as she thinks of her poor gran left alone at home. Her only desire is to somehow get back to her and let her know she isn’t alone.
But there are other ghosts – The tricksters – in the deepest darkest basement, these ghosts really aren’t very pleasant at all, they’ll think nothing of stealing every last drop of energy that is stopping you from disintegrating. The hunt for energy and power is all they crave. Harriet however, in her desparation, believes that she may be able to make a deal with them so they can help get her home to her gran. If anyone knows how, then surely the Tricksters do. Yet how much is she willing to sacrifice? Her new friends? Her new found ghostly powers? Her humanity? Before long Harriet is causing havoc and things are getting way out of control. Events that have been unfolding for over a thousand years suddenly come to a head and Harriet soon has to make a choice – one that could cost everything, including the afterlife.
Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. This story just runs at full throttle. Who knew that life could be so dangerous after death!? As with any fab YA novel it looks at the everyday issues of friendships, fitting in, sexuality, and of course of that one true power we hold inside each and every one of us that makes us who we are. It’s also about making mistakes and how we learn from them. It’s funny, at times scary, a little romantic but also features some rather awesome ghost fighting in a sucking out all the energy/tearing apart bodies kind of way. the cover is rather awesome too!
Thanks so much to the lovely team at Walker Books for inviting me to read and review this title. Can’t wait to get myself a printed copy. 🙂
About the author
Lauren James was born in 1992, and graduated in 2014 from the University of Nottingham, UK, where she studied Chemistry and Physics. She is the Carnegie-nominated British Young Adult author of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, The Quiet at the End of the World and The Next Together series.
She started writing during secondary school English classes, because she couldn’t stop thinking about a couple who kept falling in love throughout history. She sold the rights to the novel when she was 21, whilst she was still at university.
Her books have sold over fifty thousand copies in the UK alone, and been translated into five languages worldwide. She has been described as ‘Gripping romantic sci-fi’ by the Wall Street Journal and ‘A strange, witty, compulsively unpredictable read which blows most of its new YA-suspense brethren out of the water’ by Entertainment Weekly.
Her other novels include The Last Beginning, named one of the best LGBT-inclusive works for young adults by the Independent, and The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, which was inspired by a Physics calculation she was assigned at university. Lauren is a passionate advocate of STEM further education, and all of her books feature female scientists in prominent roles. The Quiet at the End of the World considers the legacy and evolution of the human race into the far future.
Lauren is published in the UK by Walker Books and in the US by HarperCollins. She lives in the West Midlands and is an Arts Council grant recipient. She has written articles for numerous publications, including the Guardian, Buzzfeed, The Toast, and the Children’s Writers and Artist’s Yearbook 2019. She teaches creative writing at university level, and works with Writing West Midlands, providing creative writing courses to children through the Spark Young Writers programme.
You can find her on Twitter at @Lauren_E_James, Tumblr at @laurenjames or her website http://www.laurenejames.co.uk, where you can subscribe to her newsletter to be kept up to date with her new releases and receive bonus content. – information via Amazon