Elsewhere – Gabrielle Zevin (@gabriellezevin)

“Sorry, but nothing of much importance ever happened to me … I’m just a girl who forgot to look both ways before crossing the street.”


The saying, “Never judge a book by its cover” held true to this book. I looked at it and thought this looks so primary schoolish  (yes it’s a word … my word!) and I’ll read it to make my sister happy (Babongile – my peer pressure when it comes to books to read). So I read …

Elizabeth Hall is a fifteen-year-old girl, looking forward to turning the big 16 and probably has plans to live her whole life and worry her parents, annoy her younger brother and love her dog. Her life is suddenly ended at that tender age of fifteen. She wakes up on board a ship to ‘Elsewhere’ and is still to realise she is dead. It takes her a while to realise that her life has ended and she befriends her roommate (also dead) who decides not to be a party pooper and tell Liz (as she’s affectionately called) that she is indeed a goner. Liz asks herself many questions as she goes through ‘life’ on Elsewhere. It seems like a planet or place very similar to Earth, people have jobs, houses, need to eat, sleep and and and … with just one little technicality … they age backwards.

This comes with a realisation to Liz that she will never turn 16 as Elizabeth Hall, never get her first kiss and many other firsts that a longer life would’ve afforded her. The good thing, she finally gets to meet her grandmother, Betty, her mother’s side. Betty would love to be a typical grandmother but doesn’t quite know how to as she died before Liz was born.

At some stage, we ask ourselves about death or an after-life. We ask ourselves what happens when we die, where do we go, can we keep an eye on our loved ones, and the list goes on. This book offers a perspective, whether it’s true or not, that is up to you and your mind to decide. This is a good book with an awkward cover and I’m glad that I didn’t let the cover stop me from reading the book.

If you’re interested in Zevin’s story, news and other books, go and check out her website at this link: https://gabriellezevin.com/

-Phumzile Z

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