Madison wants to be clear. She is dead. She is stuck in a dark place pulsing with energy. The only things she sees are lost items from her life. Each one takes her back to a moment when she was alive. A lost orchid takes her back to getting to know Gabe, her boyfriend. A rattle takes her back to when she was an infant. Only when she revisits a hair clip she lost at a slumber party does she encounter another ghost. As the girls play with a Oujia Board, Madison realizes she is not the only spirit watching this scene. Using the board, the ghost reveals she’s Tammy and that she’s sorry Madison is dead. Madison has no idea what happened to her, but she does not have any memories past the age 17. Her lost physics homework takes her to Gabe, who she soon realizes is also dead. Together they witness what ended Madison’s life. Only then can they move onto the Everafter.
I really liked how the author uses lost items to connect Madison back to her life. The nonlinear story telling keeps us guessing about what happened to Madison. It also gives us glimpses about Madison as Huntley slowly builds her as a character. I love it when a young adult writers use the classics as their muse. Huntley shares the Emily Dickenson poem, “My Life Closed Twice Before Its Close.” Madison uses this poem to write an English paper, somehow forshadowing what is to come.
“My life closed twice before its close;
It yet remains to see
If Immortality unveil
A third event to me,” – Dickenson
Some Ideas For Discussion With Teens:
If appropriate, talk about how the teen’s beliefs about the afterlife differ from the author’s idea. Or maybe they are the same.
Talk about the Emily Dickinson poem and about how that forshadows two deaths. What could the third even be?
Why do you think the author chose lost things as a way to reconnect with life?
Which lost item affected you the most?
Think of a lost item from your own life that is significant.
Discuss the Ouiji Board and how the game is played.
It took a while for the cause of Madison’s death to be revealed. How did you think she died? Did you expect what happened?