Publication Date: June 5th, 2012
Amelia—still caught between life and death—must fight for every moment of her relationship with the human boy Joshua. They can hardly even kiss without Amelia accidentally dematerializing. Looking for answers, they go to visit some of Joshua’s Seer relatives in New Orleans. But even in a city so famously steeped in the supernatural, Amelia ends up with more questions than answers…and becomes increasingly convinced that she and Joshua can never have a future together.Wandering through the French Quarter, Amelia meets other in-between ghosts, and begins to seriously consider joining them. And then she meets Gabrielle. Somehow, against impossible odds, Gaby has found a way to live a sort of half-life...a half-life for which Amelia would pay any price. Torn between two worlds, Amelia must choose carefully, before the evil spirits of the netherworld choose for her.
(Courtesy of Goodreads)
Let's just start with the cover, because I always feel I should comment on that first, to get it out of the way. This cover is gorgeous and goes well with the cover of book number one, Hereafter. It's no secret that I think HarperTeen rules the publishing world when it comes to covers, and this is a prime example. Beautiful, eerie, and relevant to the story. Another win by the cover people at HarperTeen.
Now for what is between the pretty covers... I loved this book's predecessor, Hereafter (read my full review HERE). Arise was one of my most eagerly anticipated sequels of 2012, and I was beyond thrilled to get an advance copy of it (Thanks, HarperTeen!!). Hereafter ended with a lot of answers to the mysteries surrounding Amelia's life, death, and afterlife, but it also left me with a lot of questions... My biggest question was, "How do a ghost and a living human manage to have an intimate, fulfilling relationship without people thinking he is crazy?" Well, Arise answers that question and many more as the story within takes us from Oklahoma to the most haunted city in the United States, New Orleans...
I'm pretty certain I liked Arise even more than I liked Hereafter, and Hereafter was a pretty tough act to follow. I've always been a fan of ghost stories, and I've always been fascinated with the practices of Voodoo and the way religion is so deeply intertwined. Arise picks up right where Hereafter left off, and the story and the mysteries within intensify as Voodoo is brought into the mix. We meet some new characters and we get to know some of the characters from Hereafter a little better, for better of for worse. In fact, one of the things I liked about Arise was that you never REALLY knew who to trust... Were the good guys really good, and were the bad guys really bad? It all sorts out in the end, but you never know until then. All the same, I still liked all the characters, even the baddies usually had some quality that redeemed them in my eyes to some degree. What I liked best though, were the strong bonds of friendship that formed in this book and the romantic element. I'm usually not for the sappy romance in books, but it was well done here. No love triangle, just two people (even if one of them IS dead) who love each other intensely and at all costs. The love story element was beautiful.
Hereafter was a quick read for me because I didn't want to put it down. It was one of those books that kept me turning the pages because I had to have answers. Arise was no different. It was definitely a 24-hour read, and I have to say that I wasn't even a little bit pissed about the lack of sleep when I was finished! It was a spellbinding, intensely romantic, thrilling, and intricately woven tale of love, loss, family, and friendship. I can't wait for the release of the third book, Elegy, which should release sometime next year. I can firmly state that, after reading two of her books, Tara Hudson has solidly earned my fandom.
My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★++
Grade Level Recommendation: There are a few intense make-out scenes and some talk of sex and intimacy, but nothing graphic. The violence is more of the paranormal type, and if I were to give any cautionary advice, it would be that some of the aspects of voodoo might scare some very sensitive kids. Otherwise, I would say this book is fine for 6th grade and up (ages 11+).
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