Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

ElsewhereThis book was recommended to me by one of my students. (Tangent- how great is it that I already have students recommending books to me in the first 3 weeks?). I picked it up in the bookstore last night and didn’t put it down until I finished it in reading workshop this afternoon. It is an absolutely amazing book! I highly recommend picking it up. I am shocked I haven’t seen it on many required reading lists. I know my student did read it because an older sibling chose to read it for summer reading, but I see so many possibilities for using this book in the classroom!

The main character, Lizzie (Elizabeth, Liz) is a 15-year old girl who is killed in a hit and run accident. “Elsewhere” is the story of her ‘ afterlife ‘- Elsewhere is where you go after you die. As one would expect, Lizzie is furious that her life was taken from her so suddenly. She struggles with meeting the grandmother who died before she was born, and people she admired from afar in life, like a famous rock star. She is not perfect, she misses Earth, and more than anything wants to live a normal prom and boyfriend-filled life back on earth. I don’t want to write any more than that because this book is an absolute must- read. It challenges your beliefs about life, death, love, and the afterlife. Zelvin writes beautifully and was constantly making me say “wow!” Run out and get this book!

I love having my students recommend books to me. Nothing gives me a greater feeling than having a student say, “What part are you at? Oh my gosh, that is my favorite part! Tell me what you think after this chapter”! I can already tell this is going to be an amazing year in reading workshop. I can also tell I will be buying a lot of recommendations to add to our library!!

Alright, I’m off to read “A Mango-Shaped Space”, another recommendation from a student!

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