by Neil Shusterman [j Shusterman/YA Shusterman]
The front inside flap of Everwild reveals that the limbo world is now at war, accounts of which are certainly engrossing. But there are other aspects of the second book in Shusteman's series that captivated my heart. For example, because in Everlost "all things that have earned immortality remain forever in glory", Shusterman puts himself in the enviable position of being able to offer recognition to real tragedies. Perhaps the most notable instance is that of the twin towers, whch are held forever in Everlost "by the memories of a mourning world, and by the dignity of the souls" who died that day. I'm struck by the number of historical events to which Shusterman pays homage. The most prevalent is that of the Hindenhurg, a German passenger airship that infamously exploded on May 6, 1937, while attempting to dock in New Jersey. Another is that of the space shuttle Challenger, about which Shusterman writes, "Ask anyone who was alive at the time, and they will still remember where they were the moment that the shuttle Challenger blew up just thirty-three seconds after lifting off from Cape Canaveral". (Indeed I do. On that dreadful day, I stood in the student union at Judson College, unopened mail forgotten in my hand as I stared aghast at the horrifying television images.) Other tributes are less tragic. The Grand Ole Opry, a weekly country music concert in Nashville that made country music famous, takes center stage in a few chapters. One of the quirks of the Everlost world is that its inhabitants soon start to forget who they are. The first memory to go is of one's name. Most other memories are eventually lost too, which may or may not be so bad except that one becomes whatever memory survives. When Nick wages war against Mary Hightower, his strongest memory is of the chocolate bar which he'd smeared on his face just before the accident, and soon it becomes his dominant memory and thereby endangers his very existence. As it turns out, it's hard to stay alive when one is slowly melting into a pool of chocolate! When another character, Mickey, finds himself sinking into the ground, his anger is what allows him to be successful where others fail. Unfortunately, his anger is what also causes him to develop claws and other monstrous features, until his very nature is corrupted and twisted. While no one can be killed (again) in Everlost, feel pain, or even get injured, one can be tied up, imprisoned, and made to endure other tortures from monsters such as The McGill. -- review submitted by Allison H.-F. - a customer of the Bennett Martin Public Library
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