Monday 14 December 2020

The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker

The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker by Lauren James (Walker Books) PB RRP $18.99 ISBN 9781406391121

Reviewed by Claire Stuckey

Harriet has just started university and wants to get good marks, so she decides to take some photographs in a derelict building on campus that some say is haunted. Falling to her death, she is welcomed by a group of ghosts who befriend her providing the facts about existing in the afterlife.  Each of the first group she meets have quite different characteristics, but all offer her friendship, something she has never known.

We soon discover, as Harriet learns more about the powers a ghost could have and use, that she wants more.  She goes on a rampage of destruction unaware of the long-term consequences of her greed. As the story unfolds, we learn more about each ghost character, and how ghosts can be powerful, weakened, and disintegrate. While the peace has been kept for decades in the building, Harriet’s reckless deeds provide a catalyst for change and require incredible bravery to fight the evil unleashed. With a second unknown narrator delivering morsels of information between chapters readers are kept wondering what will happen next. 

This is a great story, and the title is correct: Harriet is reckless! Open this book if you dare to be intrigued and engaged with a plot and narrative that grabs you from the first chapter. Highly recommended for 14 years old plus.

Adults will enjoy this rollercoaster ride through the afterlife with a twist at the end.

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