Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
There were moments when I really loved this, and moments when I thought it needed work. Example? Darcy, the 18-year-old writer, felt like the author had a character checklist he went through as he created her (lesbian? check. non-white? check. insecure? check.). Another example? Darcy's sister, supposedly 14, was one of those "overly wise beyond her years" types. The budget Darcy has, with $3500/month in rent and then $17/day for food was completely unrealistic: what happened to utilities?
The insidery bits about debut writers and the YA literature scene, including questions about appropriating outsider culture/mythology when you're not part of that culture, may give readers something to think about. At times, like during the YA drinks scene, readers will feel like a fly on the wall in the characters lives. The novel (written during NaNoWriMo but for some reason that's never named, it's only "November") Darcy writes is also promising. If only the original mythology of Yama had been explored. And the relationship Darcy has with Gen, as well her reactions to the other YA lit stars, are very realistic. Still, the pacing and the humor will appeal and leave readers wanting more.
ARC provided by publisher.