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Reviewed by:
  • Denis Ever After by Tony Abbott
  • Karen Coats
Abbott, Tony Denis Ever After. Tegen/HarperCollins, 2018 [320p]
Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-06-249122-0 $16.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-06-249124-4 $7.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 5–8

Ever since his death at age seven, Denis has been living in a temporary afterlife village with his great-grandmother until they have forgotten or been forgotten by the living enough to fade and move on. Two things keep that from happening for Denis. First, he’s a twin, and his brother Matt still actively imagines Denis by his side, so Denis’ spirit is as robust as ever. Second, his death is an unsolved mystery, even for Denis himself, who doesn’t remember what happened in what was clearly some kind of crime. Approaching the five-year anniversary of his death, Denis feels the pull of the living more strongly than ever before, so he decides he must cross back over to the living so that he can solve the mystery and help his family move on. With its portrayal of a family on the verge of falling apart following the death of a child and the young person’s narration from the afterlife, this suggests The Lovely Bones shaped for a younger audience. Denis’ situation is more interactive and redemptive all around, though, as his presence provides not only information but comfort for Matt as they figure out how to guide the adults to truths that ultimately resolve much more than the mystery of Denis’ death. Serious subject matter is offset by Denis’ resilient sense of humor and love for his family, and the story is handled with remarkable grace and clear authorial respect for young people’s depth of feeling. [End Page 416]



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p. 416
Launched on MUSE
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