Book Review: Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton

Afterwards by Rosamund LuptonAfterwards: What it is about

This story is told by a woman, Grace, who is in a coma in hospital. She has an outer-body experience and discovers that her daughter, 17-year old Jenny, is in the exact same situation. Together, they look around the hospital and listen in on conversations between their family, friends, police, and others, as these are trying to discover what exactly happened.

Grace and Jenny know part of the story, but Jennifer can’t remember all that happened: they were at the private school where Grace’s young son is a pupil and Jenny is working temporarily as an assistant. That day, a fire started in the school, and Grace went inside the burning building to recover Jenny, whom she knew was still inside. Both are badly burned.

Afterwards: What I thought

This was a really good book, although at first I had my doubts about the “ghost” that was telling the story. An outer-body experience sounds OK, but one that lasts for hours and in which the person can travel in a car to different places? It was rather odd. Also, even though they are not in their bodies, Grace and Jenny could see, hear, and smell everything they were near, and, maybe weirdest of all, they could talk to each other and keep each other company!

But if you look beyond that, it’s a well set-out mystery with some medical drama, because it’s far from certain that both mother and daughter will wake up from their coma. They are severely wounded, and spend most of their time outside their body. They follow Mike, the husband and father, around, who talks to some of the people involved in the school or in the investigation for arson. Mike’s sister is a policewoman, so she is an interesting person for them to follow, too, as she researches the case.

(Too) conveniently, a lot of the questioning is done at the hospital so the two comatose women don’t have to travel far. The eventual outcome of the investigation was a little too complex for me, involving more people than I think was necessary.

But the reading experience was good, and I enjoyed the rather strange narrator (a comatose woman out of her body). This reminded me a little of Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger, which also involves people moving in and out of bodies.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (good to very good)

Number of pages:

First published: 2012

I got this: I won this book from the Dutch publishers, in the Dutch translation, Later.

Genre: mystery


About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

23 Responses to Book Review: Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton

  1. Georgia says:

    I bought Afterwards because her previous book “Sister” was absolutely amazing….I remember reading the last page and I was left speechless!Anyway,Afterwards was not as good,I was quite disappointed!!

    • Leeswammes says:

      Fun, Georgia! I thought Afterwards was better than Sister! I didn’t like the twist at the end of Sister, where everything had to be seen in a different light. It seems you loved that.

  2. Mystica says:

    I found it a bit difficult at first to reconcile the mother and daughter both unconscious and having this relationship. Once I got over that I found the story fascinating.

  3. I could definitely get past the strangeness for a good mystery. I’m definitely going to put this on my TBR pile!

  4. booketta says:

    I loved this book too and gave it 4 stars.

  5. I got so excited about her first book, that I couldn’t wait for this one to get to the United States, so I bought it at Heathrow en route during my travels. Usually, I leave my paperbacks behind after I read them, but I brought this one home. I really like this author – do you know when her next book is coming out? Any any others you can recommend while I have another stop at LHR this Fall?

  6. Caroline says:

    I had no idea about the ghost aspect but since you felt the same about Sister (Iliked it but thought the end wasn’t satisfying) I’ll give this a go.

  7. I thought this was a brilliant read with an unusual narrator and I loved Sister too. Glad you enjoyed it Judith.

  8. I loved Sister, but just couldn’t get into this. The ghost aspect really put me off!

  9. JoV says:

    I read Sisters and yet to read this. I didn’t know a ghost was narrating the story! I must read this. 🙂 How are you Judith? Hope all is well.

  10. Isi says:

    THis is the first review I read of this book, and I was really interesting because I have a copy in Spanish too and I was looking forward to giving this author a try because her previous book was very popular here. I will tell you my thoughts soon, I hope.
    I’m glad you liked it!

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