“Every so often a book comes along with a premise so fresh and arresting it seems to exist in a category all its own. “Elsewhere,” by Gabrielle Zevin, is such a book. Zevin’s touch is marvelously light even as she considers profundities, easily moving among humor, wisdom and lyricism… No plot synopsis can convey what a rich, wise spell this book casts.”The New York Times Book Review

Welcome to Elsewhere. It is warm, with a breeze, and the beaches are marvelous. It’s quiet and peaceful. You can’t get sick or any older. Curious to see new paintings by Picasso? Swing by one of Elsewhere’s museums. Need to talk to someone about your problems? Stop by Marilyn Monroe’s psychiatric practice.

Elsewhere is where fifteen-year-old Liz Hall ends up, after she has died. It is a place so like Earth, yet completely different. Here Liz will age backward from the day of her death until she becomes a baby again and returns to Earth. But Liz wants to turn sixteen, not fourteen again. She wants to get her driver’s license. She wants to graduate from high school and go to college. And now that she’s dead, Liz is being forced to live a life she doesn’t want with a grandmother she has only just met. And it is not going well. How can Liz let go of the only life she has ever known and embrace a new one? Is it possible that a life lived in reverse is no different from a life lived forward?

This moving, often funny book about grief, death, and loss will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned.

elsewhere audiobookAlso available in audiobook from Listening Library. Read by Cassandra Morris.

83 thoughts on “Elsewhere

  1. I recently read this book under request from a friend of mine. I loved the style of how you wrote it, I’ve never read any novel like it. The words, the phrases, all captured the setting very well. A really good book! Well done!

  2. I have read the book in English even though I speak Dutch. I loved every letter you wrote and I couldn’t stop reading! ”Elsewhere” is the best book I’ve ever read.

    Love and greetings from Belgium,
    Sarah xxx

  3. I love the idea of “where do you go after you die?” and I think you answered it really nicely. I’ve been working on an answer to that question (in novel form), and I was wondering if you could read the beginning (it’s only 2 pages). If not that’s okay… 🙂

  4. Thank you this book was truly beautiful, I read it in 24 hours and was completely gripped. Why have I not heard of this book before! What a beautiful concept and beautifully written.

  5. I loved this book so so much! It made you really start to think, and really enjoy life! I do have one question though as im doing a project on it. Was this book challanged and/or banned anywhere?

  6. This book has given me so many more perspectives on life, and I am truly inspired by it. This book wasn’t one I’d read and like and forget about; this is a book I would like to show my children, and pass down, announcing to anyone who would listen, this is my favorite book I’ve ever read, and I read a lot.

  7. I have lost both parents in the last five years and although I am no longer a young adult by any means, I found this book to be just what I needed. It was such a great take on what we might view about what happens after we pass. I like to think my parents are reunited in place like Elsewhere waiting to return to Earth. I have made sure to tell my niece who is an avid reader about this book. Thank you for such a great story!

  8. i read half the book so far and its great. but i have a question… can i get pictures of the characters? i have trouble picturing them in my head

  9. Elsewhere is hands down, the best book in the world. Hunger Games and Divergent were tied for 1st but not anymore. The ending was so sad I wanted to cry. I wish there was a sequel. Im going to go buy the book and read it over, and over again. BEST BOOK EVER!

  10. Hi! My 13 year old daughter’s book club picked your book Elsewhere to read:) Now there is parental objection because there is sexual content re: loss of virginity, parents have sex. I have not read your book, nor have the other parents. Has this been an issue before with Elsewhere? It is on our 8th grade summer reading list. Thank you so much, in advance for your response.

  11. As a freshman in college looking back at the summer reading over the last 6 years, I can honestly say that this was my favorite. I love the creativity of the entire concept. Thanks for the wonderful read!

  12. Hi I’m 13 & absolutely fell in love with your book & flew through it in less than an hour. But I found the ending very sad & was wondering if you have ever considered a sequel about liz’ next life? Or a meet with Owen again? Would love if you did because the ending made me tear up & was just curious about her next life.

  13. Hi , my name is catherine and elsewhere is my favorite book. This book really changed my point of view of afterlife. So, i just wanted to thank you for writing it.

  14. I always seem to reread this book. This is my favorite book I could feel like I can picture it so well.,, There isnt a book after this one is there?

    1. No Jenny there is not… I wish there was! I have read it multiple times myself! You can picture it can’t you! I wish the story could just continue on! It’s so well written I miss the characters when it is done! Would love to follow Liz to her next adventure! And then perhaps, elsewhere again… 🙂

  15. I love this book so much!! I read it a couple of years ago for the first time and it’s truly one of the best i have ever read 🙂
    Greetings from Uruguay !

  16. Hi! I read your book by recommendation of a friend and both her and me loved it! I think it’s safe to say that it is my favourite book! I am now reading memoirs of a teenage amnesiac and I hope I love it as much as I loved elsewhere!
    P.S this may sound weird but since I read elsewhere I actually believe that we go there when we have passed away!

  17. My friends and I read your book together and we all loved it. Thank you so much for giving us another outlook on the afterlife. I admit there were tears forming in my eyes when I finished the last page, it was just so well written. I will reread this when I have the chance, it’s an amazing book!

  18. I just finished reading Elsewhere again tonight… I say again because I can’t tell you how many times I have read it now.
    Some may think this is dumb but I so hope maybe someday you would consider writing a sequel… it could touch on the lives of these characters and the new life they enter… perhaps they somehow recall elsewhere or simple do the story of someone else.

    You just feel so drawn to these characters and story by the first page you wish it could continue on!

    Thank you for sharing your gift! I am sure I will read it again soon! 🙂

  19. This is a bit far fetched but maybe Liz was reborn to her best friend Zooey!!! This was a great book and really gave me a new prospective on life, although it was very sad at the end. It was as if she was dieing again but in another way. Of course, I would love a sequel as to the possibilities of her next life. Thank you.

    1. ohhhhhh my god!!! I thought that she could be zooey’s kid toooooo!!! and if there is another book I would love what we are thinking to be true!!

  20. I’ve always thought that some of the best and most prescious things in life are well hidden or lie beneath what’s called reality…
    when I read ‘Elsewhere’ I felt overwhelmed, sad, happy, curious, thoughtful, light- and heavy hearted.. what more can you ask for in a book? thanks a lot for writing this, it made me cry and laugh and appreciate this one (?) life I’m living.

  21. I really don’t understand the story-line but it was a good book. What i really don’t understand is how the book ends the way it did. I understand the aging backwards in elsewhere, but still don’t get how it works with the babies going back to Earth and how Liz just seems to be okay with it. I’m aware that she is not much more than a child at the time but I still don’t under stand and was more than a little disappointed with the ending. I honestly think that a second book continuing Liz’s life would help clarify several things such as what happens to her and Owen. The lack of information between the two was, once again, disappointing. Also I find it most uninformative that so meany years were not accounted for in “Elsewhere”

    1. What did you not understand?

      The babies go back to earth in order to be reborn, to start their new lives… they are born as new people – the mention of her as Liz is for our benefit…. she has now been born a new person… she is now “Sally” or whatever her parents rename her. As she ages she will not remember any of her old life. She is okay with things because as the last of who she is as Liz fads away she realizes she made the best of her old life… she was at peace with how it ended and she realizes the gift she was given, no matter how short it was. I think she and Owen continued to be friends, possibly lovers and almost like siblings there near the end.

      As for all the missing years… fill it in. The author can’t cover them all that would be long (and probably boring after a while) I imagine she lived life had a few adventures (took a few more dives with Owen perhaps).

      I do agree it would be interesting to have another book but I don’t know for sure how that would go.

  22. I’m 14 years old and I absolutely hate reading. But this one book? Well I love it so much. This is basically the ONLY book I will read. I highly recommend reading this book to whom have May not have read this!! Thank you so much for this book!!

  23. I just finished reading this novel for a book report for school and I loved it! Personally, I enjoyed how the timeline is simple and understandable. I also thought that the story line represented how life truly is. It showed how Liz became depressed about the loss of her own life. It also showed how love wasn’t always easy to find or easy to hold onto. I loved how the ending summarized most of their life and how as they became children(with most of their memory fading) they still continued to love each other.

  24. I absolutely love this novel! I was introduced to it when i was in Middle School by my reading teacher and have loved it since that first chapter. I bought it and introduced it to many of my friends and they really liked it as well. Just simply AMAZING!

  25. I have read Elsewhere more times than I can tell you and I love it more each time I do. It is one of my escape books. When I just need to/want to get away I pick up and re-read Elsewhere. I wish it could go on forever… I would be very interested in reading a book from Thandi’s perspective her life/death story! It would be so wonderful! I hope someday you will consider it. Until then I’ll continue to enjoy Elsewhere!

  26. G’day! I just read Elsewhere and I loved it!!! I’ve just started reading it the second time round! My school librarian Suggested I read it and I fell in love instantly!! I was staying up late till like 1:00am because I couldn’t put the book down! Now I keep asking myself why is this book not a movie yet!!! whyyyyyy!!!! Anyway I thank you Ms. Zevin for writing this book it is one of the best books I’ve read!! Elsewhere makes dying sound not so bad. Could you find a way to make this book a movie because I would watch it all day long!!!!

  27. To whoever said that she could become Zoey’s kid that would be AMAZING! I also agree with hoping for another book… I said in my comment last night that it would be cool to have the same Elsewhere story but this time it be Thandi’s!

  28. My absolute favorite book! I could read it over and over again. Whenever I feel down, or afraid of the future, I think of Elsewhere, and keep the quote “…life is kind…” in my mind. Thank you for writing such an incredible book! 😀

  29. I got this book for my 16th birthday from parents just after a friend passed away. I loved it, even though I was never a very good reader I read it 10 or more times. I lent this book to a family friend who had just been diagnosed with cancer at 15 and she put it back on her book shelf by accident. Just a few weeks ago on my 21st birthday my beautiful friend lost her battle. Her parents gave me a box of things that she wanted me to have when she died, inside that box was this book and a little letter saying sorry I just couldn’t let this book go. I keep it on my bedside table to read whenever I get a chance to read. You are an amazing writer

  30. omg i cant say how many times i have read elsewhere!!! elsewhere is one of the most amazing books i have ever read by far. (13 and i’ve read more than 450 books :D) elsewhere and actually all the other books (All These Things I’ve Done, Because It Is My Blood, and In The Age Of Love And Chocolate) are amazing books written by you. job well done!!!

  31. My best friend recommended this book to me. And I loved it so much. It was probably the best book I’ve ever read so far in my life. Gabrielle you have a great imagination.

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