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  Grade 10 Reviews
  Everwils by Neal Shusterman

Review by: Alecia D.
Ohio, Grade 10

Someone once said that ''when you die, you are dead. There is no afterlife afterwards.'' If that were true then the story I'm about to tell you would be impossible, because without an afterlife, a place like Everlost could not exist, and Everwild, the uncharted parts of Everlost, couldn't be explored. Everwild is the second book in the skinjacker trilogy, written by Neal Shusterman, and is categorized within the fantasy genre. Teenagers and young adults who love fantasy would enjoy reading this book.
The trilogy begins within a place known as Everlost in the 21st century. Everlost is a place between life and death. It is a place where only children go if they lose their way when heading towards the light. Some are still living but unable to awaken, and others are dead but are not ready to move on.
In the first book we met Mary Hightower, Mikey McGill, Allie the outcast, and Nick. Mary, known as the ''Sky Witch,'' is considered affectionate by some and devious by others. She believes that by keeping children stuck in Everlost, she is helping them. In reality, she is trapping the children, because without them she knows she would be nothing. In the first book, she established herself as a motherly-like figure to all Afterlights, children in Everlost, in her care. Mikey, once known as the monstrous ''McGill,'' is quite mysterious at times but can also be friendly. He is very protective of Allie and is very distrustful of others. He has a gift that not many have. He is able to change his appearance at will. Allie is considered to be determined, adventurous, courageous, and somewhat rebellious. She, like Mikey, has a gift that not many others have. She is able to ''skinjack,'' or possess, the living. Nick, known as the ''Chocolate Ogre,'' is a part Chinese boy who, at the time of his death, has chocolate on his face. Over time the chocolate begins to spread through half of his body as he forgot his true appearance, hence the name ''Chocolate Ogre.'' He is selfless, kind, forgiving, fair, and diplomatic. Throughout Everwild you also meet many other minor characters.
In the beginning of the book, Allie and Mikey are on a mission to get to Allie's previous home so she can find out what happened to her family after she died, but to her disbelief, her family has already moved to Memphis. The two soon begin their new journey for answers and adventure.
Meanwhile, Nick has a mission of his own. The war against Mary is growing and he needs an army and a secret weapon. With the help of his companions, Johnnie-O and Charlie, he searches for the legendary Ripper. It is rumored that the Ripper has the power to rip anything out of the living world. When he finds the legend, he finds out that the Ripper's real name is Zinnia, Zin for short. Nick convinces Zin to aid him in the war against Mary.
As his journey continues, Allie and Mikey are also continuing on their own journey. Along the way, they meet three new skinjackers, Milos, Moose, and Squirrel. Mikey faces the realization he is the odd one out and begins to distance himself from everyone, including Allie, and eventually resorts back to his old monstrous ways. Eventually, Milos and his gang separate from Allie in Memphis so she can face her demons alone.
Once she arrives at her destination, Nick learns that she is there and plans to go after her. Before going after her, he teaches Zin how to put living things back into the living world.
While Nick and Allie faced their obstacles, Mary is increasing her numbers in Chicago. She hears that Nick is traveling to Memphis and begins planning her attack. Will her attack be successful? Will Allie ever find her family? What is Nick's plan with Zin? What becomes of Mikey? How does the story end? So many questions asked, and all answered within the book itself.

Overall, I fell in love with this book for many reasons. It's easy to relate to the characters and submerse yourself within the story. Whether you have Allie's defiant, but determined personality or Nick's selfless attitude, you will be able to connect and feel as though their story is your story. I was able to feel as though I was in both Allie and Nick's shoes, going though all of their experiences and difficulties with them. Not only did I become a part of the story, the story became a part of me.

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