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Afterlove

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THE LESBIAN LOVE STORY YOU'VE BEEN DYING TO READ. Ash Persaud is about to become a reaper in the afterlife, but she is determined to see her first love Poppy Morgan again, the only thing that separates them is death. Car headlights. The last thing Ash hears is the snap of breaking glass as the windscreen hits her and breaks into a million pieces like stars. But she made it, THE LESBIAN LOVE STORY YOU'VE BEEN DYING TO READ. Ash Persaud is about to become a reaper in the afterlife, but she is determined to see her first love Poppy Morgan again, the only thing that separates them is death. Car headlights. The last thing Ash hears is the snap of breaking glass as the windscreen hits her and breaks into a million pieces like stars. But she made it, she's still here. Or is she? This New Year's Eve, Ash is gets an RSVP from the afterlife she can't decline: to join a clan of fierce girl reapers who take the souls of the city's dead to await their fate. But Ash can't forget her first love, Poppy, and she will do anything to see her again... even if it means they only get a few more days together. Dead or alive... NOT EVEN DEATH CAN TEAR THEM APART.


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THE LESBIAN LOVE STORY YOU'VE BEEN DYING TO READ. Ash Persaud is about to become a reaper in the afterlife, but she is determined to see her first love Poppy Morgan again, the only thing that separates them is death. Car headlights. The last thing Ash hears is the snap of breaking glass as the windscreen hits her and breaks into a million pieces like stars. But she made it, THE LESBIAN LOVE STORY YOU'VE BEEN DYING TO READ. Ash Persaud is about to become a reaper in the afterlife, but she is determined to see her first love Poppy Morgan again, the only thing that separates them is death. Car headlights. The last thing Ash hears is the snap of breaking glass as the windscreen hits her and breaks into a million pieces like stars. But she made it, she's still here. Or is she? This New Year's Eve, Ash is gets an RSVP from the afterlife she can't decline: to join a clan of fierce girl reapers who take the souls of the city's dead to await their fate. But Ash can't forget her first love, Poppy, and she will do anything to see her again... even if it means they only get a few more days together. Dead or alive... NOT EVEN DEATH CAN TEAR THEM APART.

30 review for Afterlove

  1. 5 out of 5

    Abby

    I got 50 pages into this book and I KNEW it was going to be one of my new favourites. I am telling you it is THAT powerful.

  2. 5 out of 5

    may ➹

    “the lesbian love story you’ve been dying to read” ...oh? 👁👁

  3. 4 out of 5

    anna (½ of readsrainbow)

    i'm a simple gal, i see the words "lesbian" & "love story" and i'm already sold i'm a simple gal, i see the words "lesbian" & "love story" and i'm already sold

  4. 4 out of 5

    theresa

    Let’s just start this off by saying that the tagline “the lesbian love story you’ve been dying to read” is not wrong. Far from it. I adored Afterlove from the very first page and only fell deeper as I was introduced to the love interest and romance and reapers. The strength of this book definitely lay in its romance. I fell hard for Ash and Poppy almost immediately and adored getting to read about their relationship throughout the first half of this book, from a not so cute meet cute to their fi Let’s just start this off by saying that the tagline “the lesbian love story you’ve been dying to read” is not wrong. Far from it. I adored Afterlove from the very first page and only fell deeper as I was introduced to the love interest and romance and reapers. The strength of this book definitely lay in its romance. I fell hard for Ash and Poppy almost immediately and adored getting to read about their relationship throughout the first half of this book, from a not so cute meet cute to their first date to future plans. I think some readers may find their relationship to be a bit too insta love for their preference but I loved it. It felt natural for two teenagers, especially as we already know that Ash is a romantic who falls hard and fast. Ash and Poppy definitely fit the U-Haul lesbian stereotype and this made the book all the more heartbreaking as you watched them discussing and dreaming about the long life they would have together while knowing that it would be impossible, with tragedy looming on the horizon. I not only adored Poppy and Ash’s romance but them as individuals. Their personalities complimented each other so well, from Ash’s spunk to Poppy’s clever, sunshine demeanor. The separation of the book into two parts – love and after – was really effective as it allowed the readers time to fall in love with Poppy and Ash and their relationship, making Ash’s death and the resulting grief all the more heartbreaking. I also really enjoyed the lore surrounding the reapers and felt that Byrne did a really good job of explaining everything you needed to know about this world without overwhelming the reader. I won’t go into too much detail on the next point but I will say that the ending fits the book perfectly. My only criticism is that I’d have liked to see more of Ash’s grief for her family and best friend after her death. There is an initial moment of grief but it’s almost forgotten and considering how much time we spent with Ash’s family in the first part of the book, it felt a bit abrupt for them to barely cross Ash’s mind again. Afterlove is above all a love story. A story about the power of love and human connection and its ability to transcend all, even death. A story of two girls whose love only shines brighter for all the darkness it faces. I cannot recommend this book enough if you fancy a hint of paranormal tragedy in your romance or even a sapphic They Both Die at the End. I also talk about books here: youtube | instagram | twitter *Thank you BKMRK for an advanced copy. This has not affected my review.*

  5. 5 out of 5

    charlotte,

    …when she looks at me, smiling at me in that same slow way she did when she asked me if I wanted to jump, it’s as though she’s struck a match and set me alight. Actual rating 3.5 On my blog. Rep: British Indo-Guyanese lesbian mc, lesbian li, Turkish side character, British Indian side character, hijabi side character, Indo-Guyanese side characters CWs: death, mentions of suicides & overdoses Galley provided by publisher Afterlove is a gorgeously-written paranormal(ish) romance(is) YA novel. I …when she looks at me, smiling at me in that same slow way she did when she asked me if I wanted to jump, it’s as though she’s struck a match and set me alight. Actual rating 3.5 On my blog. Rep: British Indo-Guyanese lesbian mc, lesbian li, Turkish side character, British Indian side character, hijabi side character, Indo-Guyanese side characters CWs: death, mentions of suicides & overdoses Galley provided by publisher Afterlove is a gorgeously-written paranormal(ish) romance(is) YA novel. I say “ish” because it’s sort of both of these things but also not. It blends aspects of each very successfully to come up with something wholly in its own class. In the book, we follow Ash as she meets and falls in love with Poppy. But then the unthinkable happens and Ash wakes up, neither quite dead nor quite alive, but in between. A reaper, tasked with escorting the souls of the dead to the afterlife. The first thing I noticed about this book was how brilliant the writing was. It’s that kind of writing that can rip you apart with only a few words, so obviously I was predisposed to love it. And that writing made it very easy just to slip into the story and wait for it to break my heart. Which it duly did! Not quite as early on as I thought, admittedly, though I guess it’s a hard one to balance. You want to have your readers believe in the relationship between Ash and Poppy, which means you need to develop it. But the crux of the story is in Ash’s death and her subsequent desire to see Poppy again one last time. It made the pacing a little odd, to be honest. It felt like it was going pretty slowly up until Ash’s death, but at the same time Ash and Poppy’s relationship was developing very rapidly. The contrast between the two is what made the pacing seem strange to me. Maybe though, I was more atuned to that because I was expecting the book to almost open with Ash’s death, and not for it to be the halfway mark or so. (Also at one point, I was surprised that the book had only progressed by two weeks, when it felt like a lot longer. But I think, like I said, the pacing was a product of the story.) But that didn’t affect my liking of the story so much, thankfully. I was still fully invested throughout and desperately hoping that the foretold ending would actually somehow be subverted. And I maybe sort of teared up a bit at the end. (Seriously, can we get like a short story sequel thing? I just wanna know how they’re doing!)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sophie Elaina

    This was equal parts delightful and heart-breaking. Afterlove is an emotional ride and a unique tale of love and loss. I found myself quickly enthralled and couldn’t put this book down. Tanya Byrne’s writing is really lovely, and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of reading it. And the way the atmosphere is captured through the writing is pure excellence. This is not one to miss! Rating: 5 Stars. --- Thank you so much to Hodder children's books for providing an e-arc in exchange for an honest rev This was equal parts delightful and heart-breaking. Afterlove is an emotional ride and a unique tale of love and loss. I found myself quickly enthralled and couldn’t put this book down. Tanya Byrne’s writing is really lovely, and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of reading it. And the way the atmosphere is captured through the writing is pure excellence. This is not one to miss! Rating: 5 Stars. --- Thank you so much to Hodder children's books for providing an e-arc in exchange for an honest review!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    This book is such a fun and unique read! It was pitched as 'the lesbian love story you've been waiting for' AND IT TRULY WAS!!!! This book gives you two lesbians who unexpectedly meet and we get to see their messy, fun and heartwarming journey as they fall in love, up until one of them suddenly dies. Ash is so confused and in denial when she wakes up after the accident to 3 strangers in a place she's never been before; and it doesn't help when they try to explain to her that she's now a grim rea This book is such a fun and unique read! It was pitched as 'the lesbian love story you've been waiting for' AND IT TRULY WAS!!!! This book gives you two lesbians who unexpectedly meet and we get to see their messy, fun and heartwarming journey as they fall in love, up until one of them suddenly dies. Ash is so confused and in denial when she wakes up after the accident to 3 strangers in a place she's never been before; and it doesn't help when they try to explain to her that she's now a grim reaper, because they don't exist, right!? Well, actually they do, and what ensues is a mix between Ash being in disbelief that she's died, and us slowly getting to know the other reapers, who slowly but surely form a family and help Ash deal with her grief. Ash is heartbroken, and completely lost, only then does she learn that trying to connect with her loved ones like she had planned will result in their early death. So Ash begins her new life as a reaper, until one day, her girlfriend sees her. Actually sees her, and recognises her!! This is such a fun (and very raw and emotional at times) love story and book in general. I adored the group of reapers and also almost all of the character we got to meet? Although this was a 350 page book, it seemed so short and I flew through it. I wish we had gotten a bit more of Ash when she were alive before she met her girlfriend so we got to see her personality shine through, but overall, I really enjoyed this book!!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ella

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I’m not the biggest fantasy fan but the cover had me in an absolute chokehold. I liked that quite a significant portion of the book focused on Ash’s life prior to her death, as it gave an important overlook on her family, friends and life. Yet, as a result, I felt like the absence of this part of her life in the second half of the novel was impossible to ignore. I'm well aware that she couldn't just wander into her house and say hello, but it just felt strange that *spoiler* when she saw Poppy a I’m not the biggest fantasy fan but the cover had me in an absolute chokehold. I liked that quite a significant portion of the book focused on Ash’s life prior to her death, as it gave an important overlook on her family, friends and life. Yet, as a result, I felt like the absence of this part of her life in the second half of the novel was impossible to ignore. I'm well aware that she couldn't just wander into her house and say hello, but it just felt strange that *spoiler* when she saw Poppy again, she didn't even ask how they were. I obviously really loved that the book focused on the relationship between Ash and Poppy, it just seemed bizarre that her family and Adara were sidelined quite quickly. I also would have loved a bit more about Dev and Esen’s backstories and how they died. I just kept waiting for Ash to inquire, but she never did. Nonetheless, it was a beautiful lesbian romance, none like i’ve ever read before.

  9. 4 out of 5

    kauany

    Play You and I by PVRIS ”I’ve always felt off to the side, like I’m watching on. An extra in everyone else’s story. But here I am and here she is and I finally get the lead role and while I don’t know how this story ends, this is how it starts: outside the station, commuters bustling past in their effort to catch the 17:58, her hand in mine” You can look at this book and see several things. It’s a book about loss, about life and death, about grief and principally about love. Ash's story is the mos Play You and I by PVRIS ”I’ve always felt off to the side, like I’m watching on. An extra in everyone else’s story. But here I am and here she is and I finally get the lead role and while I don’t know how this story ends, this is how it starts: outside the station, commuters bustling past in their effort to catch the 17:58, her hand in mine” You can look at this book and see several things. It’s a book about loss, about life and death, about grief and principally about love. Ash's story is the most unique, beautiful and heartbreaking, she needs to deal with grief, she needs to deal with the loss of her one and only love and the loss of her own life, she died at sixteen, she had all of her life ahead and she lost. But when she loses she learns and teaches you how life is small and you need to be you, without fear and without strings attached. the book's message about loving, being loved, and living a full life is one of the purest and most well-written things i’ve ever read. ”I am not to be loved. Not out loud anyway” And then, the love story, i don’t have words, Poppy was ash’s first love, the person who really saw Ash and want to know her in every way possible, poppy love her out loud. Not even death separated them. ” When I say that I love you, Ash, I don’t meant that I love in the way that I love Basquiat or oat milk lattes, I mean that I love you. All that you are and all that you will be and I can’t wait to find out who that person is.” Ash and Poppy are made for each other. They made me happy and break my heart, an emotional ride. Not even death can tear them apart, really. ”We’ve found each other again. Of all the people, her. THE WRITTEN!!!!! i never really pay attention to writing (only if it's really bad cough cough) but omg she knows how to write, she knows how to touch you and make you cry!!! she knows how to show what the characters are feeling in the best possible way. it's poetical, even the monologues!!!! they are not boring!!! ”You found each other in life and you found each other in death and you’ll find each other in whatever’s beyond the sea.”

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sapphic Bookshelf

    Thank you NetGalley and Hodder Children’s Books for this wonderful ARC. My favourite LGBT YA book of the past two years. The Henna Wars meet Scythe! When I started reading this book I wasn’t completely sure I was going to like it because the story is about two sixteen year-olds experiencing their first love, which for me is an experience long in the past. However, I was completely wrong! This book by Tanya Byrne is written with absolute honesty and I saw myself immediately immersed in this story, Thank you NetGalley and Hodder Children’s Books for this wonderful ARC. My favourite LGBT YA book of the past two years. The Henna Wars meet Scythe! When I started reading this book I wasn’t completely sure I was going to like it because the story is about two sixteen year-olds experiencing their first love, which for me is an experience long in the past. However, I was completely wrong! This book by Tanya Byrne is written with absolute honesty and I saw myself immediately immersed in this story, devouring the book in barely a week, something that hadn’t happened in a long time. In spite of what the synopsis says, I believe this book isn’t mostly about Ash becoming a reaper. For me this book is about how life and death are only some of the stops in a long journey. And most of all, love is what drives this book. This youthful drama will show you the streets of Brighton through Ash Persaud’s eyes, experiencing life, death and the first love with her. Also learning that death really happens the moment you stop remembering all the love you have in your life. There are many remarkable things about this book. Like I mentioned, the author speaks from her truth and in spite of the characters youthful age, their actions and conversations are completely believable and sincere. The author has been able to perfectly reflect the sincerity of her words in the pages of this fiction novel, and that is one of the reasons I couldn’t stop reading from the very first moment I laid eyes on Byrne’s words. On the other hand, this book is comprised of a cast of diverse characters. Not only Ash, who is part of a strict Indo-Guyanese family, but also many other characters from different religious backgrounds and races, which makes this portrait of Brighton feel even more real and closer to the reality of the city. The secondary characters are well constructed and placed inside this story, making Ash and Poppy’s relationship stand out as the central piece of this novel. My favourite character is Esen, one of the reapers who accompany Ash. Despite of the author not giving us as many details about this girl, I felt like I knew her from the very first moment she appears. She’s a tough, funny and sarcastic girl, who tries to lead her new life by pushing away all memories of her old life. Her development is something worth mentioning too, because in just a few pages, this character who in the beginning was perceived as annoying by both the reader and Ash, later on becomes an essential part of the story. Esen watches Ash’s love story from afar, but she also intervenes when she’s needed, a truly reliable and loyal friend. She’s the only one of the reapers who makes us understand more clearly the tough reality these girls are living when they have to leave everything behind and still wander through the places they used to call home but now being complete strangers; not the normal girls they used to be but reapers leading souls to Charon’s boat. Another thing I loved about this book is how Ash’s sexuality is portrayed. It was one the things that kept me hooked to this book, the sixteen year-old version of me that still exists somewhere within, felt understood and represented in these words. As I mentioned before, the author speaks from her undeniable truth, making this book feel real and honest. Ash is a queer sixteen year-old girl who lives in one of the most inclusive cities in the UK: Brighton. However, the reality is that when you’re a queer teenager, finding a date, no matter where that is, it is still a nightmare. And when you finally have one, most of the times it doesn’t go as expected. We can see through Ash’s thoughts how her heart has been broken many times in spite of her age and how she thinks she will never find love. It is never easy to admit who you are and accept yourself as you are but it is even harder if you’re not what society expects you to be. Regardless of all that, Ash finds Poppy Morgan, the person that takes her breath away and makes her heart beat faster. The one who shows her that despite of all the obstacles she has found in her path, in the end she can be happy next to the person she loves. The only things that I didn’t love about this book were the rhythm and the structure. There are too many interesting details in the second half of the book that don’t get enough attention. Charon’s appearance, how the reapers become different people and the consequences they would have to face if someone recognized them, are only some of them. Everything related to being a reaper is like a sweet that you savour for too short a time. I do think these ideas are properly explained and developed, but I would have liked to know even more about them. And about the secondary characters like Esen, Dev and Deborah. I would have really liked to learn more about their previous lives as well. I can’t help but think that if I had read this book as a teenager, when my problems seemed never-ending, perhaps my life would have been different. The representation of a healthy relationship between two teenage girls is something that I missed, but I’m glad that many other teenagers will now be able to read this story and feel heard. They will be able to hold onto this book when things are difficult for them. This is the main reason I have felt this book so close to my heart and why I would recommend it to everyone who has experienced growing up as a queer teenager. We all deserve stories that make us feel seen and understood. Tanya Byrne’s story makes us think about the meaning of life and she does that with a queer couple and a diverse character ensemble as the voices of this story. What else could we ask for? This book with make you forget the outside world for just a few hours and you won’t be able to stop smiling at this beautiful and endless love story.

  11. 4 out of 5

    tappkalina

    Can this come out like today?

  12. 4 out of 5

    Holly | The Caffeinated Reader

    *thank you to NetGalley for providing an eArc in exchange for an honest review* Have you ever found yourself saying, 'wow, I love They Both Die at the End, I wish there was a sapphic equivalent that could tear my heart out and make me sob'? If the answer to that is yes, then this is the book for you. This book made me realise how much I absolutely adore paranormal ya contemporaries, and I think it's fast becoming one of my favourite genres (think Cemetery Boys and These Witches Don't Burn). When *thank you to NetGalley for providing an eArc in exchange for an honest review* Have you ever found yourself saying, 'wow, I love They Both Die at the End, I wish there was a sapphic equivalent that could tear my heart out and make me sob'? If the answer to that is yes, then this is the book for you. This book made me realise how much I absolutely adore paranormal ya contemporaries, and I think it's fast becoming one of my favourite genres (think Cemetery Boys and These Witches Don't Burn). When I first read the summary for this I knew I had to read it because uh, sapphic grim reapers, and let me tell you, it did not disappoint! The book follows Ash Persaud, our lesbian South Asian main character who is newly out to her family. She's intelligent, badass, and proud of her identity and I absolutely adored her as a character. The book begins on a school trip where Ash meets Poppy Morgan, and the two hit it off straight away and quickly begin dating. Unfortunately, it doesn't last because death has other plans for the girls, and after a tragic accident, Ash joins the ranks of grim reapers in her area and is tasked with escorting souls to the afterlife. I really enjoyed this book and despite its 352 pages, I absolutely breezed through it in a couple of hours! I can imagine some readers may view Poppy and Ash's romance as being very 'insta-love' , however I would disagree. The characters are only 16 and I think the book perfectly captures the excitement of young love and how it very quickly becomes all-consuming. I thought the two were super cute and let me tell you, the ending had me in tears at work because despite knowing what was going to happen (and the book gives you plenty of warning) I still wasn't prepared. I also LOVED the worldbuilding and how the author explained the lore of grim reapers and how it works in this reality. I was worried going into it that there'd be a lot of plot holes because of this narrative focus on the afterlife, but all the questions I had were answered and I really enjoyed learning about reapers. Now for the reapers themselves, I adored them. Such a ragtag group of girls who quickly become a family, so if you're into the 'found family' trope then I can guarantee you'll love this. I don't want to go too into it for fear of spoilers, but I loved the other reapers in Ash's gang and I can't wait for you to meet them! One thing that did surprise me was how late into the book Ash becomes a grim reaper, I assumed it would happen really early on but the book takes its time setting up the relationship between Poppy and Ash, and letting us see her relationship with her family which I really appreciated. Though with that said, one thing I would have loved would have been to see more of Ash's grief surrounding her family after she died, as it did feel like it was rushed over and made it seem like there was a bit of a disconnect with her character, considering we're shown how close she is to her parents and sister at the beginning. That's the main reason that this book is 4-stars and not 5, because as much as I loved it (and I did) some aspects did seem glossed over which disconnected me from the story and didn't seem to fit the character the book had spent the first half creating. But even with that, I do fully recommend this book and believe it's perfect for fans of They Both Die at the End and Cemetery Boys !

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kate (GirlReading)

    Heartbreaking, heartfelt, wonderfully written and incredibly unique, I couldn't put it down. Heartbreaking, heartfelt, wonderfully written and incredibly unique, I couldn't put it down.

  14. 4 out of 5

    this book looks SO GOOD!!! i need this please

  15. 4 out of 5

    Janna

    The first part of the novel is about how Ash and Poppy get to know each other and fall in love. We learn about her best friend and her little sister and their lives as brown girls living in Brighton. That was the part I enjoyed the most - and even though I was looking forward to the paranormal theme of this book so much originally - that was the part that disappointed me the most. To me it felt like Ash had next to no agency after she died. Yes, she wants to see Poppy again, but that's it. I wish The first part of the novel is about how Ash and Poppy get to know each other and fall in love. We learn about her best friend and her little sister and their lives as brown girls living in Brighton. That was the part I enjoyed the most - and even though I was looking forward to the paranormal theme of this book so much originally - that was the part that disappointed me the most. To me it felt like Ash had next to no agency after she died. Yes, she wants to see Poppy again, but that's it. I wish there would have been more to her character than that. I get that that's the main plot line, but there needs to be a little bit more to a character than a wish to see their romantic love interest for them to have some kind of depth. One last thing that I was really disappointed with was a transphobic comment made by Poppy which was left uncriticized. When Ash tells Poppy she's a lesbian, she responds "Same. I'm strictly clitly". It's "just" a sentence, but it has a big meaning. There are women who don't have vaginas - and to exclude them from your definition of being a lesbian is and will always be transphobic. It's really devastating to read these "small" but harmful comments made repeatedly in the books I read. I bet most authors don't even realise what they're writing is transphobic.. which might be one big problem itself: lack of education. But it's not the task of trans people to educate every single author on this planet. Honestly, if you can do your research on myths or the 17th century or whatever - you can spend a minute to educate yourself about transphobia and how to avoid including it in your writing. To conclude, I enjoyed the writing style, the setting and found the idea of the plot intriguing - the execution only to some degree, unfortunately. content warnings: death, racism, queerphobia, harry potter reference, transphobia, knife attack, car accident

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bibi Havilliard

    WHY DID NO ONE WARN ME OF HOW SAD THIS BOOK IS?!?!?!? THIS BOOK. THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD IM ACTUALLY CRYING LIKE WHAT I AM SUPPOSED TO DO NOW???I WILL NEVER KNOW PEACE The plot is so unique and fast paced I couldn’t stop reading!! AND THE CHARACTERS. I LOVE THEM SO MUCH😭😭😭 Please everyone READ THIS BOOK I don’t know how to cope with anything rn

  17. 4 out of 5

    Grá

    This book....I am not the same after this book . The writing was so beautiful omg, so many stunning qoutes . Ash and Poppy’s love story was just so lovely and so real . Highly recommend this

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rox

    this DOES sound like the lesbian love story i've been dying to read this DOES sound like the lesbian love story i've been dying to read

  19. 4 out of 5

    Maëlys

    This sounds wonderfully angsty. You can also find me on Youtube & Twitter ✨ This sounds wonderfully angsty. You can also find me on Youtube & Twitter ✨

  20. 5 out of 5

    Fanna

    July 01, 2020: The cover has just been revealed and ummmm, sapphics are winning and I'm not complaining! July 01, 2020: The cover has just been revealed and ummmm, sapphics are winning and I'm not complaining!

  21. 5 out of 5

    L T

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Like? The first half of the book had me hooked and I was straight (not really) up sobbing with some of the passages about Ash and Poppy’s relationship. It was twee, adorable— and then the grim reaper plot just kind of. Happened. That’s the only way I can describe how it unfolded. It just happened. All of a sudden, this quirky adorable romance becomes a rushed attempt at exploring our relationship with, well, life and it’s fragility. Here one minute, could be gone the next— all very They Both Die Like? The first half of the book had me hooked and I was straight (not really) up sobbing with some of the passages about Ash and Poppy’s relationship. It was twee, adorable— and then the grim reaper plot just kind of. Happened. That’s the only way I can describe how it unfolded. It just happened. All of a sudden, this quirky adorable romance becomes a rushed attempt at exploring our relationship with, well, life and it’s fragility. Here one minute, could be gone the next— all very They Both Die At The End but make it British Lesbians. However, the story is just a bit blunt. In need of a big polish, more plot development— the holes in this one are big enough to drive a whole truck through, like seriously what is the system of grim reapers? Are they all girls? What is with the ‘oh we didn’t tell you at the start but after a year you can leave!’ shoehorned in to round up some hurried ending? I’ll talk about the ending more but if you’re going to play around with a semblance of a paranormal system in your book, I personally prefer it when it’s a bit more thought through with some solid concepts and a bit more— sadly, unique. I mean, when I originally saw this I was like ‘oh dope a lesbian romance Dead Like Me! perfect!’ But I didn’t realise that most of the nuances of the reapers are just taken directly from my favourite Bryan Fuller series… Like, the ‘transition’ the reapers go through so people don’t recognise them in public? Literally almost exactly the same. Oh, the reapers get their deaths on a little post-it with the name? Yep. And all of the reapers are quirky (which I did love) and say the darnedest twee bits like ‘oh! I’m from the kiddie cancer department!’ with no holding back to drive home on just quirky they are? You guessed it. They even throw a party in a dead persons house, like how the reapers in dead like me sleep in dead people’s apartments, etc. It’s just frustrating especially when the show is such a little hidden gem. This could be a total coincidence but like, it annoys me so I have to mention it in case anyone else likes this show and is intrigued by this book for the same reason. The actual characters themselves, too? Eh. I loved Ash, loved her family, and her relationship with Poppy. Loved Poppy, loved her relationship with the world and how they spoke with one another. It felt very real, all the dialogue was fun and reminds me of how I spoke at 16. Super tasty and validating for that reason. But, the reapers? Forgettable. I got most of them mixed up with one another. Also, in the second half of the book Poppy became an absolute manic pixie dream girl (they can exist in wlw books, and they DO), and all her dialogue became so insufferable. I really struggled with the mini golf scene so bad. I think all my investment in these characters completely dissipated by the time the book winded down. When the actual ending happened I didn’t cry, despite the author’s best attempts to make that a thing. It was written like a tear jerker, but kept constantly backtracking it’s messages and metaphors to a point where I got exhausted reading it. Ash makes a point for two pages on how important it is to tell people we love them, enjoy our interests and take risks! But then refuses to go for a night swim with Poppy because she’s scared (I know she was scared FOR Poppy, but it didn’t read this way until the author literally wrote that in). Representation is important, especially with the lesbophobic culture of booktok/booktube often reading white cis mlm books but actively refusing to read wlw, too. AND, not all representation has to be the greatest book on earth to earn its spot ✨ on the grand high council of lgbt+ books. I would actively recommend this to readers perhaps a little younger (and less jaded). It’s good representation, has a diverse cast of characters and explores messages and culture in a mostly appropriate manner (despite the crass kiddie cancer thing). It’s not a /bad/ book. It’s not a great book, either. It sits on the middle. It either should have been another 500 pages, to properly invest us in the reapers, adequately show us their system-thing, and come up with an ending that doesn’t feel horribly cliche. Or, it should have been about 300, and axed that fucking golf scene as well as every time Ash has the exact same conversation over and over with the reapers AND every time Poppy drinks an oat milk latte. We get it, she’s vegan and gay— we all drink oat milk lattes but like drink some water for a change. Overall, I think two stars for a personal vibe on the book is fair. It’s just not for me. It’s a tad repetitive. If you like to switch your brain off and have a nice, wholesome romance (which is nice to see for a wlw teen book!) yeah go for it, you’ll probably enjoy it. I definitely would appreciate this book more if I read it after something quite heavy. But, I am cynical and need my girl gang grim reapers with a bit of spice and grit instead of the industry plant disney original ‘punk’ aesthetic than they were sporting in here. It deserves a lot of love and I’m sad I couldn’t give it more despite having had this book on pre-order since the start of May. Definitely, give it a try and support the author! We need more diverse wlw stories, where the homophobia isn’t the main aspect of the story— and this is how we make that happen. So, if u don’t mind, I’m going to rewatch dead like me, swap out my milk alternatives and hastily pass on this book to someone who is going to appreciate it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    K_frost

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 3.5 It starts trying too hard - too much roti being mentioned, too much excerted and tired NHS-nurse-mother, too much Catholic/working class background. Additionally, I was disappointed with the Guyanese as reason for difficult coming out - arc. Then again, it's not necessarily easy nowadays, even though most books make us believe it. Also, the love story stays a bit superficial up to the point I was wondering why I was reading the book. But then Ash dies, and the book gets a lot better from ther 3.5 It starts trying too hard - too much roti being mentioned, too much excerted and tired NHS-nurse-mother, too much Catholic/working class background. Additionally, I was disappointed with the Guyanese as reason for difficult coming out - arc. Then again, it's not necessarily easy nowadays, even though most books make us believe it. Also, the love story stays a bit superficial up to the point I was wondering why I was reading the book. But then Ash dies, and the book gets a lot better from there. When she meets Poppy again - and she actually can see her-, their love gets a new depth and a new, interesting angle. (The scene when Ash sees her own grave is very sad and well done!) I'm not convinced killing not one, but both lesbians should become a thing, but in this book, it actually works. Anyway, I still wonder why there can't be fluffy happy lesbian romances.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Susana

    this cover is PERFECT this cover is PERFECT

  24. 4 out of 5

    ☆Pelumi☆ (On major hiatus)

    My request for an ARC of this got declined. I'm sad but I'll survive(I hope) My request for an ARC of this got declined. I'm sad but I'll survive(I hope)

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lucie Jones

    [AD-PR] Afterlove is THE most beautiful lesbian love story that taught me life is too short and to appreciate everything I have, because you never know what could happen. Think of a sapphic Scythe x They Both Die At The End. A must read! Thank you so much to Pride Book Tours for my gifting me a copy of this book and for my spot on the blog tour. Link to full review: https://lucieslibrary.blogspot.com/20... [AD-PR] Afterlove is THE most beautiful lesbian love story that taught me life is too short and to appreciate everything I have, because you never know what could happen. Think of a sapphic Scythe x They Both Die At The End. A must read! Thank you so much to Pride Book Tours for my gifting me a copy of this book and for my spot on the blog tour. Link to full review: https://lucieslibrary.blogspot.com/20...

  26. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    [AD: Arc copy] This book was a beautiful lesbian love story. I did my usual, requested it on Netgalley and didn’t really read the blurb that well. I then didn’t really put two and two together with the title. So reading that first chapter, and figuring out what was going to happen to Ash, I found it heartbreaking to read the ‘before’ chapters. They were so full of love and happiness. Poppy and Ash had the perfect “meet cute” and love story. This book was filled with equal parts of love, joy and h [AD: Arc copy] This book was a beautiful lesbian love story. I did my usual, requested it on Netgalley and didn’t really read the blurb that well. I then didn’t really put two and two together with the title. So reading that first chapter, and figuring out what was going to happen to Ash, I found it heartbreaking to read the ‘before’ chapters. They were so full of love and happiness. Poppy and Ash had the perfect “meet cute” and love story. This book was filled with equal parts of love, joy and heartbreak! Byrne’s writing style is simple, easy to read and just beautiful. I just couldn’t put it down and was completely addicted to Ash and Poppy! This must be added to your TBR like now. It’s pitched as “the lesbian love story you’ve been dying to read” and it really is.

  27. 5 out of 5

    tessie

    this should be a 4.5 or something but my longgggg anticipation for this book is making me rate it higher lmao there could’ve been less references to a certain book series (i mean just ONE reference to it is enough but.) because there were SO MANY!! and i’m not sure there’s any excuse for a 2021 release to have those ??? i read a review copy though so hopefully they’ve been taken out now this was a really really lovely and emotional read!! it had such a clear sense of setting and character and it this should be a 4.5 or something but my longgggg anticipation for this book is making me rate it higher lmao there could’ve been less references to a certain book series (i mean just ONE reference to it is enough but.) because there were SO MANY!! and i’m not sure there’s any excuse for a 2021 release to have those ??? i read a review copy though so hopefully they’ve been taken out now this was a really really lovely and emotional read!! it had such a clear sense of setting and character and it made it so easy to fall into this story and family and dynamics to be picky i think some character relationships and such could’ve been expanded on a bit more? because it felt like ash completely forgot about her supposed closest friend?? i absolutely adore romance books but i also felt that this book sacrificed friendships and family relationships to JUST focus on that?? the romance between ash and poppy was so nice to read about !! it had a very insta love vibe but that is OK because it felt accurate to teenagers and it never felt THAT rushed it flowed quite nicely ?? i also wish some of the characters we meet towards the middle/end of the book like dev and deborah were expanded on more!!! there was obviously supposed to be mystery surrounding them but i wanted to know more!! i think this is a pacing issue and i was honestly surprised by how long the lead up to ash’s death was?? i think this book could’ve benefited in chapters alternating between before her death and after and that may have helped expand the relationships and characters?? i actually desperately want a sequel but focusing on another character ???? preferably esen ??? i’m just very intrigued by that whole set up in this book i just !! wish it was expanded more i do think this was a really beautiful story as it was though and i’m definitely going to reread it!! and it’s weird because this book was sad but there was something so comforting about it??

  28. 5 out of 5

    Triston

    Huge thanks to @panmacmillansakids @panmacmillansa for send me an Advanced Readers Copy of this title!! TW: Death, Grief, Mention of Suicide and Drug Overdose Would you want to be a Grim Reaper? Afterlove is a a beautiful philosophical tale that confronts one of the human races biggest fears death. What happens after we die? Where do we go? What about those we leave behind? It's a tough topic to confront and Tanya Byrne explores in the same way all of us do, with uncertainty and a vague hope. But a Huge thanks to @panmacmillansakids @panmacmillansa for send me an Advanced Readers Copy of this title!! TW: Death, Grief, Mention of Suicide and Drug Overdose Would you want to be a Grim Reaper? Afterlove is a a beautiful philosophical tale that confronts one of the human races biggest fears death. What happens after we die? Where do we go? What about those we leave behind? It's a tough topic to confront and Tanya Byrne explores in the same way all of us do, with uncertainty and a vague hope. But at its core Afterlove is a love story between two girls, and how their love succeeds tragedy and even death. The pacing of the novel is interesting, it at times feel slow, but simultaneously fast paced too. I did not want to stop reading about Ash and Poppy and Esen and Dev. The characters are memorable and I immediately fell in love with them. I absolutely adored the imagery and use of symbolism throughout the story. Ash has a fear of open water, and as we know the ocean is notorious for its unknown depth and uncertainty, much like death. Thus when Ash becomes a Reaper leading souls to climb onto the boat with Charon solidifies this metaphor even more. Further the main love interest Poppy, named after a flower that symbolises death. The scene where Poppy tells people about Cognitive Dissonance (this Psych student, loved that scene). I can go on, but I loved it so much! This book left me in tears, it was beautifully told and explored death in a very human way! It further explored grief very well too, and I think all of us who has lost someone will resonate with that deeply. I'd highly reccomend this to fans of They Both Die At The End. Yes it will make you cry, and leave you with a vague bittersweet feeling inside, but trust me it's worth it!! This is one of the best books I've read this year and I am grateful to have been apart of it!

  29. 4 out of 5

    katharina ✨

    I really expected to love this book. To read it and adore it and give it five stars. It just sounded so good. Sapphic and tragic and sad and just exactly like my cup of tea. That's obviously not what happened. And I am a bit sad because I wanted to love this book, but it just wasn't working for me. Don't get me wrong, Afterlove was a good book. I like the topic. It's also not that I didn't like Ash and Poppy or anything. It's just that - I don't know. I just wasn't invested enough in their roman I really expected to love this book. To read it and adore it and give it five stars. It just sounded so good. Sapphic and tragic and sad and just exactly like my cup of tea. That's obviously not what happened. And I am a bit sad because I wanted to love this book, but it just wasn't working for me. Don't get me wrong, Afterlove was a good book. I like the topic. It's also not that I didn't like Ash and Poppy or anything. It's just that - I don't know. I just wasn't invested enough in their romance to care about them, I guess. I fully expected this book to make me cry, but I didn't. If I'm honest, I was even a bit bored in the middle and thought about putting it down and not finishing it because everything was just so very predictable. I know this is not a story made for big plot twists. I didn't expect it to be, but I was still a little bit bored. I mean, if I at least cared a lot for the characters, that would have kept me going, but I didn't. So, this book just wasn't for me. I liked it, yes. And I also would recommend picking it up because it was beautiful and sad and tragic, but it wasn't beautiful, sad and tragic enough for me.

  30. 4 out of 5

    No One

    This book is everything I could of ever wanted and more it was adorable and real and so utterly heartbreaking. I utterly devoured this book in one sitting I simply couldn’t get enough. My heart is so full but also so sad but I’m so glad I read it it’s just so wonderful.

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