Summary (from Goodreads): Evie Snow is eighty-two when she quietly passes away in her sleep, surrounded by her children and grandchildren. It’s the way most people wish to leave the world but when Evie reaches the door of her own private heaven, she finds that she’s become her twenty-seven-year-old self and the door won’t open.
Evie’s soul must be light enough to pass through so she needs to get rid of whatever is making her soul heavy. For Evie, this means unburdening herself of the three secrets that have weighed her down for over fifty years, so she must find a way to reveal them before it’s too late. As Evie begins the journey of a lifetime, she learns more about life and love than she ever thought possible, and somehow, some way, she may also find her way back to her long lost love . . .
On The Other Side is Carrie Hope Fletcher’s first expedition into fictional novels. The novel is marketed as a contemporary novel, while the writing style feels more like a middle-grade book as the writing is so easy to read, but the content of the book is typically what one would expect from a contemporary Young Adult novel.
I decided to take notes as I was reading, starting when I got to around page one hundred. But of course, I ended up forgetting at some point when I got too engrossed in the book and couldn’t take myself out to write notes.
At one hundred pages, I wasn’t feeling the urge to read the book 24/7, as I often do with other Young Adult books, however, this is what I also experienced with Carrie’s memoir book, All I Know Now. The difference between the two was that this time around, once I reached a certain point in the novel, I found myself unable to put it down until the end.
I did thoroughly enjoy the book, I enjoyed the premise of the novel and it felt very original. If you do not know, the novel follows Evie Snow, in both her younger years of life, and her life after death. The novel revolves around her relationships and her past, and how these affected the course of her life. Although I guessed the ending of the book early on, the excitement was still there as I got closer to the end.
I found the pacing of the book strange, as a large chunk of the second half of the book is primarily about Evie and another character Vincent, which continues for a long time and starts to feel like a chore to read, however, Carrie does a good job of interspersing fun, highly interesting moments between the sections that approach a place of boredom. After that initial chunk, however, it got difficult to put the book down. I made it to the last few chapters before I had to put the book down to go to dinner, but once I got back from dinner I quickly finished the book and did not feel like I had to work at becoming immersed again.
The novel includes a sense of magic, which at times felt difficult to believe because of the modern conventional setting, but I think Carrie did a good job at including the magic despite the setting.
Unfortunately, the book felt too short for the information and relationship building one would need to become invested in all of the characters, but I really appreciated the way that Carrie wrote the relationships of Evie’s and Jim’s parents, as well as the marriage of other characters, which was a very refreshing take on the way that relationships work.
Overall, I think I’d give the book 3.5/5. On Goodreads, I gave it a 3/5. For Carrie’s first fiction novel, it was very good and ultimately much better than I expected.