BOOK CLUB: Emma After

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[Total: 6 Average: 4.7]

Emma After by Anthony O’Connor, introduces the reader to Emma, who wakes from a horrible accident to find that she will now spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair. 

Apart from the fact that her legs no longer work, she has to deal with the increased arguments her parents have. 

They have always had these verbal fights, but now there is an extra layer of guilt on her fathers part due to his involvement in the accident, so now the fights seem to happen constantly. 

In a bid to escape the negative atmosphere, Emma heads outside with her headset to block out a fight, and after another tragic accident she finds herself in the afterlife. There are new people to meet and some lessons to learn. 

Her first interaction in the afterlife happens to be with the frightening Hollows. She manages to escape them and thankfully enters Fountaindale Manor, which she discovers is a safe haven for spirits like herself. 

All seems to be going well until living humans move into the manor with grand plans to renovate which does not please the spirits at all. They are all given jobs to do in an effort to scare The Breathers (as they are known) away from the manor. But, things don’t go quite as planned when Emma finds herself falling for Andrew, the Breather that she is supposed to be haunting.

This is a lovely story that I can see young teens enjoying.  It is not a horror, so it is suitable for those that are sensitive. I loved how Emma got to experience things in the afterlife that she had missed out on while living. Emma is easily likeable as she is far from perfect and makes mistakes like us all.  

A great book for young adult readers and one parents should grab for the next school holidays.

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading Emma After by Anthony O’Connor. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

9 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Emma After

  1. Thanks to Beauty & Lace and to Green Light Pty Limited for my copy of Emma After.
    New to both the author and the fantasy genre and a huge fan of YA novels I can honestly say I was hooked from the beginning and struggled to put down such an original and extremely enticing read.
    18-year-old Emma Crothers yearns to escape boring small-town life. She finds herself confined to a wheelchair after a car accident with her father and just when she thinks nothing can go wrong, she has an unfortunate accident where her wheelchair rolls backwards into the family motel pool and subsequently drowns. Just when you think that her life is done and dusted, she now finds herself as a ghost where she escapes the soul swallowing “Hollows” (evil ghosts). Only just managing to escape them she finds herself at Fountaindale Grand Manor – a haven. Upon her arrival she meets a colourful community of the deceased led by the ever-alluring Caretaker Jack. As she’s finding her feet in this new environment the manor is invaded by “Breathers” (the living). Emma finds herself involved in the mission to get rid of the Breathers so as to save her new family from the evil “Hollows” that live outside the Manor and in the process finds herself falling for attractive Andrew (a Breather) which leaves her torn between the 2 worlds and trying to figure out how being a ghost could be this complicated.

  2. Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Green Light Productions for my copy.

    This is the Australian author Anthony O’Connor’s second novel, “Straya” being his first which I haven’t read but kind of want to now after enjoying this book so much!
    This is a YA book and primarily a ghost story, but also a love story and an adventure.
    I really enjoyed reading about eighteen year of Emma Crothers who lives in the small country town Herbertson, in the hotel owned and run by her parents. Herbertson is a fictionalised version of the real town of Robertson in rural NSW.
    The story features beings of the afterlife being Hollows who are dead, dark and creepy. Ghosts are the nice beings of the afterlife and all stuck in the era they died in. The third characters are Breathers who are the living.
    An American family also come into the story and move in unknowingly with over a hundred ghosts into a rundown manor.
    I loved the quirkiness of this book, plus it’s different to anything I’ve read in quite a while making it refreshing and exciting. It has a few scary parts as well and I was surprised that I enjoyed a YA book so much!
    The cover art is stunning and clever, I never noticed the ghosts in Emma’s hair until halfway through the book.
    Highly recommended.
    4 Stars

  3. “Emma After” is one of those books that sits firmly in the middle of the road: it has both strengths and weaknesses, but isn’t either good or bad. It’s just somewhere in-between, readable but not very memorable.

    Eighteen year old Emma Crothers lives in a very small town, and like most people raised in small towns, can’t wait to get away. Unfortunately, after she drowns, it seems like she’s stuck in her hometown for eternity. More specifically, she’s stuck in the run down Fountaindale Grand Manor.

    Emma begins to adjust with remarkable resilience, but just as she starts to find her feet again, living people move into the Manor and throw the ghostly residents into chaos. And despite her attraction to the ghost caretaker, Jack, Emma starts to fall in love with the living son of the new owners.
    However, the two worlds cannot survive so close together, and the ghosts determine that they must drive the living residents out.

    One of my primary problems with “Emma After” is the poor world building. Too many questions are glossed over with “we don’t know”, with the result that the world doesn’t feel particularly real. Some unanswered questions are fine, but there are so many here that it feels like the author had a good idea but didn’t bother to work it out fully before putting it on the page.

    I also felt that Emma is a little underdeveloped. Some aspects of her personality are well developed, such as her resilence, her empathy, and her intelligence. But other dimensions of her are all but ignored: she doesn’t seem to give a second thought to her parents for most of her “death”, and she never stops to consider what she has missed out on by dying so young. I think few people could accept that without at least thinking about it with some initial regret.

    I was not surprised to read in the Afterword that this started as a more adult story before being rewritten to target young adults. While reading the story I had thought that it seemed balanced uneasily between adult and young adult audiences. It lacks the challenge and emotional depth that many adults prefer, but Emma does not feel enough like a teenager to truly appeal to a younger audience.

    However, the action in the story is well portrayed, and the setting is vivid. I recognised Robertson easily – I think anyone who’s ever seen the big potato would! The overall message of positivity is welcome, and keeps the story from turning too dark.

    The concept is original, and although not well enough worked out, it will intrigue many readers. The writing style is readable and easy to digest. Some readers will find that very appealing; it means that scenes such as Emma’s death are not very confronting.

    In the end this didn’t really work for me; I wanted more depth in the characters and the world building. However, it’s a pretty straight forward story told in a straight forward way, and that will appeal to some readers.

  4. I didn’t realise this was a YA book until after I started reading. Somehow it also sits between a ghost story, vampire(ish) and horror, but never quite commits, so you get flashes of all three. Which, as you read, is sort of ok, it just romps along and is easy to follow. I figured out I was going to read about Emma’s death, which was sad and awful but thankfully not too graphic, compared to the horrors of the Hollows. As Emma discovers a whole new world, post death, there are some funny moments (when she goes all vengeful ghost on some losers from her past life), and some tender moments when she starts to fall for someone. I loved the house, the Fountaindale Grand Manor, and how is seems almost never-ending with rooms and such. The basement was a bit freaky, though. And I did wonder what would happen if the lights failed… All in all an entertaining read.
    Thanks to Beauty & Lace and Green Light Productions for the review copy.

  5. Thank you Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read “Emma After” by Author Anthony O’Connor. This YA ghost story is about a teenager called Emma Crothers. It tells the story of Emma living in a rural town she has always wanted to escape, and after Emma suddenly finds herself a paraplegic and wheelchair bound, not long after Emma passes away in another tragic accident, Emma then reappears as a Ghost and then sees her town in a whole new light and perspective.

    Emma After is an imaginative story which at times is humorous, but also touches on mental health issues. It was entertaining to read her shenanigans and the touch of romance with Andrew. I found this read quirky and original and perfect for the YA as it doesn’t delve too deeply into Emma’s tragic death, not is a horror story perse.

  6. Emma After by Anthony O’Connor.
    I really enjoyed reading this book I am no YA at 55 years and thoroughly enjoyed the somewhat tragic but not scary story about Emma an 18 year old who lives with her parents in a hotel in a small town.
    But for Emma this is a tragic end or beginning as she weaves her way through a new life after death.
    Emma suffered alot in a family with argumentative parents who were forever at each other .
    Emma talks her dad into taking her for a drive into town just so she can stop them arguing. But tragically they are involved in a car accident which leaves poor Emma in a wheelchair which she has too.
    But still the arguments prevail and Emma escapes to the hotel for peace and quiet but unfortunately she falls into the hotel pool in her wheelchair and there is no one to save her .
    Emma wakes to find herself in another world of screaming ghosts and darkness . Until she finds friendly ghosts who are also lost in time .
    This is were the story takes off with Emmas adventures friendships and love together they embark on scaring the breathers the undead people out of the manor . . 4 stars

  7. Emma After by Anthony O’Connor was an enjoyable read. I surprised myself at how much I enjoyed reading a YA novel to be honest!
    The story is based on 18-year-old Emma who was leading an OK life, had an OK boyfriend and was trying desperately to stop her parents from fighting. It was this that lead to the first tragic accident for Emma, a car crash which leads her to become wheelchair bound. Accepting this and learning to move on, things don’t get much better for Emma with her ‘OK’ boyfriend then dumping her, and her parents starting to fight even more. Trying to escape a particularly bad fight, the next tragic accident occurs leading to Emma’s death. This is where things suddenly take a turn for Emma, even though she is dead!
    Becoming a ghost, her ‘life’ is now new and exciting, full of adventure and action with moving into the Fountaindale Grand Manor, trying to beat back the Hollows, meeting new people and forming new friendships and relationships. When live people (Breathers) purchase the manor and decide to renovate and move in, the resident ghosts decide to take action to deter and remove them. However, Emma tasked with haunting the son Andrew, discovers she is developing feelings for him and is torn.
    I loved this book and found it really easy to read. It was fun, light and not scary and although there were potentially a few unanswered questions, this did not deter from the story. I found it quite enchanting and wanting to believe there really are places like this for the afterlife!
    Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to read and review this book Beauty & Lace and Green Light productions.

  8. What an absolutely engaging and delightful book Anthony O’Connor’s Emma After is! I really enjoyed the colourful characters and small town Aussie vibe, with a goodly dose of quirkiness, spookiness and, somewhat surprisingly for a ghost story, humour thrown in. Endlessly creative and refreshing, it is highly recommended. Put it on your TBR now!

    Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Green Light Productions for the opportunity to read and review Anthony O’Connor’s Emma After.

  9. Emma After by Anthony O’Connor is a story that crosses genres from drama to supernatural to romance, and surprisingly they blend well.

    The main character Emma, after a period of trauma, accidentally finds her way to the Fountaindale Grand Manor. As she adjusts to her new reality, her sense of purpose grows and she joins the staff in securing the hotel from the hollows.

    When the hotel is purchased by some Americans, her haunting switches tactics and she finds herself falling for a breather. Joining forces they discover not only their love for each other, but also how happiness can help keep them, and the other ghosts, safe.

    This was quite an imaginative read, taking place largely in a world existing alongside our own. I also enjoyed the mix of characters and their role in the story.

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