Kid’s Book Review: The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker

Kid’s Book Review: The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker

About the Book and Author

This is a YA thriller with a twist of the supernatural from super-talented writer Lauren James. It is published in the UK by Walker Books.

What if death is only the beginning? When Harriet Stoker dies falling from a balcony in a long-abandoned building, she discovers a world of ghosts with magical powers – shape-shifting, hypnosis, or even the ability to possess the living.

As she learns more about their community, Harriet is willing to do anything to unleash her own power, even if it means destroying everyone around her.

But when all of eternity is at stake, the afterlife can be a dangerous place to make an enemy. Because who knows what grudges people have been holding onto for millennia, just waiting for a reckless girl to give them the chance to get vengeance.

Harriet Stoker front cover
Lauren James

Lauren James is the twice Carnegie-nominated British author of many Young Adult novels, including The Loneliest Girl in the Universe and The Quiet at the End of the World. She is also a Creative Writing lecturer, freelance editor and screenwriter.

Her books have sold over a hundred thousand copies worldwide, been translated into five languages and shortlisted for the YA Book Prize and STEAM Children’s Book Award.

Her other novels include The Next Together series, the dyslexia-friendly novella series The Watchmaker and the Duke and serialised online novel An Unauthorised Fan Treatise. Visit her website to find out more about this gifted young writer.

Book Review

I absolutely loved this book, I was engrossed in it....It is a flawlessly crafted novel

The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker’ begins with the death of the anti-heroine, Harriet, in the abandoned building of Mulcture Hall, and follows her as she experiences the afterlife there, meeting Felix, Kasper, Rima, and Leah, who welcome her warmly. Harriet quickly becomes consumed by her hunger for greatness and her need for a power. She strives to do everything she can to achieve this, ignoring the destruction she causes to everyone around her, as all she wants is to leave the Hall to see her grandma.

As we follow Harriet’s story of desolation, many unexpected twists occur along the way.
I absolutely loved this book, I was engrossed in it.  It is brilliantly written, I loved how every so often we are taken away from the story to an outsider’s perspective, who knows what is going to happen and yet is completely helpless.

I also really enjoyed switching between the narratives of different characters every so often, it kept the book engaging, whilst also drawing me even further in when the previous character’s section had been left on a cliff hanger.

The story itself is extremely original and interesting and was constantly keeping me guessing at every twist and turn. The ending made me very emotional when I finally found out at the end how the university students had died so many years before, as the way it was written was so moving. I enjoyed and appreciated the representation in the book too, of many different cultures, races, and sexualities.

It is heavily implied at the end of the book that there is going to be a sequel, which I really hope I am correct about as I already can’t wait to read it, it’s just a shame that it probably won’t come out for a long time!

I highly recommend this book to anybody who enjoys fantasy, it is a flawlessly crafted novelit is a flawlessly crafted novel.

If you would would like to buy a copy of the book we invite you to order it from your local independent book shop.

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Alternatively, we suggest that you visit your local library and request to borrow a copy from a friendly librarian.

Whichever you choose, we hope you enjoy being part of your unique reading community – happy reading everyone!

Reviewer Profile

Rebecca Young reviewer
  • Name: Rebecca
  • Age: 17 years
  • Likes: maths, reading and cats
  • Dislikes: cold weather and spicy food
  • Favourite Book: Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  • Favourite Film: Hidden Figures
  • Favourite Song: The Other Side of Paradise by Glass Animals