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About The Book

Pixar’s Coco meets Neil Gaiman in this “terrifically eerie and atmospheric…a skillful mix of scary, sweet, and silly” (Booklist) middle grade novel about a girl whose quest to ensure her deceased grandmother is resting peacefully leads her to the magical and perilous kingdoms of the underworld.

Everyone in Whispering Pines knows their town is full of ghosts, but Helena Novak hasn’t seen a trace of her late grandmother, Babi. Helena and her best friend, Ben, spend most of their free time in the cemetery, yet no amount of gifts on Babi’s grave has lured her spirit out. But someone else has been paying attention.

Helena feels she’s being followed, and one day, all Babi’s grave gifts disappear. When Helena and Ben investigate, they find a secret door in a crypt that leads to the underworld itself. The sprawling subterranean world is a maze of eerie kingdoms, piercing castles, creepy forests, swirling seas, and crowded marketplaces full of unsavory characters. While the living can visit, if they get lost—or taken by the mysterious Nightmare—they won’t be able to leave. Despite the danger, Helena is set on finding her grandmother and seeing for herself that Babi is doing well in this strange place.

So when eccentric underworld guide Grumbones offers to help Helena and Ben find their way, they think it’s their lucky break. Sure, he looks like Santa’s skinny evil brother and some of the memento mori spilling out of his pockets look awfully familiar, but better a slightly suspicious helper than none at all…right?

About The Author

Photograph by Heidi Darbo

Jenn Bennett is an award-winning author of young adult books, including Alex, ApproximatelyStarry EyesThe Lady Rogue; and Always Jane, and the middle grade novels Grumbones and The Knight Thieves. She also writes historical romance and fantasy for adults. Her books have earned multiple starred reviews, won the Romance Writers of America’s RITA® Award, and been included on Publishers Weekly’s Best Books annual list. She currently lives near Atlanta with one husband and two dogs.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (August 1, 2023)
  • Length: 304 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781665930338
  • Grades: 3 - 7
  • Ages: 8 - 12

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Raves and Reviews

* "[R]ichly executed, with well-drawn creatures and characters...Helena’s experiences in Hereafter reflect the grieving and desperation that humans feel for connection with their loved ones after death. Loving bonds between family members and close friends sit comfortably at the heart of this supernatural, often gruesome tale that expertly explores people’s feelings of love and loss against the backdrop of an absorbing story of the nonliving...[o]riginal and absorbing; presents suspenseful underworld chills alongside heartfelt human emotions."

– Kirkus Reviews, starred review 

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