Soon Chuy is floating above his bleeding body, embarking on a journey of personal exploration. As he drifts though his hometown (tightening his stomach muscles so as not to get blown off course) he manages to achieve many of the things he didn’t when he was alive--recognizing how much he is loved by family and friends, saving a life, punishing a thug, and even falling in love (with a ghost-girl who has committed suicide).
Soto has a knack for particularly apt comparisons ("the sun rose pink as a scar," "laundry hung like the faded flags of defeated nations,"), which brings beauty and clarity to this dangerous world of cholos and cabrones (and if you don’t know what those are, there’s a glossary in the back). Aside from a couple plot points left dangling, The Afterlife offers a tangibly detailed portrait of a young life worth living. (Ages 13 and older)--Brangien Davis