In the forest near their crash site they find a boy who tells them they are Afterlights, which Allie interprets as ghosts. The boy has been here so long he has forgotten his name. Taking a cue from his forest home, Allie calls him Lief.
Leif warns them that it’s not safe outside the forest, what with the gangs of thugs and the horrible McGill monster waiting to do them harm. On top of that is the fact that if they step off the dead spots (places where someone has died) the ground turns to quicksand and they begin to sink to the center of the earth where they will remain for all eternity.
Leif wants his new friends to stay with him in the forest. It’s been a lonely several decades for him out there by himself. Allie, however, wants to go home and see if her father also died in the accident. If he did, he must have gotten where he was going, as he’s not lingering here in Everlost.
So Nick and Allie set off on handmade snowshoe-like contraptions to keep them from sinking into the ground, and a wild adventure begins.
They meet Mary Hightower, who harbors Afterlight children in the ghost of the Twin Towers. (You see, buildings and items much loved in the living world also linger in Everlost after they are destroyed, and Afterlights can use them.)
Nick and Allie pay an unpleasant visit to the Haunter, who, among other talents, can move objects from the living world poltergeist-style. They have a run in with the horrible McGill and his associates, encounter a high-diving horse, and meet hoards of oddly entertaining children and items. (No adults, interestingly.)
Along the way they learn of their own talents and purposes in Everlost, and learn to help themselves and the other lost children.
Everlost is the first in the Skinjacker trilogy, and I doubt it would be much of a spoiler to explain that skinjacking is the talent of being able to walk into and possess a living person. Reading the Amazon description of other books in the series I see that if I keep reading there will be furjacking. Ohhh! Walking in animal skins.
This YA novel is recommended for about 12 and up. To me it felt very young at the beginning, with poor Nick walking eternity with chocolate smeared on his face. But it picked up speed and I am anxious to read the rest of the series. I hope you are too.