Everlost (novel)

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The cover of Everlost
Author Neal Shusterman
Language English
Series Skinjacker Trilogy
Genre Fantasy
Publisher Simon & Schuster
Publication date
Media type Print (hardback & e-book)[1]
Pages 377
ISBN ISBN 1-84738-504-4
OCLC 62282121
Followed by Everwild

Everlost is a fantasy book published in 2006 by the acclaimed young-adult author Neal Shusterman. The story is the first in the Skinjacker trilogy that takes place in Everlost, the place between life and death.


Soon to be Afterlights Nick and Allie, got into a car crash. They're supposed to go towards that light at the end of the tunnel, but they bump into each other and get knocked into a mysterious world between life and death called Everlost. The world is filled with terror, and unexpected twists for the souls that reside there. Both Nick and Allie want their lives back, so they start exploring this new world, hoping to find a way back to their normal lives. There is a catch, however: If they stand still in the living world for too long, they will sink into Earth. The longer they stay in Everlost, the more they forget about themselves in the real world.[2]

In the beginning of the book, they are saved by a boy named Lief, who tells them that they are called "Afterlights" who cannot walk where the living walk. They are somewhat like ghosts. He warns them of a dreaded and evil monster, McGill, and Johnny-O and the alter boys before they make their way to New York City. There, they meet Mary Hightower, the "mother" of Afterlights who keeps many Afterlights safe, and is author of hundreds of books about living in Everlost. She lives with the children under her care in the destroyed World Trade Center. This is because things that are much beloved in the world can cross into Everlost if they are destroyed. They settle down, but Allie is not content with the way things are, so she sets out to see if she has special powers. Allie notices other Afterlights at the Twin Towers keep repeating and doing the same exact thing everyday. Lief gets stuck playing the PAC-Man arcade game non-stop and she has to pry him from the game to drag him along with her. They meet The Haunter in a factory that crossed over to Everlost. Allie gets Lief and Nick captured by The Haunter and it is shown that Allie can pick up living things and also possess or 'skinjack' as it is called in the book. In her adventures, she learns how to use her own powers. These adventures tell Nick his purpose while revealing the secret plan of Mary Hightower and the real identity of the McGill, Mikey McGill, Mary (really Megan) Hightower's younger brother. Mary, also known by others as the Sky Witch, has been lying to the children, stealing the coins they invariably have in their possession, which will allow them to leave Everlost, a metaphor for the coins given to pay Charon. Nick has also received the nickname "Chocolate Ogre" because of how he has a chocolate stain on his face, and Mary spreads rumors about how he sends Afterlights away by luring them in with the smell of chocolate.

Allie outsmarts the McGill, who is unmasked by his sister. Allie, traveling home, is later saved by Mikey, who takes her the rest of the way home.


The stories in the Everlost takes place in Everlost. Everlost is the place between life and death that all lost children end up after getting lost in their journey to the afterlife. These lost children, or Afterlights as they are called, are unseen by the real "living" world. The afterlights cannot interact with the real world (except those with the ability to possess or "skinjack" the living and will sink to the Earth's core if they stay still. An exception, is when somebody has died in that spot. They can interact with certain objects that are loved so much by their owners that when the object breaks, it crosses over to Everlost, unbroken, and is given a place there for eternity. The same is for certain places that were destroyed (the twin towers are used as an example) that were loved and cherished by many people and will never be forgotten. There are no adults in Everlost presumably because they know where they are going [3]


  • Alexandra "Allie" the Outcast: Allie is a 14-year-old girl who ends up in Everlost after the car she is riding in, crashes head on on a highway with the packed black Mercedes that Nick was in. Allie is brave and "goal" orientated though not a planner. She was reborn nine months later in "Everlost" as an Afterlight. Allie discovers that she has the gifted ability to "possess" (or "skinjack" as it is called in the book) people. She tries to return home to meet her parents in order to put her troubled mind at ease. However, on the way, she and Nick encounter many adventures.[4]
  • Nick: He is 14 years old. A half-Japanese boy who is more of a follower, not a leader. He was riding in a packed black Mercedes on the way to a wedding when he died with chocolate on his face; now he is stuck in formal clothes and a chocolate covered mouth for eternity.[4]
  • Megan "Mary Hightower" McGill: The self-proclaimed expert on Everlost, she has written many books on living in the world between life and death. She also thinks of herself as the mother of the many children stuck in this world, being one of the oldest inhabitants at fifteen. She will do anything to keep the "lost" Afterlights in Everlost.[4][5]
  • Michael Edward McGill, "The McGill" or "Mikey": The brother of Megan McGill. After escaping the earth's core by becoming a monster, he encounters a ghost ship where he spends nearly 30 years looting and "kidnapping" Afterlights after believing a fortune in a chinese fortune cookie that in exchange for 1000 souls, he can return to the land of the living.[4]
  • Travis, alias "Lief": An 11-year-old boy Allie and Nick had found in the crossed-over forest. He follows them throughout the novel, until he reaches a state of peace and leaves Everlost through a coin. Before he leaves it is discovered that his real name was Travis. This is how Nick realizes the coins have the power to help the Afterlights "get where they're going".


The novel Everwild was published in 2010. It follows Allie's return home to her parents in order to put her restless mind at ease. Allie is accompanied by the reformed Mikey, the fearful monster "The McGill" who has been terrorizing Everlost for 30 years. Everwild also follows Nick's quest to save all new afterlights from Mary Hightower, who plans to recruit the new afterlights into her army and keep them in Everlost for eternity. The third and final book in the trilogy is Everfound, published in 2011. It concludes the series and ultimately describes the fate of all the main characters.[6][7]


The book Everlost has won the following awards:[2][8]

  • 2009 ALA Popular Paperback List
  • 2009 Oklahoma Sequoyah Young Adult Award List
  • 2009 Garden State Teen Book Award List
  • 2008 School Library Journal Best Books of the Year,
  • 2008 VOYA - Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers
  • 2008 International Reading Association Young Adult Choice List
  • 2008/2009 Missouri Gateway Award List
  • 2008 New York Public Library “Books for the Teenage.”
  • 2007/2008 Georgia Peach Book Award List
  • 2007 PEN USA Literary Award - Finalist
  • 2007 Children’s Literature Council of Southern California “Fantastic Work of Fiction”


  1. ^ "Everlost (2006) (The first book in the Skinjacker Trilogy series) A novel by Neal Shüsterman". Fantastic Fiction, http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/. Retrieved January 19, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Ever Lost". Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  3. ^ Shusterman, Neal (2006). Everlost. Simon & Schuster. p. 313. ISBN 1-84738-504-4. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Everlost". Shelfari. Retrieved 21 January 2011. 
  5. ^ "Everwild". Shelfari. Retrieved 21 January 2011. 
  6. ^ "Everwild by Neal Shusterman". Caught Between the Pages. Retrieved 21 January 2011.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  7. ^ Shusterman, Neal (2010). Everwild. 1847387322. p. 432. ISBN 1-84738-732-2. 
  8. ^ "Everlost (Part of Skinjacker Trilogy, The)". Simon & Schuster, http://books.simonandschuster.com/. Retrieved January 19, 2011. 

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