Elsewhere Summary & Study Guide

Gabrielle Zevin
This Study Guide consists of approximately 23 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Elsewhere.
This section contains 639 words
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Elsewhere Summary & Study Guide Description

Elsewhere Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin.

Elsewhere is a novel by Gabrielle Zevin. In this novel, Lizzie has been killed in a hit and run accident. When she wakes on a boat, she thinks that she is dreaming. However, as Lizzie comes to understand the truth, she finds herself fighting reality and breaking the rules to get back to her family. Elsewhere is a fascinating story of what happens to people after death.

Lizzie has died in a hit and run accident on her way to the mall. Only fifteen, Lizzie wakes on a boat and holds on to the idea that she is only dreaming because she cannot imagine dying so young. However, when Lizzie is allowed to watch her own funeral, she is forced to realize the truth. When the boat docks, Lizzie refuses to disembark in hopes that she can return with the boat to her previous life.

On Elsewhere, Lizzie is met by her grandmother, Betty, who died in the months before Lizzie was born. Betty explains to Lizzie that on Elsewhere, people age backwards. Betty was in her fifties when she died, but is now in her thirties. Lizzie becomes angry at this thought because she had so looked forward to turning sixteen, but now she never will.

On her first full day on Elsewhere, Lizzie attends her acclimation meeting, a meeting with a counselor in which Lizzie learns about Elsewhere and is assigned an avocation. Lizzie's counselor, Aldous, suggests that Lizzie work as a counselor with newly arrived animals, but Lizzie hesitates at the offer.

Lizzie begins spending all her time at an observation deck on a lighthouse near her grandmother's house. From the telescopes on the observation deck, Lizzie can watch her family and friends back on earth. Lizzie becomes obsessed with watching over the next few weeks. Lizzie desperately misses her life on earth and refuses all of Betty's attempts to pull her out of her depression and away from the observation deck. Then Lizzie decides she must communicate with her family, so she decides to visit a forbidden place in the ocean where it is said she can communicate with her family and friends. However, Lizzie is caught by Betty and realizes that her attempts to return to earth are futile. The next day, Lizzie accepts the job with the Division of Domestic Animals.

As time passes and it comes close to Lizzie's dad's birthday, Lizzie recalls a sweater she bought for her father that is hidden in her closet. Lizzie feels overwhelmed with the need to get the sweater to her dad. Once again, Lizzie goes to the Well. This time Lizzie manages to speak to her family and can see that her brother Alvy has heard her. Just as Lizzie is talking with Alvy, a net comes and drags her to the surface. A cop whose job it is to keep people away from the Well, chastises Lizzie and shows her the unhappiness she has caused her family. However, when Lizzie explains her reasons to the cop, Owen Welles, he decides to go to the Well himself and explain the situation to Alvy.

Lizzie and Owen become friends and quickly begin the transition into a more romantic relationship. Owen, who died at twenty-six, desperately missed his wife after his death. With Lizzie, Owen is finally able to let go of his feelings for his wife. However, things become difficult when Owen's wife dies from the flu. For several weeks, Owen pushes Lizzie away and tries to resume his relationship with his wife, but they both soon realize that they have both changed and their relationship is not working.

Lizzie and Owen return to one another. Betty marries a former musician. Together they all grow younger until Lizzie is once again an infant. Lizzie finally returns to Earth and is reborn.

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This section contains 639 words
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