Books That Made Me CRY: Afterlove

For fans of They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera and One Last Stop by Casey McQuinnston, Afterlove was one of the quirkiest and most devastating books I read in 2021.


Name: Afterlove

Author:Tanya Byrne

Published: 2021

Ash Persaud is about to become a reaper in the afterlife, but she is determined to see her first love Poppy Morgan again, the only thing that separates them is death. Car headlights. The last thing Ash hears is the snap of breaking glass as the windscreen hits her and breaks into a million pieces like stars. 

But she made it, she’s still here. Or is she? This New Year’s Eve, Ash is gets an RSVP from the afterlife she can’t decline: to join a clan of fierce girl reapers who take the souls of the city’s dead to await their fate. 

But Ash can’t forget her first love, Poppy, and she will do anything to see her again… even if it means they only get a few more days together. Dead or alive…


For fans of They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera and One Last Stop by Casey McQuinnston, Afterlove was one of the quirkiest and most devastating books I read in 2021. Captioned as the ’lesbian love story you’ve been dying to read’ (have you ever heard a more perfect blurb?), the book follows Ash as she falls in love, and then dies in the space of a few weeks. I’d initially tried to get my hands on an Advanced Reader Copy because I was so impatient to read it, but the wait was definitely worth it…

I love this type of writing. In keeping with the themes it explores, the writing is incredibly lyrical but also doesn’t get carried away with itself. Unlike some metaphorical writing, there’s still a plot! The author gives loads of detail about strangers, and romanticizes the smallest interactions – it reads like poetry.

Poppy and Ash are electric and such a brilliant couple that Afterlove could purely be a romance book. However, I’m glad it isn’t because the fantasy elements take the book to a whole other level. With enough Greek mythology easter eggs to make nerds like me very happy, Afterlove is a fresh take on the often trope-y afterlife romance market. The clock is ticking throughout all of Poppy and Ash’s interactions and it really engages the reader. The underlying tension that runs throughout the book (when death will strike?) makes Afterlove so unique, and so, so sad!

“Maybe we’ll burn bright for a few weeks then collapse in on ourselves, but thats how galaxies are made.”

– HOW DID TANYA BYRNE WRITE THINGS LIKE THAT, LIKE THIS ENTIRE BOOK, AND EXPECT ME TO BE OKAY?

When I first opened the book, I read the prologue; I wrote this note: I’m going to love this and it’s going to destroy me. Unlike the vast majority of my predictions when starting a new book, that one actually came true! Afterlove had so many quotes that I wanted to sticker, but they go on and on and basically make up the whole book. It had a really strong message without being preachy. When you can’t see the pages because there’s so many stickers, you know it’s a good book!

The last part that broke me was Ash’s home life. Her relationship with her family felt really genuine and relatable, making it all the more sad when she has to leave. Her character was strong too and I really warmed to her as the plot developed. Utterly unpredictable, the plot was so unexpected and every page near the end was utterly devastating.

Relatable and beautifully written, Afterlove is for you if you’re looking for a good cry. Or a brilliant, metaphorical read about teenage relationships… and death!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Have you read Afterlove? Would you like to? What’s the saddest book you’ve ever read? Let me know in the comments!

Published by Hundreds&Thousands

I’m a teenager (and a Hufflepuff) from Manchester. I like oversized jumpers, music that isn't on the radio anymore and books. Pretty much any book I can get my hands on but my favourites are Young Adult, fantasy and science fiction. One day, I decided to share some of my opinions on some great - and not so great - books to people around the world. And here it is! I really enjoy it and I hope you do too. The aim is hundreds and thousands of book reviews (see what I did there?) but I’m not quite up to that. Yet.

13 thoughts on “Books That Made Me CRY: Afterlove

      1. I guess it depends, 99% of the time I like a book with a HEA/HFN ending but I do enjoy a sad book once in a while ( I loved Who I was With Her by Nita Tyndall) I definitely will give Afterlove a go🥺

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      2. That’s really interesting! I prefer HFN endings to HEA because they just feel more realistic? But depressing books can be so enjoyable if you’re in the right mood. Hope you enjoy it if you try it!!

        Liked by 1 person

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