Reader Reviewed The Otherlife by Julia Gray

The Otherlife

Written by Julia Gray

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

July 2016 Debut of the Month Absolutely compelling. I have to admit to being rather surprised by ‘The Otherlife’, I think I was expecting a rollicking fantasy adventure, instead a startling, yet subtle and thought provoking read awaited. Either told from the viewpoint of Ben as he is about to take his GCSE’s in 2012, or through his classmate Hobie’s journal in 2008, The Otherlife focuses on the importance of friendship and a variety of issues such as the pressure of being a teenager and parent’s expectations. While Ben copes with pain, both physical and mental, Hobie bulldozes his way through the school year, with few morals, and little thought. Julia Gray sets the Otherlife flickering on the edge of the page, on the knife edge of reality... waiting. As I settled in and felt as though I was beginning to understand, the writing ripped my thoughts apart and set me off on a new path. An intruiging, slicing read, The Otherlife, is also warmly tender and compassionate, and I highly recommend it. ~ Liz Robinson

Reader Reviews

Teens & YA's love to read and so in addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our older Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can read their full reviews by clicking here.

  • Phoebe Allan, age 16 - 'A cracking good read for anyone who likes old legends, mystery and the thought that perhaps our world is not the only one!  A definite thumbs up!'
  • Lauren Coffman, age 16 - 'This book was a real page turner, and was dark, twisted and dangerous while still being interesting and heart-warming in parts.'
  • Grace Spear, age 13 - 'I loved reading this book because it had a gripping story line and made you want to know what was going to happen next...I'd defiantly recommend it to young adults and above. I really enjoyed reading it!'
  • Sophia - 'This was an amazing story. The whole story blew me away!! Awesome!!'
  • Felicity Kerswell, age 13 - 'This story is amazing! I was laughing and crying at the same time. I would definitely recommend this book it was wonderful in every way!'
  • Destiny Maraj, age 14 - 'The Other Life was a dark mysterious novel. I loved it!'
  • Emily Price  - ‘The Otherlife was a very suspicious and very intriguing novel...I recommend this book to 13-16 yr olds.'
  • Adam Goodman, age 13  - 'An exciting book with an unusual yet clever style of writing. It is action-packed and kept me gripped and engaged throughout.'
  • Rebekah Marsh, age 13 - 'The Otherlife is a truly amazing book, Ben establishes his relationship with Hobbie whilst battling with the fact that he is somehow part of the Otherlife - a mysterious realm of Norse gods.'
  • Humaira Kauser, age 18 - 'A great and unique book that I will almost definitely re-read again soon!'  


The Otherlife by Julia Gray

I always get away with it when I try stuff like this. Partly it comes down to sort of assuming that I'm going to. I've got loads of confidence. And Loki got away with everything. Well, almost everything.

When troubled, quiet Ben begins at the ruthlessly competitive Cottesmore House, school to the richest, most privileged boys, he is befriended by Hobie: the wealthy class bully, product of monstrous indulgence and intense parental ambition. Hobie is drawn to Ben because he can see the Otherlife: a violent, mythic place where gods and monsters roam. Ben has unnerving visions of Thor and Odin, and of the giant beasts that will destroy them, as well as Loki, god of mischief. Hobie is desperate to be a part of it. Years later, Ben discovers his beloved tutor Jason is dead. And he can't help wondering if Hobie - wild, restless, dangerous Hobie, had something to do with it...

Beguiling, shocking and richly imaginative, the Otherlife is about the darkest impulses within us all.


Gripping, bold and completely original -- Katherine Rundell

A big, mysterious book full of dangerous characters and half glimpsed truths. An absorbing and unusual read. I loved it -- Melvin Burgess

A dark, gripping and unusual debut -- Fiona Noble The Bookseller

About the Author

Julia Gray is a writer and singer-songwriter. She studied Classics at UCL and has a diploma in Children's Literature and an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck, for which she received the Sophie Warne Fellowship. She has released three albums with the trip-hop/jazz collective Second Person, and more recently two solo albums, I Am Not The Night and Robber Bride.

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Book Info


416 pages
Interest Age: From 12


Julia Gray
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Andersen Press Ltd

Publication date

7th July 2016




Publisher Profile

Andersen Press Ltd is an imprint of Andersen Press

logo Andersen Press is one of the leading independent children’s publishers, publishing some of the biggest names in the world of children's books including the much-loved picture book characters the Little Princess and Elmer the patchwork elephant. Andersen Press is the home of many award-winning authors and illustrators including Melvin Burgess, Rebecca Stead, Satoshi Kitamura, Tony Ross, David McKee, Chris Judge and Jeanne Willis. Founded in 1976 by Klaus Flugge it won the Bologna Best Children’s Publisher prize in the European Category in 2016, the company’s 40th anniversary year.

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