In Neil Smith's Boo, Oliver "Boo" Dalrymple dies before page one. He narrates the book, which he conceives as being written to his parents, from the afterlife. But it's an afterlife, in a place called simply "Town," inhabited entirely by those who died at the age of 13 and were Americans. Boo and his fellow Townies speculate that there are other "heavens" for 14-year-olds, etc. and for those who were from other countries. While everything they need - food, clothing, books (though only novels, no non-fiction) - is provided for them, there is no direct contact with any sort of deity. The deceased "live" on, never aging, never changing, for 50 years in Town until they simply disappear. No one knows where they go next.
This was a wonderfully unique and delightful novel. While there are echoes of The Lovely Bones (dead narrator), The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (autistic narrator), even Lord of the Flies (the kids forced to create their own society and rules), this book really stands out on its own. (And those are three pretty good books to be compared to.) Boo is a great character with a wonderful narrative voice. The situations are strange but approached very matter-of-factly. The concept and setting are bizarre but really, really interesting, and there are lots of cool little details all over the place. Several twists and surprises are sprinkled throughout, and while I saw a couple of them coming, I was also surprised more than once. I was never quite sure what was coming next. This was a book I didn't want to stop reading; any given night, I told myself "one more chapter" (it helps that the chapters are generally quite short), and when I got close to the end, I found myself more and more anxious to finish reading it. It has elements of YA literature - young protagonists, stories about bullying in school, etc. - but is also very satisfying as an adult read. I really loved this one.