Susie Salmon is 14 when she is raped and murdered by a neighbour on December 6th 1973. He dumps her body parts in a sink hole, locked inside an old safe. As it turns out, she is by no means his first victim and she won't be his last.
Up in heaven Susie gets to watch her family and friends deal with her death and continue with their lives, although she is not able to influence her. She watches her father suspect their neighbour with no one believing him, her mother begin an affair and disengage from her family, her sister get her first boyfriend and her younger brother lock his feelings away. One final chance is left to Susie on earth in the form of Ruth, a girl who was in her class in school.
I mostly really enjoyed this novel. The idea of heaven was interesting and I liked that it was forever changing as the soul changed and learnt new things about themselves, earth and the people still living there. It was also good to see how the different people dealt with Susie's death, it was very realistic writing. The only part I didn't like so much was near the end in a scene involving Ruth, Ray and Susie which spoilt the realistic illusion for me a little. That it didn't particularly have a happy ending to Susie's case again made it more real somehow and the fact that her death still remained somewhat of a mystery.