Chasing Before by Lenore Appelhans
"It’s been four months since Felicia saved Level 2 from the Morati, the corrupted angels who trapped her and her boyfriend, Neil, in the afterlife. Now, she and Neil are finally ready to move on to the mysterious Level 3, an afterlife training facility where humans pick a career to pursue until they supposedly retire to the next level.
Shortly after arriving, Felicia learns some shocking truths about her life that make her question everything. Neil wants to focus on the future, but Felicia insists on looking for answers about her past. Just when Felicia thinks things can’t get any more complicated, deadly explosions begin to rock Level 3, and Julian—her charming former love who might still be aligned with the Morati—reappears.
Felicia has a choice: Will she do everything in her power to expose the Morati and end the destruction of Level 3, even if it means never knowing who she really is? Or will she chase after the desires of her heart and risk losing her past humanity, her present afterlife, and a future with Neil?"- summary from Amazon
The Memory of After (aka Level 2) was a wonderful debut and pretty much after reading the final page, I was so excited to read the sequel. It did not disappoint. There's a lot to love here- the new afterlife setting and rules, the suspense of figuring out what's going on with the Morati infiltration, the continued relationship between Felicia and Neil, as well as getting to know new characters Megan (aka Felicia's best friend from Earth) and Brady (introduced in his own fantastic story in The Best Things in Death anthology). I did wish we could see a little more of Brady but perhaps I will just pester Appelhans to write more memories from him.
There's definitely conclusion to this newest installment so fans don't need to worry about a cliffhanger ending, but it does give the impression that it could go on, which I kind of hope it does. I love being in this world and with these characters. Regardless, I will follow Appelhans wherever she goes with her follow-up novels. If you've not read this duology yet, do so now; it's such a breath of fresh air in the YA market with an intriguing concept and compelling characters.
FTC: Received signed ARC from the author (thanks Lenore!). Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.