The Lovely Bones, by Alice SeboldRead about the other entries on the list.
Perhaps the most famous modern example of the form, Sebold’s bestseller is both a meditation of what death does to the survivors who must reassemble their lives with one huge piece missing, and an exploration of one possible version of the afterlife. As the novel opens, 14-year-old Susie Solomon is cruising around a strange version of heaven that is shaped by her own living dreams and imaginings, even as she peers into the lives and hearts of her surviving family members—and spies on the man who murdered her. Though a literary sensation, this one could easily be shelved with other works of fantasy, as the speculative elements only become more prominent as the book reaches its somber, sad, ultimately uplifting finale.
The Lovely Bones is among Nadiya Hussain's six best books, Judith Claire Mitchell's ten best (unconventional) ghosts, Laura McHugh's ten favorite books about serial killers, and Tamzin Outhwaite's six best books.