Publishing Date: September 6, 2011
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Anyone who’s had something truly crappy happen to them will tell you: It’s all about Before and After. What I’m talking about here is the ka-pow, shake-you-to-your-core-and-turn-your-bones-to-plastic kind of crappy.
Sixteen-year-old Laurel’s world changes instantly when her parents and brother are killed in a terrible car accident. Behind the wheel is the father of her bad-boy neighbor, David Kaufman, whose mother is also killed. In the aftermath of the tragedy, Laurel navigates a new reality in which she and her best friend grow apart, boys may or may not be approaching her out of pity, overpowering memories lurk everywhere, and Mr. Kaufman is comatose but still very much alive. Through it all there is David, who swoops in and out of Laurel’s life and to whom she finds herself attracted against her better judgment. She will forever be connected to him by their mutual loss—a connection that will change them both in unexpected ways.
Jennifer Castle’s debut novel is a heart-wrenching, surprisingly witty testament to how drastically life can change in the span of a single moment.
The Beginning of After isn’t like any other book I’ve ever read. The title alone carries the weight of the story. The story is heavy but it did not make me cry (I don’t know why, it just didn’t have that effect on me). It’s descriptive, not with the setting (place,time,things,etc) but with the situation. It tackled and told the story of Laurel’s life in detail but it wasn’t boring. There’s just something with the novel that I liked. It’s realistic and it sounded like I was reading a real person’s journal. I have read quite a number of novels with the same story “family dying, me?-left alive”.
This is much about how Laurel went about with her life. The denial stage wasn’t stressed that she was in denial but you just realize that she was in denial because this is what she did,etc. This book more likely showed you rather than explained to you the why’s. You will be surprised with a lot of things with this novel. I never expected not to cry, that people around her would act all so smooth and kind to her even after many months, that her relationship with David isn’t immediate (I really thought they would be closer quickly). I was wrong in many of my expectations in this book, BUT I’m happy that I was (because it meant the story is common but the real story and content is really different from others).
I loved it, was entertained in the sense that my mind was emotionally changed and touched, and lastly the ending was full of understanding and was simply real. Thumbs up to Jennifer Castle! :)
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