September 5, 2011

The Beginning of After - Jennifer Castle

The Beginning of AfterYoung Adult
Pages: 432
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: September 6, 2011
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.

This was a nice book. Nice writing, nice characters, nice plot. It made me realize just how much people around you treat you differently when they know something awful like this has happened to you. I hadn't really thought about that aspect before. I liked the book well enough and was really longing for Laurel and David to get together. I know it's not about that, it's a book about grief and consequences and how life keeps going even when the crappiest of things happen, but really? If you introduce a subplot (or another plot? part of the plot?) like these two royally screwed up teens thrown together by the most horrible of accidents, and yet only them can understand how the other feels, you're bound to have readers thirsty for some romance action.

Yet in the romance department, I felt the whole book is one very mean TORTURE. Maybe like I guess Team Gale readers must feel reading The Hunger Games. The David dude was never even there. It's like he wasn't really a character but merely a concept. We never get to know him or understand him or even read many scenes where he is present. So to me, and admittedly boy-driven reader, it was hard to deal with that. But still, I kept on reading through the mundane things that constitute moving on and having no romance life. Because, after what Laurel went through, I at least wanted her to have her peace.

Overall, I did like it, but the slow plot and the lack of co-protag bothered me quite some. Readers who like contemporary will enjoy this a lot, but if you're craving some romance, be warned, you must be patient with this story. It will be satisfying at the end though.

1 comment:

  1. I think it would be hard to write a book like this knowing that the pacing would have to be slower than most of the romantic pacing of most YA books are, but it sounds as if the author did it in a realistic time frame taking the two characters' loss and making it real before allowing their mutual grief to wane enough to allow for new feeling to emerge. Not sure this is a book for me, but I loved reading your thoughts.


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