Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle


Published: September 6, 2011 by HarperTeen
Received: Advanced Reader Copy from the publisher - thanks HarperTeen!
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. {taken from goodreads.com}

Imagine your entire world being shattered in to a million little pieces in the blink of an eye.  This is what happened to sixteen year old Laurel.  In a moment's breath she lost her father, mother, and brother in a horrific car accident that will leave skid marks and broken glass inside Laurel's heart for the rest of her life.  When I first read the synopsis I was drawn to the subject matter of what it means to lose everything you have, literally.  Call me crazy or morbid, but I tend to enjoy books more that make me feel and think beyond the average literary tale.

As the pages turned, Laurel's life stopped.  She found herself unable to get out of bed some mornings, afraid of what her world looked like without the presence of her family in it.  My heart reached out to Laurel during these dark moments.  I'm not sure I would know how to function either.  Slowly, her feet found the floor and she was able to get up, stand, and walk; even if she went through the daily motions in a fog.  With the help of her grandmother and her best friend, Laurel eased back in to her life -- or what she thought was her life.  Then came the hushed whispers, and the sorrowful stares.  It became too much for Laurel.  There was one place she found solace, though.  In the presence of David, the son of the neighbors who were responsible for the death of Laurel's family.  Such an unexpected comfort she found with David, but it was something she could cling to -- and that she did, nails dug deep and hard.

When tragedy is dumped upon someone it's some times easier to crawl back inside and shy away from the world.  Laurel found a strength inside her that she was unaware of.  With the help of people close to her, including David, she started to put the pieces back together in her life.  This book touched heavily on what it means to grieve the loss of a loved one.  There is no wrong way, or right way.  Every one will handle it differently.  The important thing is that it is dealt with.  Ignoring the pain only creates more heartache later down the road.  I felt that the author, Jennifer Castle, represented such a tough topic in a very open and honest way.  Laurel's pain felt real and something I could grasp on to, no matter how heavy it sunk in my heart.

You realize a book speaks volumes when it can touch a personal piece inside you.  The Beginning of After did just that for me.  Though I did not endure the horrific loss of my entire family, I did lose my mother when I was 22 years old.  It was a sudden and very unexpected loss.  I identified with Laurel, in that regard.  Waking up one day to your entire world being turned upside down and having to remind yourself how to breath.  It's a pain that is unforgettable.  But it's also a pain that is manageable, as difficult as that may seem.  You are still breathing, you are still living.  Life goes on.  You may not like the After, but it's there, and it's up to you what you'll do with it.





Photobucket

19 comments:

  1. This is on my to-read list. It sounds like a deeper contemporary, but I'm glad you enjoyed it! I'm a huge fan of contemps, so I may pick it up soon :D

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm desperately waiting for this book to come out, so thanks for this lovely review! I'm sorry to hear about your mother, this is never easy to get through. Unfortunately I know what you're talking about.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I just finished this last night and I really loved it!! Im so sorry about your mother Ginger!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I really need to get my hands on this book because I have heard such great things. After all of the fluffy contemp I've been reading lately, this sounds like a good book to change up the pace!

    ReplyDelete
  5. This one is sitting on my nook. I thought it sounded good and it's nice to see that you enjoyed it - validation for the read ;) But I may save it for when I'm in the mood for something a little heavier, to cut the sweetness of some YA books. 

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sounds like one for a good cry. Thanks for a great review. Sorry about your mom.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I've had a copy of this for about a month now and I've been dying to read it but I am trying to wait till it's a little closer to the release date. Great review! And thanks for sharing a little piece of yourself into it too. I'm sorry about your mother.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Savy @Books With BiteFebruary 1, 2012 at 8:05 PM

    Thanks for the review!  Can't wait to read this!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow, great review. I've been wanting to read this since I frist heard you say you were reading it and now your review has made me want it even more.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Great review Ginger, I definitely love books that make me emotional, and actually feel something. This one's on my tbr pile and will be moved up closer to the top, looking forward to reading it. =)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I've read some tweets and comments from people reading this about how they didn't really like it or couldn't finish it. I was curious about why, but I see after reading your thoughts...I see it's a pretty heavy book. I love what you wrote, though, and it makes it sounds like something I might would read. And the cover is really beautiful. 

    ReplyDelete
  12. Wow, awesome review! this one was already on my wishlist but if it wasn't you would have just sold me it! It really does sound incredible yet so so sad! 

    ReplyDelete
  13. Really well written review. I haven't had to face the loss that Laurel did...so I couldn't relate in any way like you could, but I will still very much affected by the story. Such great writing!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I love books that make me feel something even if I am weeping uncontrollably at parts and I think this could be one of those books. Great review, I'll definitely have to get this sometime soon.

    ReplyDelete
  15. i love to be taken through the emotional wringer when read. i don't think that makes us morbid - i think that makes us compassionate and deep. but of course, i'm biased. :)

    SUCH a nice job with this review. 

    ReplyDelete
  16. I was blown away by this one, and I'm glad to see a great review for it from you. Fab, honest and heartfelt review, G :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. I look forward to reading this one! (I'll have to mark the release date on my calendar now so I don't forget!)

    I'm sorry to hear about your mom, I consider myself lucky every day that my Dad is still with us after three extremely close calls.

    ReplyDelete
  18. You know, this is one that I was really excited for, but honestly, I didn't love it. It sounds like it has everything I look for in a book, but kinda missed the mark for me. To me, if felt like a way to attract readers to the story so we could watch another teen girl trying to figure out boys. To me, the death of her family felt like a gimmick, or plot device, which was very not cool. 

    I'm really glad it spoke to you though, that it worked for you. I love finding books that affect me like that. :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Some books only connect with people if they know what the character is going through. Like you, I didn't lose my family, but just my dad was enough for me to connect with Laurel. I know what it's like to have those dark days. I'm only 50+ pages into this one, but I can see how she'll find solace with David. Clinging on to those who know what it's like is natural.

    Great review :)

    ReplyDelete

Hello Readers! Once you've typed up that comment that I oh so appreciate, please click "notify me" in the bottom right corner so that you don't miss my reply! Thanks, xo.

 
Site Design by Designer Blogs