Monday, February 20, 2012

Review: The Beginning of After

Author: Jennifer Castle
Publish date: 2011
Source: Library
"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 book has been on my radar since it came out, but I never wanted to read it badly enough to check it out from the library. However, yesterday I stopped at the library after work and saw it while perusing the YA section, so I decided it was finally time to read it. I read the whole thing today, but it unfortunately wasn't as good as I wanted it to be.

Obviously, the book starts out on a sad note with the death of Laurel's family and David's mom. I knew it was coming, but wasn't expecting it so quickly. We don't really get any introduction to the family before they are gone, which would have been nice instead of getting hit with their deaths so soon. I also wish the reader knew more about David. I wouldn't label this book as having a case of insta!love, but it would have been nice to see their relationship developed more. Also...David wasn't a very likable person. I know they were both going through a lot, but he just wasn't a nice guy to me.

One thing I enjoyed about the book was that it showed grief from a few different points of view. Obviously, we know what Laurel is going through, but since she lives with her grandmother afterward, we can see how an older person deals with the death of her son. Meg was also a good BFF for Laurel: very supportive, although understandably angry sometimes.

I enjoyed the book overall, although it probably could have been a bit shorter (432 pages!). Fans of Sarah Dessen would probably like it.

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