CBR III Review #85: The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle
I loved The Beginning of After. The story follows Laurel a teenage girl who instead of going with ice cream with her family chooses to go home and study for the SAT’s. The decision saves her life, but the rest of her family is in a horrendous car accident and her mother, father, and brother are killed instantly. Her neighbor a childhood friend also lost his mother in the accident. His father remains in a coma and was the man who was driving. The police claim he is the reason for the accident and the story that follows is one of loss, grief, survivors guilt and forgiveness.
The Beginning of After follows Laurel as she tries to lead a normal teenage existence while dealing with the after effects of the crash. Laurel, because of the tragedy, becomes a minor town celebrity and now has to deal with the if someone is being genuine of if they just want to feel better for taking pity of the town orphan. I feel like that statement slightly trivializes Laurel’s plight, but how would you react to new opportunities if you were not sure if you earned them?
The Beginning of After is beautifully written and I couldn’t put down, despite the fact it was a major tearjerker. Undoubtedly, it will draw comparisons to If I Stay by Gayle Forman but they are two entirely different stories. Laurel was never given the choice that Mia was allowed. I highly recommend both novels to readers.
This title will be released on September 6, 2011.
- Reading level: Young Adult
- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: HarperTeen (September 6, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0061985791
- ISBN-13: 978-0061985799
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- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,581,784 in Books