Review: The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle
Received from Publisher for review
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 is a breathtakingly honest and heartfelt story that is sure to pull on your heart strings. It is more than a story about loss. It is about healing and coming to terms with life after a terrible tragedy. While the story mostly consists of sorrow and depression, there are still parts that are hopeful and touching. If you are looking for an authentic contemporary novel, THE BEGINNING OF AFTER is the book for you!
Laurel is a very unique heroine in YA in that she has to deal with something way more awful and serious than having boy problems. She must come to terms with the fact that her parents and her brother are gone and attempt to move on in her life and find happiness. It is not an easy journey alongside Laurel, as she suffers with her depression and anger throughout most of the novel, but it made me feel so happy when she finally picked herself up and began her journey to recovery.
While the synopsis makes it seem as if her “relationship” with David is the main focus of the story, let me tell you that it really isn’t. Laurel isn’t at all focused on finding love and doesn’t expect anything to happen with David, especially when it does. She wants to get through school and try to heal from the deaths of her close family. The relationship between her and David is so complicated. It starts out slow and really isn’t even a friendship, but through their emails and one-on-one interactions with each other, they discover something beautiful and fragile.
While I enjoyed THE BEGINNING OF AFTER for the most part, I did have a few problems. At times the story lagged a bit and it was hard for me to want to keep reading. Also, Laurel got a bit annoying at times and I had a hard time understanding where she was coming from. I get that she suffered so much, but I just got so mad at her during some scenes!
THE BEGINNING OF AFTER is a shockingly real and gratifying novel that fans of contemporary will love! Don’t hesitate to pick it up when it releases.