Aug 19, 2011

Posted by in Random | 11 Comments

Review: The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle

Beginning Review: The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle
September 6, 2011
HarperTeen

Received from Publisher for review

Synopsis:
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.

My Review:
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.

My Rating:

4 Review: The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle

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  1. It was really interesting to read your review of this one Bailey, I just came from Zahida's blog and she had some major issues with this one and I love reading differing opinions! Nice that even though you had some issues with Laurel you still enjoyed it overall:)

  2. I've seen some mixed reviews for this one, but glad you liked it (despite the MC getting a bit annoying at times). I think I'm gonna read this one, it definitely sounds interesting. Great review!

  3. Hafsah @ IceyBooks says:

    I like the sound of the this one, despite the tad-annoying MC. I've seen some mixed reviews of this one, but I'm glad you enjoyed it! And I love that cover :D

  4. I'm kind of glad this book doesn't focus too heavily on romance. The subject matter is just too sensitive for the heroine to be actively searching for love. :P Anyway, I'm so happy you enjoyed this book! It sounds really powerful. Can't wait to read it! Thanks for the review! :)

  5. I've get why synopsis focus on the love interest because the possibly of romance sells books, but its kind of a shame because there is often more to the story.

    Depression and recovery are real issues that teens deal with and I'm glad to know that Laurel's struggles didn't revolved around David.

    I'm definitely gonna read this one. It sounds authentic and that is what I love about contemps.

    Love this review. Very helpful. Thanks Bailey! :)

  6. I've heard similar things from other people's reviews that Laurel was hard to connect to. Which is a shame because I would think that an important aspect of the story would be to relate to what Laurel's feeling. But other than that, it sounds quite good! Great review :)

  7. I've read some mixed reviews about this one but it seems like one that has been getting a lot of attention. Not sure if I'll read it (will likely depend on if it's easy to get my hands on), but I'm glad you mostly liked it!

  8. Wonderful review! I thought the romance would be the focus and am glad to know that it isnt. I feel like when I do get a chance to read The Beginning of After I will be crying my eyes out since Laurel is in such a heartbreaking situation.

  9. Midnight Bloom says:

    I loved The Beginning of After! It was so heartbreaking for Laurel to see her lose her family so suddenly. Her relationship with David was definitely a complicated one… Wonderful review!

  10. Lily Child says:

    Sounds interesting. Not sure it it's the book for me. Great review!

  11. A Canadian Girl says:

    It's always nice to see differing opinions on a book :)

    I thought David and Laurel's relationship was portrayed really nicely and it was definitely complicated. Through their interactions and emails, they were able to find someone else who could relate to their situation, realize that they weren't alone and that it's okay to feel whatever they were feeling. Great review, Bailey!

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