Release Date: September 6th, 2011
Source: BookPeople Teen Revieiwing
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 has been on my to-read list for ages, and I've wanting to read it for just as long. Somehow, I didn't go buy it when it came out, but that isn't a problem because I have it now! And I couldn't wait to post this review!
Jennifer Castle's debut is breathtaking and spot on true. Laurel's problems and obstacles are relatable from page one, and she responds to every problem in character and with understandable uncertainty.
I loved Laurel the minute she was introduced. Her feelings and thoughts rang so true to me, even though I've never had to experience what she had to, I could still nod my head and whisper, "yes, yes, yes," frequently. The plot line let Laurel grow and make the necessarily realizations that were required for the story to move.
One thing I absolutely love about this book: It spans over a year. 432 pages for one year. Jennifer Castle passes the months quickly, but they're believable and you never feel like you missed a piece. It was fast paced and never lagged. You got to experience every part of the year and how it was for Laurel without her parents and brother which was a necessary piece.
Castle has built a beautiful story of a girl's story that rings to true for everyone - whether or not they're lost their family. Be ready to be starstruck by the words of Laurel.