The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle

September 15, 2011 3 flames 0

Author: Jennifer Castle
Source: Amazon Vine
*I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review*

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen (September 6, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061985791
ISBN-13: 978-0061985799


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.



After all of the hype involved with this book that I have seen around the world wide web, I was a little hesitant on reading and reviewing this book.  I wanted it to be as great as what I have heard and didn’t want to be disappointed.  How can you go wrong with tortured teen angst involving death, forbidden love and life changing events that will shape a teen into a young adult?

The first part of the book was slow in pace for me.  I kept wanting it to pick up and move on already.  I started to lose interest in Laurel almost halfway through the book because of the constant reminders that her life is lonely without her family.  I can understand the devastation that can be involved when you lose your entire family at once due to some horrible accident, but I was getting a little tired of reading her sob story every few pages.  I wanted to shake her and tell her to get a grip and move on!  There is still life out there that she needed to be living.

I also wanted to read more about David but the author kept writing him out of the story over and over again.  Maybe having David travel was in the best interest of the character, but it wasn’t in the best interest to keep the reader interested in the story.  I needed more interaction between Laurel and David to keep me interested and would have loved to have seen them work through this crisis together.  Instead, both characters had to work through it alone with the exception of Laurel’s Grandmother.

Overall it was just an okay book that might appeal to readers of slowly paced angst.  I prefer a little more action and dialogue between the two main characters to keep me interested for a long story.


Okay book, but it left me wanting more! 3 STARS

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