The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle

Aug 2, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pub. Date:  September 6th 2011
ISBN: 0061985791
Pages: 432 pages
Source: Publisher

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 idea of this book is nothing new, someone close to the main character dies and the character must figure out how to deal with this incredible loss. The difference between this book and those other books is Jennifer Castle. She created these characters and this story and made it all so painfully interesting. You wonder how on earth reading about someones loss and life after is interesting? Well in a sick way it is. But this story is most certainly not sick, and it will definitely play your heartstrings.

Laurel is someone all of us can relate to. She is just your average teenage girl, but because she is so average I think it is how I saw so much of myself in her. She's someone you can't help rooting for. As for David, I really want to just let you create your own opinions about him.

This book was beautifully written and completely breathtaking. Jennifer Castle definitely has created something very special and is incredible enough to share it.

Overall I truly loved this book. It wasn't a fast-paced adventure or a beautiful romance novel, but it was still so wonderful in it's own beautiful way. I dare you to read this book and not enjoy it.

Rating: 5 stars / 5 stars


  1. This is one book I've really been looking forward to. I'm glad Ms. Castle does such an amazing job making you feel something for her characters. Can't wait to read it!

  2. I am very interested in reading this book...even more so after your review! :)


  3. So glad to see you enjoy this one! I had the chance to read an early copy as well, and it just blew me away. Jennifer has such a way with words, and as you said, what makes this book shine is Castle's storytelling. Great review!


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