The Beginning of After
Author: Jennifer Castle
Release Date: September 6, 2011
Rating: 2.5 Birds
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.I would love to say that I really enjoyed this book, but I just can’t. I struggled through it, it just didn’t capture me or engage me liked I had hoped it would and to be honest I actually had to force myself to pick it up and keep reading. This sounds harsh, I know but I’m not trying to be mean, just honest.
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 story starts out with the biggest part of the plot (IMO) happening right off the bat. Laurel’s family is killed in a car accident. Don’t worry, that’s not spoilery, it’s in the blurb above from Good Reads. It’s like a movie where all the good parts are in the preview and you feel like you’ve already seen the good stuff when you pay your $8 at the theater. Well the accident happens in the the first few chapters and from there on out it’s a fairly dry and level read with no real gripping story line to it after.
At best I can say it’s an earnest journey through life and loss. It certainly does show you how life can change in the blink of the eye but I think that it could have been done a little better. Instead I just felt like I was tagging along watching from the outside of an incredibly normal, unsatisfying life of a teenager who’s lost her family.
I’m giving the book 2.5 Birds because I didn’t hate it or love it, but I do think that it’s a relevant topic.