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Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle

Publication Date:  9/6/2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Received from: netGalley
Goodreads | Amazon

Goodreads Summary:
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.

Fans of emotionally true and heartfelt stories, such as Sarah Dessen's THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER and IF I STAY by Gayle Forman, will fall in love with Jennifer Castle’s incandescent debut novel...a heart wrenching, surprisingly witty testament to how drastically life can change in the span of a single moment.

I don't want to say I understand exactly what Laurel was going through, but to an extent I really related to this book.  My father passed away when I was 16 and I remember going through the various stages of grief and feeling like I couldn't relate to a single person.  Laurel is an inspiration to anyone who has ever lost someone to an accident or unexpectedly.  This book didn't just contain words on a page that told a story, but rather evoked an emotional connection with the character that made us feel her grief, has anger, and her overall happiness.  Laurel's story is one that I fell in love with.  I hoped for the best for her and couldn't wait to get to the end.

Laurel deserves the best in life, but getting the best is difficult.  She wasn't the only one affected by this accident.  David, a neighborhood boy who is somewhat of a friend was also affected.  You can see Laurel's jealousy of David as well as her anger towards his family.  She is working through her emotions and turning in the right direction towards finding a way out.  This novel is a great piece of literature.  I think a variety of individuals could relate to the emotions and times Laurel and David are experiencing.  I can't wait to find out what Jennifer Castle will come out with next.

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