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Monday, January 11, 2010

After by Amy Efaw review

After by Amy Efaw

Published: August 11th, 2009 by Viking Juvenille
Genre: Contemporary young adult fiction, I believe.
Page Count: 350 in my ARC
Part of a series?: It's a standalone.
Amazon link.

Summary (from the inside of the book 'cause I like it better than the goodreads one): Who would leave her own baby in the trash to die?

Certainly not someone like Devon – a straight-A student, soccor player with Olympic dreams, more mature than her own mother. But desperation and panic drove her to do what most people can't even imagine. Now Devon's in a juvenile detention center, charged with attempted murder. If she'd tried as an adult, she faces like in prison.

Does Devon deserve that punishment? Your answer depends on whether you believe her story – that she didn't even know she was pregnant. Was she buried in a denial so deep that she was unable to register the seemingly obvious signs of pregnancy? Or were her actions the result of a more devious, premedited plan?

Review: Wow. I started reading this around four in the afternoon and finished in just a few hours, around seven. I put it down to eat supper and that's about it. It was incredible. I had good feelings about this one and I'm so glad that my expectations were met. I just wish I had read it sooner. I mean, it made me tear up.

Plot (in my words): The book opens with Devon lying on the couch in a haze when her mother comes home from work. Moments later, the cops show up and they and Devon's mom discover she's hemorrhaging. As she passes out, they call an ambulance and read her her rights. The rest of the book, told in present tense, third person (which is very unusual, but very neat) follows Devon through the aftermath of that, with numerous flashbacks, and preparing for the hearing that will decide if Devon will be tried as an adult or not.

Characters: The first time that Devon's age was stated, I was shocked. She hadn't even turned sixteen yet. Logically, I know that a lot of girls get pregnant at that age (it happens a lot in my town, unfortunately), but she just seemed so young.

Devon is the biggest character, obviously, and I think one of my favourite parts of the book is that it's told in present tense, so it's like we're watching things happen to her as they happen, but the other character's are incredible. Her mother... well, you'll have to read it to find out, but her mother is unbelievable. Her lawyer, though, is like a character right out of Law and Order. (Actually, the whole book reminded me of an episode of Law and Order: SVU. Only better because there was more depth. And that's a really big compliment for me because that's one of my favourite tv shows.)

One thing I liked, too, was that there wasn't a romance. It most likely would have been innappropriate had there been one, but lately it seems like a lot of YA books revolve around romance, so a book without one is a change. Not to say I'm not a hopeless romantic, but a change of pace is always good.

Cons, complaints, bad stuff, etc.: Honestly, I don't have anything.

PG-13 stuff: There isn't like cursing or anything, but it's a very mature subject, so the content reflects that. It's definitely for an older or very mature reader. I mean, I'm seventeen and there were moments that unnerved me. I'd guess that's the point, though. But still, best for an older/mature reader.

Cover Comments: I think it's a beautiful cover. The simplicity is just incredible and at first glance you almost don't notice that the girl's reflection is pregnant. It's just perfect for the book.

Conclusion: I got this last summer (wow, time flies) and when I opened the envelope with my hosue key because I couldn't wait til I got home, I squeed in a way that no one should do in public because I was sure it'd be great. I was right. It's just... amazing. Four and a half out of five roses.

Other notes:

- I actually didn't take that many notes for this one because I was so engrossed in it.
- Devon reads two unnamed books in After and I swear that one is Feed by MT Anderson and the other is a Tamora Pierce book, either from the Alanna series or from the Protector of the Small series.

And that's about it.
Peace and cookies,


  1. Dude, awesome review. I already wanted to read this book, but now I want to read it even more.

  2. Whoa. Heavy, intriguing book. I really want to read this.

    And I feel you on the romance thing--it's nice to see a book where there isn't the obligatory relationship thing. I kind of liked how Wintergirls handled that, too.

  3. This book is so good... everything you said was true. This book unnerved me so much... I can't even imagine someone my age (sixteen) getting pregnant. I can't IMAGINE what that would even bee like.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I'm liking what you said about romance, I totally agree. I hadn't heard of this book, thanks for reviewing it!

  6. You were right about the unnamed book references!

  7. Oops, forgot to say, great review. Glad you liked the book . . .


  8. After I first read your review, I went and got it from the library. Just finished reading this--really liked it. Thanks for recommending it.

  9. Tasch: It's soooo good, you really need to.

    Sadako: I'm so glad you liked it!!! You have no idea how flattered I am that you'd get a book because of my recommendation. *is happy*

    I haven't read Wintergirls yet, but I really want to.

    Hope: I couldn't imagine it yet. And Devon was only fifteen when she got pregnant. I couldn't imagine it either.

    Chutzpah: As much of a hopeless romantic I am, it can be nice when a book doesn't have it. Or need it.

    Amy: Oh, that's so cool!! And thank you so much for the comment!! You have no idea how much I squeed over it. :D

  10. Laina: Awww. :D Your being flattered made me feel good, too!

    You definitely should read Wintergirls when you get a chance--Laurie Halse Anderson rocks in general and this in part is a great book. Sad but great. And it's not a book where the main character is all about having a boyfriend--I'd say more but I don't to give away too much.


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