Book: After by Amy Efaw

Book Info: Published by Viking Books; 350 pages; borrowed from the library (as an e-book)

Genre: YA/Realistic Fiction

Find Out More: Goodreads~Barnes And Noble~Amazon~Author Website Summary: An infant left in the trash to die. A teenage mother who never knew she was pregnant . . .

Before That Morning, these were the words most often used to describe straight-A student and star soccer player Devon Davenport: responsible, hardworking, mature. But all that changes when the police find Devon home sick from school as they investigate the case of an abandoned baby. Soon the connection is made  Devon has just given birth; the baby in the trash is hers. After That Morning, there’s only one way to define Devon: attempted murderer.

And yet gifted author Amy Efaw does the impossible  she turns Devon into an empathetic character, a girl who was in such deep denial that she refused to believe she was pregnant. Through airtight writing and fast-paced, gripping storytelling, Ms. Efaw takes the reader on Devon’s unforgettable journey toward clarity, acceptance, and redemption.

Holy shit.  Seriously, that’s my reaction to this book.  It’s intense in a weird, indescribable way.  The book unfolds in a very interesting way, with Devon having flashbacks as she remembers what happens the morning she has her baby.  She’s in such a deep denial that she didn’t want to admit to herself that she was pregnant- her denial was easy to believe and yet so hard to believe at the same time.  And it doesn’t seem to be just Devon who is in denial- it seems to be everyone around her who didn’t know anything was wrong.  While Efaw does a great job at conveying how deep Devon’s denial was (and that her pregnancy might not have been obvious), it is a little hard to believe that everyone around didn’t know and didn’t say anything.  No one suspected anything was wrong with her or bothered to ask?  That seems strange to me.

I absolutely HATED the ended.  Devon, after coming to terms with everything that’s happened, decides she needs to plead guilty.  It just didn’t seem to fit with the rest of the book; I also wasn’t surprised by the ending.  I think Devon didn’t think it through, but then again, it is her decision, and not mine.  Besides, who am I judge a fictional character?

As for the characters, they were pretty believable, but Devon’s mom was the most irritating character in the book.  She’s the clueless single mom who worries about money and doesn’t seem to care (or even notice) what’s going on in her daughter’s life.  And while Devon isn’t always likeable, she is still a fairly sympathetic character.

Overall, it gets 4 out of 5 stars.  I really liked it, and I haven’t read anything like it.

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