The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle Review

Release Date: September 6, 2011
Publisher: Harper Teen
Age: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Drama
Format: E-Book
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
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.
The first thing I love about this book is the gorgeous cover. It's beautiful and is a perfect first glance at The Beginning of After. Jennifer Castle succeeded in creating a painful realistic fiction that could occur anywhere and happen to anyone. She made meaningful characters with real personalities and emotions.

The main character Laurel while trying to overcome the past is broken and fragile in the days following the accident. Laurel faces something completely unimaginable, but she copes in the best way she can. This book seriously made me an irrational mess. I can only begin to understand what a young girl going through the loss that Laurel endures would be feeling, but I think Jennifer Castle did a marvelous job in making me cry my eyes out. The pain that Laurel experiences is felt through the words that Jennifer writes. Not only do we follow Laurel in her struggles but we also meet David. David's dad was driving the car that killed not only Laurel's family but David's mother as well. He is just as beat up as Laurel but copes in a different way.

I will say that I don't like David. Even now, after more than a week of processing my feelings for this book, I do not like him. Part of that may be because he's not perfect and neither is Laurel, he's selfish and in my opinion immature. They're reactions and arguments are brutally honest and real. While everyone else steps on eggshells around Laurel David's not afraid to tell her the truth. It's not one of those books that makes everything seem okay, because it's not okay, their lives will never be the same.

I recommend this book to anyone looking for a pure and honest, heart breaking and agonizing story about getting past the bad stuff to realize that there's still good stuff out there. Drama filled and incredibly real story by an extremely talented author who puts her characters first in her book.

1 comment:

  1. I just recently reviewed this one as well, and I'm glad you enjoyed it so much! This one was sort of so-so for me, but I do agree, I love the cover! I also really liked how you mentioned how David could tell Laurel things that no one else felt comfortable doing. I really felt that made their relationship with one another so much stronger. Great review!