Author: Jennifer Castle
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.
What would you do if one day you wake up learning that you lost your whole family and you are left alone to deal with the heavy burden of coping through grief? The Beginning of After is a story about Laurel who tries to continue living in spite the fact of losing everything that is important to you - your family.
The book is very well written and it has a great story making it a great read, however I felt that it lacked on concentration with the main point of the story - grief after the death of your family. Indeed the story flows with Laurel trying to live her day normally but somehow most part of the book talked about her relationship with boys and her love life. There were a lot of times that I skimmed through the story, not because I was bored but because I didn't want to read about her interest in boys and minimal aspects of her life. I felt grief at some point, sadness and the shock and severity of the situation but somehow it's still lacking.
I enjoyed my time reading the Beginning of After but it wasn't a wow experience for me. I expected more emotion and more drama. I wanted to grasp the heaviness of the situation - which came short for this story. In spite those points, this is still a great read.