Title: The Beginning of After
Author: Jennifer Castle
Release Date: September 2011
Published By: HarperTeen
Goodreads Rating: 3.76 stars
Review: Laurel's family was killed in a car accident - one that she should have been in, if she hadn't left the gathering early to do homework. The father of her bad-boy neighbor, David Kaufman, had been behind the wheel and his wife was killed as well. Laurel now struggles with the aftermath of the tragedy, with her guilt, distant former friends, and the still-comatose Mr. Kaufman, and through all of it is David. Between the two of them is forged a new connection, the strength of which can only be seen through time.
I like dark, edgy books that deal with difficult subjects, so when I got the opportunity to review THE BEGINNING OF AFTER, I immediately took it. Just as I expected, it was emotional and wrenching, and moved at a slow but lovely pace. One of the aspects I appreciated most about it was that Laurel didn't wallow in her emotions as much as I've seen in similar books, but the reader is still able to feel her pain and sympathize with her.
However, I didn't feel like there was anything about this book that made it stand out from others that also feature characters struggling with death and tragedy. I've seen a lot of different angles on the grief story, and I was a little disappointed to see that there weren't any fresh ones explored here. Maybe I'm growing a little tired of this particular subset of the genre as a whole, but I just didn't find this book original enough to truly enrapture me.
THE BEGINNING OF AFTER tells a heart-wrenching, emotion-laden story of loss, love, and healing that anyone, whether they've experienced tragedy or not, can sympathize with. My only complaint is that this doesn't truly stand out from other books about similar subjects, but I would still highly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys reading darker subject matter.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for review. This in no way affected my review.