Monday, December 20, 2021

After - Review *Trigger Warning*


By: Amy Efaw

Publication: August 11th 2009 by Viking Books for Young Readers

350 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Source: e-Library

Narrated By: Rebecca Soler

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Goodreads description--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.

*I've found myself with a lot of extra, unplanned time in the car. Our house is still being renovated, and so, we're living with my parents in Montgomery. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Husband drives 45 minutes away to drop Little Girl off at kindergarten, and then 30 minutes from there to drop Little Boy off at Pre-K. Then I go pick Little Boy up 30 minutes away around midday and then pick Little Girl later in the afternoon. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I just have to pick Little Girl up, but that's still a 45-minute drive. So audiobooks are back in my life. I was searching the e-library's catalog and came across a title that sounded familiar to me. This was a book that a movie had been made from, and while I enjoyed the movie just fine, I didn't want to "waste" my valuable reading time as small as it is. But when I saw the audiobook available, I jumped on it.

I started the audiobook on a lovely sunny day driving to get one of the kids and immediately I thought, "I don't remember any of this happening in the movie." And then a little further down the road, "Was Devon even the main character's name?" (The answer is "no" in case you were wondering.) And eventually "Whoa! This has GOT to be a different book." I looked and it was. Same title. Different author. Entirely different storyline. That being said, I would not have chosen this book for myself to read had I simply read the book description. I mean shoot, I have a 7 month old baby. So the topic is very disturbing. And you know how you always seem to end up rooting for the main character. I wouldn't have thought there would have been any way that I could have ended up rooting for her. And I don't know that I did. I certainly was curious to find out what was going to happen.

I think Devon's memory is what really helped make her a character that you didn't immediately despise. She realizes some things have happened to her. But yet there's so much about her memory that isn't what you would expect. She often doesn't even have memories until they are pulled out of her. Repressed I suppose. And because we're in her head since she narrates the book, we get to see the way her mind works. This is what drove me to keep listening long after I probably would have DNF'd due to content.

It should be noted that this book doesn't cover the span of time to determine whether Devon is guilty or innocent of this crime in the court system. There is a trial towards the end of the book, but that trial is only to determine whether Devon should be tried as a juvenile or as an adult. Some description was graphic if you shy away from that type of thing. I certainly wouldn't blame you.

I don't want to discuss too much of the story itself so I don't spoil anything if you should decide that you'd like to read (or listen) to it. I would never have picked this book out for myself. And I almost DNF'd it once I realized what the story was about. I was hooked yet held onto to idea that I could DNF it if the content drifted into an area I couldn't tolerate. I ended up enjoying this book in a way that's hard to describe. At the same time, I also find that I'm not sure who I would recommend it to. Probably no one if that makes sense. Yet, I'd still give it 4 Stars. Have you read After? What did you think? Let me know!

*Review written in August 2021.

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