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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Review: The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle

Pub. Date: September 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Hardcover , 432pp
Age Range: 12 and up
Source: 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.

Jennifer Castle’s debut novel is a heart-wrenching, surprisingly witty testament to how drastically life can change in the span of a single moment.

The Beginning of After is a touching debut! Filled with beautiful moments of love and loss, this novel was truly palpable. I never know what to expect reading novels that could quite possibly be emotional reads. Sometimes it's hit or miss with me but Castle's writes in such away that she captures every detail which pulled at my heart strings. As with any book that can pull me in emotionally, I can't help but give it high praise.

After tragedy strikes, both Laurel & David are about to embark on an emotional journey that could quite change their lives forever. While each character has their own internal struggle and guilt to deal with, they are tied together through their losses and grow closer together in there grief. This book makes you laugh and cry and I empathized with them and just wanted the characters to heal after their tragedy.

Castle blew me away with her writing and character development. If this book is anything to go by, then whatever Castle writes next, I will be picking up to read. Great debut!

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars


  1. This one sounds emotionally taxing. I do enjoy these books, but must be in the right frame of mind to dare to read one.

    Thanks for the informative review and introduction to this book.

  2. I'm glad to see that you liked this one! I've been looking forward to it!

  3. This story really was emotional...I felt so much for Laurel and David. Wonderful review :)

  4. Well, beautifully written I simply could not have asked for a better existing read and I am sure many will agree.

  5. I have gone through with few of Jennifer Castle’s establishments, those are very good ones with nice endings. So this review also shows what this author is capable of. Nice review and thanks for sharing.


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