The Beginning Of After by Jennifer Castle
Release Date: September 6, 2011
Age Group: Young Adult
Summary: The Beginning of After is a story of hope and healing from Jennifer Castle, a powerful new voice in teen fiction.
When Laurel's family dies in a horrific car accident, she struggles to put her life back together. She is now connected to David Kaufman, who lives down the block, and who lost his mother in the same crash. Both of their lives change--but not in the ways that they thought...
Castle blends tragedy with romance, teen angst, and wit in The Beginning of After, a bittersweet, powerful debut novel that stands as a testament to how people can survive the unthinkable.
My Thoughts: When I first saw this one, I knew I had to read it. But I bought it, and it got buried on my shelf for a while. Until a year after its released when I pulled it off, and knew I needed to read it right that minute.
We are introduced to Laurel who lives with her mother, father, and little brother. They are a pretty happy family. Sure, she doesn’t always get along with her brother, but she still loves him so much.
One day they are a few houses down celebrating with the neighbors and her family decides to go to get dessert but Laurel wants to go home and study for the SATs. The neighbor boy David who also lives there also decides to go somewhere else. So while both of their families go for dessert, they are out doing their own thing. No big deal. Until Laurel gets a knock on the door later, and its the police.
She finds out that her family has been killed in a car accident along with David’s mom. His dad is in the hospital unresponsive.
This one motion sets off the rest of the book. Laurel has so much to deal with. She also kind of blames David and doesn’t think she can be around him, but she finds herself feeling like he is the only one who halfway understands and she wants to be around him.
Laurel withdraws from everyone and everything. She doesn’t want to go to school, she doesn’t want to do much of anything except stay in bed. I get it, I do.
The Beginning Of After was a wonderful debut and I enjoyed it, even if it was heartbreaking and sad. I loved Laurel and David as characters. I loved Laurel’s friends and her cool grandma. I liked how this one explored so many different aspects, death, sadness, grief, remorse, love, and learning to live with what you can’t undo.
I felt so sorry for both Laurel and David. It was heartbreaking. The Beginning Of After was different and unique.
Overall: I really really enjoyed this one, even if it was sad most of the time. I will continue to read whatever Castle writes next. She is sure not to disappoint me.
Cover: Love it. I love the colors and the way everything looks. Very attractive. Love.
What I’d Give It: