Oct 4, 2016

My Thoughts: Afterward by Jennifer Mathieu

4 bittersweet chocolate chip cookies.

Cover Love:
Yes, the image of the bike and balloon combined with the tag line "Ethan went on a bike ride. Four years later, he came back," are very striking.  Good stuff!

Why I Wanted to Read This:
I was in the mood for something different and I needed a book I thought I could get done quickly.  I have read Jennifer Mathieu before and knew I liked her writing so I gave this a try!  Here's the synopsis from GoodReads:

When Caroline's little brother is kidnapped, his subsequent rescue leads to the discovery of Ethan, a teenager who has been living with the kidnapper since he was a young child himself. In the aftermath, Caroline can't help but wonder what Ethan knows about everything that happened to her brother, who is not readjusting well to life at home. And although Ethan is desperate for a friend, he can't see Caroline without experiencing a resurgence of traumatic memories. But after the media circus surrounding the kidnappings departs from their small Texas town, both Caroline and Ethan find that they need a friend--and their best option just might be each other
Romance?: Not really, but a pretty strong friendship develops.

My Thoughts:
This was a powerful book.  The author wrote it from the alternating points of view of Caroline and Ethan.  She did a great job with each of their voices.  I can't imagine the research she must have done to write Ethan so well!  I'm sure that kids coming back from that kind of trauma display all types of behavior and the way she wrote Ethan seems so real and true.  His chapters were particularly moving and engaging.

And Caroline was every bit as messed up because she blamed herself for Dylan's abduction.  Although Dylan wasn't gone nearly as long as Ethan, because he was autistic his recovery was very stalled.  That was one of the most interesting contrasts in the book:  Ethan's parents had money to get him (and them) help, Caroline's family did not.  However, Caroline's mom also kind of wanted to act like it didn't happened, which didn't help anyone in their family.

I liked how Ethan's flashbacks were handled.  Even though the what happened to Ethan was totally disturbing, the author leaves it to our imaginations.  She isn't graphic with his memories, what comes back to him truly is what he can handle in his recovery.  However, it's very clear the kind of abuse and trauma he had to deal with during his four years.  It was just so well done.

I loved how the book ended, there was hope for both Caroline and Ethan and their families.  It was a good ending and really the best one for this story.

To Sum Up:  This would be a powerful read for many ages.  I am going to get it for my library because it gives students a glimpse into stuff that is very real, but rare.  Just the kind of book I loved to read when I was a young teen!

Book requested and sent from Macmillan for review.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds really good! I'll have to get it. :)