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{September 3, 2011}   ARC Review: The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle

From Goodreads: 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.

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HarperCollins has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read a copy of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on September 6th, and I must say that it was a good read.  It was essentially what I was expecting, based on the synopsis, meaning that this novel is extremely sad and gut wrenching at times.  Hence, I wouldn’t recommend it for a light summer read or anything like that, but it’s a great read for someone looking for a bit darker read that puts life in perspective.  

Laurel is struggling, and her anger is eating away at her as she attempts to cope with the death of her family and the man who survived.  Thankfully, I’ve never had an experience as devastating as Laurel’s, but I have lost loved ones before, and I can I imagine the extreme hurt and anger that fills Laurel’s heart, especially as there is a survivor for her to constantly remind her of her losses.  The raw feelings and emotions of this novel are very real, and I do suggest having tissues nearby.  Three stars. 

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