Title: The Beginning of After (goodreads/amazon)
Author: Jennifer Castle
Expected publication: September 6th 2011 by HarperTeen
Source: ARC courtesy of Harper for an honest review
Summary: "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."
Thoughts:I really wanted to love The Beginning of After and initially thought I would. Heart wrenching books are my thing! Plus, I love the cover. I don't know why and completely think it's just me, but for some reason, I just couldn't get into this book. Trust me, I'm more disappointed in myself for not loving this than the book itself.
The first 150 pages drew me in. I devoured them and couldn't wait to keep reading. I don't know what happened or when it happened, but somewhere along the way, I started to lose interest. I struggled to finish the rest of the book. In my personal opinion, I found about 200 pages to be incredibly unnecessary and, to be frank, boring. For me, I felt like this book was lacking depth and raw emotions, two very necessary things I need in order to truly fall in love with this book.
The characters were also a bit lacking as well. You ever see those actors who try to cry during a certain scene, but just can't? That's how the characters felt to me. The struggle to cope, the pain for their lost family members, and attempt to live life felt forced instead of real. I never once felt connected to any of the characters. In fact, I don't think I felt anything at all. Now, I'm not saying it's all bad. I did very much enjoy Laurel as a character. She's so brilliant and didn't care what other people thought. She just wanted things to be normal, and I completely appreciated that.
If you want a touching novel with this, that and more, I'd recommend reading If I Stay, then following it up with Where She Went. If you're planning on reading The Beginning of After prior to my review, please don't let me stop you. I know a ton of people who love and adore this book. Sadly, in my case, it just wasn't the book for me.
(4 for the first half, 2 for the last = 3!)