Friday, February 15, 2013


Devon Davenport is the model of a girl who has it all together. She's the star of her high school's varsity soccer team. She can play and win against the boys. She plays on the off-season. Her grades are impeccable. She coaches children to be a goal keeper like her someday. She babysits a set of twins to make extra money to pay for her own trips to summer soccer camps. Her mother is less than involved, working multiple jobs to support the both of them and always on the hunt for Prince Charming, but that just seems to make Devon stronger, and more independent. No one has a bad thing to say about the well-respected fifteen year old, until a baby is found clinging to it's life in a garbage can behind her apartment. They say she's the one who gave birth to it. They say she attempted to murder her baby. The most confusing part? Devon doesn't remember any of it.

Devon's world is flung upside down when she is sent to a juvenile detention facility to await trial. Her biggest charge: attempted murder. Devon struggles to find her place in the group of girls in the detention facility, and tries to piece together the events that got her there: the boy, the sex, That Night. Meanwhile, her attorney, Dom, works to prove to a skeptical court that it is possible for Devon to have never known she was pregnant, and that she never meant for this outcome. But is that really the case?

After by Amy Efaw is an incredibly powerful read that had me clinging to every word on the page. I was reminded of Jodi Picoult, the way that she wove flashbacks into the present narrative, and the court scenes were strong and engaging, not at all boring or dry. Efaw really succeeded in creating visceral moments that were hard to read, but I couldn't pull away from them. Devon's present-tense first person narrative really jerked me into her most intense moments. As a reader, I was forced to feel Devon's intense pain, to see the gruesomeness of That Night, and feel the intense confusion of denial and the search for personal truth. More than once, I wanted to jump into the pages of the book to be there for Devon. She's a girl that really needed a hug.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book. It shook me to the core and was one of the most 'real' books I can remember reading in recent times. I think Amy Efaw really put a lot of faith into the maturity of her younger audience to tackle this book, which is admirable on it's own. After is not watered down, and is a very real life look into a very real life scenario.

What are some intense books you've read? Were you sad or relieved they were over?

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