Book Review: After, Amy Efaw

Devon is a good kid. No, scratch that. She’s a great kid. A fantastic kid. And that’s the problem. She is great because she is hard on herself.  So is that what drives her to give birth in her bathroom while her mother’s at work, discarding the baby in a bag of trash behind her house? After is the story of what happens to Devon after she makes that most terrible decision.

I was really impressed with this book… right until the end. I’ll get there in a second, though. What really struck me as intriguing while I was reading this book that I really, really liked Devon. Sure, she did this horrible, awful thing (I mean, I have done some pretty crappy stuff in my life, but I have never given birth, cut my baby’s umbilical cord with nail clippers, and shoved the baby in a trashbag to be thrown away in the dump), yet she is inherently likable. I think it’s because you truly feel sorry for her. Efaw has created a character that you just want to hug. Yeah, she screwed up. Big time. Hugely big time. And absolutely, she should be punished. But her baby lived. And while she doesn’t seem sorry, at least not until the end of the book, you just… like her. She’s a driven kid. She has a stellar GPA. She’s a leader in her soccer world. And then she goes and does this terrible thing.

One thing I really liked is Devon’s interactions between assorted people, especially the relationships she has with her mom and Dom, her lawyer. They’re both critical relationships, but really very different. And when you see her interacting with her mom, well, you can kind of understand why she did what she did. Efaw’s portrayal of these relationships was well-done through dialogue, not “telling,” which as a creative writing minor in college I can tell you is the worst writing sin you could possibly commit.

What got bummed me out at the end of the novel (AND YES, THIS IS SPOILER ALERT TIME! REPEAT, SPOILER ALERT!) was how it ended way, way too neatly. Devon has a ephiany, she understands in an instant why she did what she did, and bam, she wants to be punished for it. Um. No thank you. This is fiction, not 7th Heaven, and it’s freaking okay to make your characters’ lives not end perfectly. This really knocked an otherwise compelling book off its awesome pedestal.

Rating: 7.5/10

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3 responses to “Book Review: After, Amy Efaw

  1. Pingback: Krista’s CRB-III Review #28 – After, Amy Efaw | Cannonball Read III

  2. Pingback: Krista’s CRB-III Review #29 – After, Amy Efaw | Cannonball Read III

  3. Pingback: After by Amy Efaw | Review -Katie's Book Blog

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