Monday, September 5, 2011

Review: The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle

The Beginning of After
by Jennifer Castle
Publication Date: September 6th, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 432
ISBN: 9780061985799

Where to Buy:
B&N | Amazon | The Book Depository
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. (Goodreads)
The Beginning of After is the story of how one’s life can change in an instant. It was a very good reminder to me to never, ever take my loved ones for granted. I’m so very glad to have had the chance to read this book.

The main character in the story is Laurel. Poor Laurel, she went through so much, my heart just broke for her. I don’t know how I would have handled being in her situation. But she handles it better than I expected. While she did have her times dealing with depression and sadness, she still had a few snarky moments. The other main character is David. I found David to be quite an interesting character. Just when I thought he was a slacker, he did something to make me think differently. I still haven’t quite got him figured out, but I really did enjoy his character.

The secondary characters are very well written as well, I liked them all. Laurel’s Nana is the perfect grandma. I really liked Laurel’s best friend, Meg, as well. I think Ms. Castle did a wonderful job of describing the emotions of not just Laurel, but for all the characters in the book. I sympathized with Nana, and David, and also with Meg and Joe, who was Laurel’s friend/boyfriend.

The pacing in the book was a little bit slow, at times. I do think that made it build up the story, so it didn’t bother me. The storyline itself was very touching. I found myself wanting to keep reading, just to see what turn the story would take next.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I’m so glad to have had a chance to read it.

Happy Reading!


  1. I'm really interested in reading this book. It sounds great. Thanks for the great review!

    Books of Amber

  2. For some reason I didn't really like this book... And I fell sort of bad about it. It just didn't work for me. But I agree, it does make you feel thankful. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!

  3. This was a really thoughtful review, I feel like I know what to expect now. :) This is definitely a winter read. Thanks! I'm a new follower.

  4. I don't know if I can read a sad, deep story right now! But this one sounds really good -- it's definitely on my list for when I need a book like this. Thanks for the review!
    Mary @BookSwarm

  5. I agree that there were parts that were a bit slow. I really enjoyed the way the author expressed Laurel's grief, it felt so real to me. I bawled like a dork through almost the entire book lol.

    Great review!

  6. Sometimes a slow storyline can work for me when things are really emotional, it gives me time to absorb everything before moving on:) Sometimes it doesn't work at all and I get bored, but that doesn't sound like it will be the case here. Awesome review Christy!

  7. I characters who, despite being in horrible situations, still manage to stay slightly snarky! Laurel sounds great! I'm very excited to read The Beginning of After; thanks for sharing your thoughts!
    - Lauren

  8. This sounds really good! I love stories that can touch you and make you feel. Great review!

  9. Glad you enjoyed this one - it's great the secondary characters are well written, and David definitely sounds interesting. Fab review, thanks :).

  10. I've had my eye on this book for awhile. Glad you liked it!

  11. I really liked this and I'm happy you did, too. :) It was really heart-breaking but at the same time, I think it was very hopeful as well.

    Thanks for sharing your opinion with us. :)

  12. I love those books thatmanage to elicit an emotional reaction and make you reflect on your own life and the people around you. This sounds like a touching novel with some great characters, really looking forward to reading it. Great review!

  13. The Beginning of After is on my TBR pile and I really need to read it soon. Enjoying the characters is always important, hope I will,too

  14. Cant wait to get a hold of this book! It sounds amazing!

  15. Thanks for the review! It was great. I like to write and am wanting to explore the contemporary YA genre more to expand my horizons and just because it looks like there are a lot of great books in the category! The Beginning of After looks like a really heartfelt and touching novel and I cannot wait to read/review it!


Thanks for stopping by! :)