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The Beginning of After
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The Beginning of After
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The Beginning of After is a story of hope and healing from Jennifer Castle, a powerful new voice in teen fiction.When Laurel's family dies in a horrific car accident, she struggles to put her life back...
The Beginning of After is a story of hope and healing from Jennifer Castle, a powerful new voice in teen fiction.When Laurel's family dies in a horrific car accident, she struggles to put her life back...
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  • The Beginning of After is a story of hope and healing from Jennifer Castle, a powerful new voice in teen fiction.

    When Laurel's family dies in a horrific car accident, she struggles to put her life back together. She is now connected to David Kaufman, who lives down the block, and who lost his mother in the same crash. Both of their lives change--but not in the ways that they thought...

    Castle blends tragedy with romance, teen angst, and wit in The Beginning of After, a bittersweet, powerful debut novel that stands as a testament to how people can survive the unthinkable.

 

Awards-

About the Author-

  • Jennifer Castle's first novel, The Beginning of After, was named an American Library Association Best Fiction for Young Adults selection and a Chicago Public Library "Best of the Best" Book. She wrote many unproduced movie and TV scripts before returning to her first love, fiction . . . but she's still hooked on film and the way we can find and tell our stories with images. She lives with her family in New York's Hudson Valley.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 8, 2011
    After Gayle Forman’s acclaimed If I Stay, books tackling the same topic—a girl surviving the death of her parents and brother in a car crash—face inevitable comparisons. And although there’s certainly room for more stories with this premise, Castle’s debut, while affecting, comes up short. Sixteen-year-old Laurel reluctantly goes to Passover dinner with her family and their neighbors, the Kaufmans, whose son, David, is an estranged childhood friend. After dinner, everyone except Laurel and David goes out for ice cream; only David’s father survives the subsequent accident, and he is left in a coma. While Laurel’s journey to recovery and her blossoming romance with David are compelling reasons to keep reading, the story never delivers the raw emotional truths expected. Laurel’s reactions to the accident get lost among other mini-dramas that pop up along the way, and the blunt descriptions of her feelings (as well as how early in the book the accident takes place, before the characters are really established) render her grief flat and generic. Too little “before” makes the “after” less wrenching. Ages 12–up.

  • School Library Journal

    November 1, 2011

    Gr 7-10-Laurel is home doing her French homework while her parents and brother go out for dessert with the neighbors. A car accident kills everyone except the driver, her neighbor. Laurel's grieving is complicated by not knowing if the accident was the driver's fault (he had been drinking), and by a strained and complicated relationship with David, his son, who was not in the car either. With his mother dead and his father in a coma, David runs away and Laurel is left caring for his dog. Her grandmother moves in, and the story follows Laurel as she makes her way through senior year. Castle has created a strong and independent girl. Laurel struggles through a crisis even as she deals with more-typical teen problems. Two boys are love interests, but they are never Laurel's sole focus. She has her art; her college applications; a new job; and, most of all, her grief to deal with. Castle gives her a solid support system-a loving grandmother; an understanding guidance counselor; a sweet best friend; and a stereotypical, but well-intentioned, therapist. Perhaps all this support is why she copes so well. In fact, Laurel copes almost unbelievably well, breaking down and crying only a time or two throughout the entire 400 pages. The pace is slow, but the detailed writing and smart, realistically cool characters will be appealing to many girls. Offer this to teens who are waiting for the next Sarah Dessen book.-Geri Diorio, Ridgefield Library, CT

    Copyright 2011 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus Reviews

    "Castle expertly guides the narrative through the various stages of grief, refusing to shrink away from even the most difficult areas, where life and death collide. An honest look at grief that is both achingly real and powerfully hopeful."

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