Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Contemporary February #2: The Beginning of After


Goodreads: 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.

Okay, so when I first saw the book, I was like WHOA! I MUST READ IT! Why you may ask? I love contemporary, and the plot sounded classic and unique all at the same time. Classic--girl falls for bad boy, trouble, blah blah blah. Unique--the reason why they did.

In the book, Laurel loses her family in one single night. To her neighbor. Car + Drunk Driver = Death. And why didn’t anyone stop him?! It sucks. Really, it does. I felt extremely sorry for her. 1) she lost her family. 2) she was stared at like a freak because of what happened. 3) she had some annoying therapist "try" to help her through her grieving. Seriously, I wouldn't want some strange lady talking like she knew all about my parents and what happened! Anyway, the fact that David went on a cross-country road trip was amazing, and I say that all the postcards he sent to her (well, actually his dog, Masher, that Laurel was taking care of) was more therapeutic than any talk with a stranger. In a way, knowing that there was another person out there that was going through the same thing as her made her feel better. I might be jumping the gun, but don't you ever feel that way sometimes? That out there there's that one person who is going through what you are, and yet you have no clue who they are? I do sometimes, mostly when I read contemporary. With contemporary, I'm the character, this is the life I wish I had, the life I want. :) See why I love contemporary so much?

Okay, back to the review, I say, the descriptions of what Laurel did after her parents die were kinda typical. And I loved it. I mean, it does happen: you get wrapped in your grief trying to sort through things and everyone suddenly doesn't seem to meet up to your problems anymore and you distance yourself and that one boy or girl asks you out, and all you can think of is "Is he/she asking me out out of pity?" Honestly, that's what I thought when Joe asked her to prom. But I'm happy he actually did like her.

Now, I had only three problems with this book
1): The way they portrayed drugs and sex. Drugs--smoking. David was part of a group that smoked blah blah blah. And Laurel! OMG! She did it once. Thank God she didn't start. Then the sex part. Well, there was implied sex between Meg and Gavin, friends of Laurel, and I'm fine with that because that's them. My problem was with Joe. At the after party of prom, Joe tells Laurel he wished they were in the limo alone instead of being out on the deck of the house. Really? Is that what all boys think of? And then at the end of the book when David and Laurel actually got five seconds away from the act itself! GAH! Can there be one book that the main character doesn’t just throw herself at the guy all because she depressed?! Well, actually Laurel wasn’t depressed depressed, just wanting comfort in my opinion.

2): Now, it may just be me, but when I read the summary, it said, and I quote:

“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.”

Where was this attraction? During most of the book, Laurel was flirting with Joe, NOT David. The only time they actually showed interest in each other was when they kissed, were in the woods together looking at a cave from their past, or when they were around Masher. Seriously! Yes, the attraction was there, but not so much. I felt at the end she kinda just decided “Oh, well I’m going to like him and not Joe.” Well, throughout the book she actually did question her feelings for Joe, which led to her leading him on at sometimes, which was wrong, but honest, I’m happy she said to him that they weren’t good.

3): How in the world does a car start on fire after hitting a ditch?!


Laurel, our protagonist, when through a lot of change. She was detached and distant after the accident, but later starts to come back to life.

David, well, I think he was on a journey of self-discovery. He didn’t know what he wanted to do after the accident and he just left. During his journey, he made a few discoveries. Or at least that’s what I think.

Nana: Horrible what happened to her. Her son died, her grandson died, and her daughter in law died. And did I mention she lost her husband earlier in life? It sucks. Personally, though she’s a great supportive, but sometimes I think it should have been her in therapy.

Other Characters
1. Laurel’s best friend Meg had problems of her own, as in, her parents fought a lot because Mom was depressed and Dad was sick of it. (How supportive!)
2. Joe just really liked her but I think he knew she couldn’t fully like him back.
3. Eve was a good friend and co-worker, even though she pulled away after learning that Laurel’s parents.
4. The two girls, names forgotten, that try to help Laurel come back to life and her friends, were okay but too perky.

(That’s all I can remember from the book)

Future: Just a stand alone, but I think the author will think about making another book just like it.

Though it wasn’t my favorite, The Beginning of After did leave an impression on me, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves contemporary. :D



I kinda wish it had something more to it. I like it has a girl on the front and looking into the distance, as if she's thinking about her problem, and I like the sun in the background, but I think there could have been soemthing more to it.


I liked the ending. Wasn't totally in love with. I like how everything was resolved, but think there could have been more.

*I won this book without any requests attached. I forget from who.

Keep On Reading!

Up Next:

I can't wait to sink my teeth into this one. I'm so excited!


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