Friday, April 19, 2013


Title: The Beginning of After
Author: Jennifer Castle
Series: Standalone
Edition: Hardbound
Publication: September 6, 2011 by HarperTeen
Source: Bought from Fullybooked
Pages: 432
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Family


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.

The Beginning of After is heart-shattering.

After losing her family in a horrible car accident, Laurel needs to find ways to cope with the pain and loss. She has to continue life on her own and practically accept that there's a huge void in her life that her family used to fill in. She just have to find the strength to carry on.

This is the second "tragic" book I've read. Seriously, there's like a hole in my heart that aches for such unimaginable sudden loss of loved ones. I couldn't picture how painful this would be and I am praying that it will never happen to me or anyone because dang! I would go crazy beyond relief. And yes, I liked how the synopsis was presented and how much of our reality is showcased here. But I was still disappointed. Maybe the novel isn't really meant for audience like me. I had issues with its slow pacing, the lack of twists, the stubbornness of Laurel, her indecisiveness and the way she chose David is something so vague and ridiculous in my opinion. I was on the brink of losing it, I wanted to mark it as DNF because I was terribly bored but I held on and continued. I reached the end but I got nothing.

Laurel, as I've said is a ridiculous decision-maker. I don't know but I would have done things in a different way if it were me. I would have gone to Yale, would have chosen Joe and would have faced my therapist in a polite manner and would have given up the vet hospital. Probably, I would choose things normal people would do and I definitely will give myself time to mourn. But she just kept on dragging things with her. David is another ridiculous character! I hated his judgments and I think just because he shares the same sentiments with Laurel doesn't mean they should be together. Good thing though, Joe knew his place and didn't force it with Laurel. And I love how Meg stayed strong for her best friend and though she's mostly pissed at her, she fulfilled her best friend duty.

The Beginning of After surely did wreck my heart. It implies heart-breaking and bone-shattering pain but shows the power of healing. Aside from the gorgeous cover, I believe this contemporary novel has the potential to be loved by people who adore slow-paced yet emotionally invested premise. I wish it did that for me though.

"That's the whole thing about grieving. It's part of the deal: You get to be alive and to love, but in exchange you also have to put in some serious hurt time."


  1. When I saw this book on goodreads last year, I thought that the story was very depressing. Still I wanted to know how it ended for both characters but I never got around reading it. Well, after you thoughts, I might skip it all together.

    1. No, do not! You might like and handle it better! :)


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