Teen Review: THE BEGINNING OF AFTER by Jennifer Castle

Posted 26 January, 2012 | Mary @ TheBookSwarm | | 4 Comments

YA Contemporary
432 pages, hardcover
Available now (Sept. 2011)
Review copy donated
Publisher: Harper Teen
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.
What I liked about this book is you never knew what was going to happen next. Laurel was always doing some weird, unexpected thing that either made her life ten times worse, or a lot better. Laurel’s love life was a big part of the story because she was caught in between two people, one guy that had tried his best to be with her, and the other, a boy that kept coming in and out of her life, but knew the real her.
In this book, I did not like Meg’s character. Meg is Laurel’s best friend. Meg tried to be helpful and supportive but she came off as a little selfish. She really only cared about popularity when Laurel needed her.
I liked David’s character in this book. Even though he is not a good example, he really got Laurel. He knew what she was going through because his mom died too. David could be a little selfish and quick to anger sometimes, but he always meant well. Whenever Laurel needed him, he was there. He was a really good friend to her and helped her get through a lot.
My favorite part of the book was when David and Laurel went on a walk in the woods with Masher (David’s dog).  They had a very deep conversation about who they were. It was really deep and kind of pulled the whole meaning of the story together.
Teen Reviewer: I’m Taylor. I am 13 and live with my mom, dad, and brother. I like cheering for school and competition teams.

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4 Responses to “Teen Review: THE BEGINNING OF AFTER by Jennifer Castle”

  1. I love when you really know what’s going to happen next! This is one I’ve almost picked up a couple times. I’m not sure yet if it’s for me, but I’m definitely more interested now!