It has been a year since Lacey Mann's father died in a car accident. Her family, however, continue to put the pieces back together. Lacey's mom loses herself in her work. Lacey's younger brother, Tanner, barely speaks, and Logan, Lacey's older brother, constantly parties with his girlfriend. As for Lacey, she secretly blames herself for the accident. Lacey was the one that took too long to get ready that morning. Maybe if she wasn't purposely trying to be annoying her dad would still be alive. As Lacey attempts to make everything better, she finds a way to reach out to other students who have lost a family member. Along the way, she also meets Sam...
Kristin Harmel's novel After takes a common plotline, a dead family member, and puts a unique twist on it. Most of the grief-related books I have read were very intense. Given the subject matter, this seems like a given. I mean, a book about grief has to intense, right? Well, as I read After, I learned that grief-related books do not have to be intense. While, I certainly would not call After a light-hearted read, the novel was much lighter than I expected. I thought this was a pleasant change from the typically heart-wrenching grief novels.
One major problem I had with After was that parts of the novel felt a bit contrived. Throughout the novel, Lacey tries to keep her composure, and she pretty much succeeds. This did not really seem believable. I would have enjoyed having a more flawed protagonist. I also think, that between Lacey and Logan, Logan was the more interesting character. I felt that seeing his way of dealing with grief (or not dealing with it) was much more interesting than Lacey's story. Last, Sam just seemed too good to be true. Sam recently moved to Lacey's town. He doesn't drink. He's a nice guy. He's been through a situation similar to Lacey's. I mean, really, what are the chances of that?
Kristin Harmel's Site
I received this book from Book Divas.