Saturday, July 30, 2011

Review: After by Amy Efaw

Title: After
Author: Amy Efaw
Publication date: August 11th, 2009

Who would leave her own baby in the trash to die? 
Certainly not someone like Devon - straight-A student, soccer player with Olympic dreams, more mature than her own mother. But desperation and panic drove her to do what most people can't even imagine. Now Devon's in a juvenile detention center, charged with attempted murder. If she's tried as an adult, she faces life in prison.

Does Devon deserve that punishment? Your answer depends on whether you believe her story - that she didn't even know she was pregnant. Was she buried in a denial so deep that she was unable to register the seemingly obvious signs of pregnancy? Or were her actions the result of a more devious, premeditated plan?
I had this book sitting on my bookshelf for a while and I knew it was going to be good, but I didn't have the time to read it until now, and all I can say is WOW. Amazing. The first chapter was a little hard to get through because it literally turned my stomach, but I think it was a great introduction for the story that followed. 
I literally could not put this book down. Every free minute I had, I would pick it up and read as much as I could. I felt I could really relate to Devon, who was a straight-A student with very high expectations for herself, not unlike myself. So of course the entire time I was reading, I was wondering how such a person could even think about doing such a thing.  By the end, I was able to understand it a little better as I became more acquainted with Devon's past and her thoughts.

I only have two complaints about this book: one, the treatment that Devon received from some of the people at the hospital and the detention center during her intake process seemed unnecessarily harsh. Perhaps that's how it is in real life, I don't know, but it was hard for me to believe that people would treat her so coldly and harshly after knowing what she just went through. Not that her actions were acceptable, but with the amount of pain and discomfort that she must have been in, both physically and emotionally, I can't believe that workers would treat her so harshly.

My second complaint is that I felt the book ended a bit abruptly. I felt like there was some closure, and in a way, it did make sense, but given the intensity of the rest of the book I felt that the ending was just a little too abrupt. I'm not sure how else it would have been ended, without creating a sequel, though, and I can see how it shows that it seems Devon finally came to terms with everything that happened, so overall I suppose the ending wasn't that bad. Overall, I absolutely loved the book.
While this book is probably not a good choice for the squeamish because of some of the graphic descriptions of Devon's actions, it was one of the most intense and thought-provoking books I have read in a while and I would definitely recommend it.

Characters: 7/10
Plot: 9/10
Originality: 9/10
Writing: 8/10
Overall grade: A

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