‘The Beginning of After’ review

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The Beginning of After was a funny book. Not in a hilarious sense but because I can’t decide how I feel about it. The concept isn’t new. A teenage girl loses someone (or someones) close to her and spends the rest of the book trying to deal with that. The book can be emotional at times, but mostly the feeling I got from reading was frustration. I didn’t root for the boy Laurel ended up getting together with, and I felt like the book was about 100 pages too long. The only thing that stopped me rating this book 3 stars instead of 4 was that the writing was done in such a way that I could picture and see everything happening as though I were there.

Castle has this way of bringing the story to life. You feel Laurel’s pain. You might not understand the reasonings behind the choices she makes, but you feel for her. It’s brutally honest. I especially liked how open Laurel was with herself that she was taking advantage of people’s pity and enjoyed being special because of what happened. But she was also very selfish, and I was glad for the altercation she had with Meg towards the end.

The characters were all very realistic. Her nana especially. I enjoyed their relationship and I especially liked every scene Nana was in. She was a no nonsense woman, but at the same time, fragile and grieving for the loss of her only son and her grandson.

This book took you on an emotional roller coaster, but I felt frustrated at the lack of a real ending (one that wasn’t rushed) and at the most mundane scenes we had to paw through in order to see something that pushed the story forward. Laurel wasn’t a bad character to spend a novel with, but she wasn’t very interesting. The best part about her, personally, was her work with animals.

3.5 stars. I recommend to people who enjoy stories without plot and very character driven.

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