Sarah (Escaping Through Books)

The Beginning of After

The Beginning of After - Jennifer Castle I don't generally gravitate toward sad books, but I wanted to give this one a shot because I saw comparisons of it to Sarah Dessen's The Truth About Forever and Gayle Forman's If I Stay, both of which are books that I have enjoyed. The book takes you on Laurel's journey to recovering and going on with her life after both of her parents and her little brother die in a car accident. The pace of the book was much slower than I expected (it took me longer than usual to read it), but the slow pace was fitting for the story because one would expect that it would take a lot of time for someone to recover after such a tragedy. When I read stories with first person narration, I generally can slip into a character easily and "become" her, but in this case I felt like I was watching from the outside throughout the book. Maybe that's a good thing because I really wouldn't want to be in Laurel's situation, as she was suffering from so much loss, but I felt disconnected from the story. Additionally, even though Laurel was very intrigued by David, the son of the man who was driving the car in the accident, I never connected with him either. I didn't really care whether they would get together because he just didn't interest me. I did love that Laurel began working at an animal hospital after the accident because I am a firm believer that cute animals can help a person heal! I loved the fact that she was able to save and rescue kittens, and I liked that she took care of David's dog, Masher, when he was away trying to sort out his own life. I feel like this is the type of book that I should like more than I actually did. I would recommend either The Truth About Forever or If I Stay (the books I saw this one being compared to) over this one if you want to read about people getting their lives back in order after losing loved ones. Despite not completely loving this book, I am glad I read it because I want to read more contemporary realistic fiction books and this was a start.