Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Review of 'After Ever After' by Jordan Sonnenblick

"Even though the cancer should be far behind him, Jeffrey worries that it will return.  He has normal stuff to worry about too-- friends, parents, girls, school.  Normally he'd ask his older brother, Steven, for advice.  But trusty, responsible Steven is finally rebelling and has taken off to Africa to join a drumming circle.  Meanwhile, Jeffrey's best friend, Tad, is hatching some kind of secret, crazy plan involving eighth-grade graduation.  And Lindsey Abraham, a way hot girl who is new to the school, thinks Jeffrey's cute-- which totally freaks him out.

There's a lot about life that cancer has prepared Jeffrey for, but there's also a lot that's brand-new.  Now is the time for him to stop surviving, stop worrying, and start living again."

First of all, I picked up the book because of the cover.  There isn't a lot to it, but there's something about it that I like that I have trouble putting into words.  Simplistic, triumphant, like there's going to be a happy ending.

While I was reading the book, I honestly liked it.  But after I was finished from cover to cover, I realized that what I read had something missing to it and it felt like there was something to be desired at the end.

Let's start with characters.  Jeffrey is okay, but he can be whiny at times.  All he talks about is his cancer.  I'm starting to sound like a jerk, but a similar situation has happened to me in real life (but I won't go into detail about that).  My whole issue is, even though you can't forget that you had cancer (or, more generally, that something bad happened to you), it would be nice if you could eventually have some closer and learn to grasp onto the next big thing in your life.  It was fine for a while, but he kept talking about his cancer.  His problems.  He's in remission and he's past the two year mark that means there is next to no chance of experiencing a relapse.  I think it's time to move on.  Maybe this is just something I will never understand... I'm sorry if I offended any one...

Tad was cool, and I think he was actually the most developed of any character in this book.  He had a dark side where he was really sarcastic and he told a lot of "your mom" jokes like any middle-schooler might, but then he also had interesting insights on life.

Lindsey was cool, but I don't feel like I knew her very well, so I probably wouldn't have felt anything if something horrendous had happened to her.

The relationship between Jeffrey and Lindsey felt effortless, which added an element of anti-realism.  Real relationships take work after a while.  I have discovered this and I feel that it's completely true.  They took to each other right away, there was no resistance.  There was a little bit of struggling between them to find out if they were actually "an item," which was good, that's very normal.  But the rest of what they had kind of fell flat for me.

I need something positive.  I liked the way that Jeffrey and Tad interacted with each other.  Their conversations were interesting, they were humorous, and you can tell that a decent amount of work went into what they said.

Overall, I would say if you happen to come across this book, it's a decent book and it's definitely worth reading if you need something light and relatively short to read, but I don't think I'll end up taking a trip to Half-Price books or Barnes and Noble to get a copy for keepsies.

I give 'After Ever After':
Thanks for reading!


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