Afterward by Jennifer Mathieu

Afterward: A Novel by [Mathieu, Jennifer]

Publisher: Roaring Book Press

Date of publication: September 20th, 2016

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Realistic Fiction

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | Alibris | Powells | Indiebound | Indigo

Goodreads synopsis:

When Caroline’s little brother is kidnapped, his subsequent rescue leads to the discovery of Ethan, a teenager who has been living with the kidnapper since he was a young child himself. In the aftermath, Caroline can’t help but wonder what Ethan knows about everything that happened to her brother, who is not readjusting well to life at home. And although Ethan is desperate for a friend, he can’t see Caroline without experiencing a resurgence of traumatic memories. But after the media circus surrounding the kidnappings departs from their small Texas town, both Caroline and Ethan find that they need a friend–and their best option just might be each other.

3 things I liked about Afterward:

  1. Ethan, Caroline, and Dylan’s characters. I loved each of them, and my heart broke for all 3 of them. They each handled the trauma of the kidnapping in different ways. We saw how Dylan handled his trauma through the eyes of Caroline.
  2. The storyline itself. Be ready for tears, starting from the first page. This was a hard book to read, but I couldn’t help but be drawn into it. I felt the author did a great job with the whole story.
  3. The ending. The book couldn’t have ended in a better way. Not going to give up the ending, but it was powerful. It shows how much a person can heal in a year after a traumatic event.

3 things I disliked about Afterward:

  1. Caroline’s parents. OMG, I couldn’t stand reading about them whenever they came up. They blamed her for Dylan’s disappearance. They didn’t notice that she was hurting and taking it out by doing self-destructive things. They don’t get the help for Dylan that he needs after he is returned. I get that 75% of parents out there are like this. I get that the author wrote them as opposites of Ethan’s parents. They got under my skin big time. I wanted to smack her mom at one point in the book.
  2. Ethan’s flashbacks and anxiety attacks. I cried at his first flashback. Like putting the book down and sobbed. And cried with each flashback that was revealed to his therapist. I cried at his anxiety attacks. Because as a person with moderate anxiety, I can tell you that what the author wrote was true. I had to do breathing exercises because his attacks started triggering mine.
  3. When Ethan remembers his years of sexual abuse. That is something you never like to read, and I thought the author did a wonderful job of alluding to it. It was so tastefully done and wasn’t graphic at all.

There are a few links that the author included in her author’s note. They are:

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

The National Sexual Assault Hotline


Autism Speaks

I would recommend Afterward to anyone over 16.

If you enjoyed reading Afterward, you will enjoy reading these books:

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