Teen Review: After
By Kristin Harmel
Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2010
Kristin Harmel's After is a touching, inspirational story about a teenage girl,
Lacey, who is trying to pieceher life back together after her father's sudden death. Feeling responsible for his death, she teaches herself to push away her emotions, be strong, and care for her crumbling family. This leads her to feel immune to the pain of her father's death. She doesn't cry for an entire year.
Then she meets Sam, a boy her age whose father is in a coma. Lacey begins a group with other teenagers in her high school who have also lost parents. With their constant support, she finally learns to accept her father's death and move on with her life. Through the help of her friends, Lacey learns, "I was reaching for Dad. I knew he was right there with us, as much a part of our family as he had ever been. Just because we couldn't see him didn't mean he wasn't there."
Harmel does a superb job of conveying the emotions that Lacey is feeling, whether it is sorrow, regret, resentment or loneliness, with a very informal, straight-forward style. With all of the relatable characters, readers who have lost parents will be able to find solace in this novel.
Reviewed by Danielle Charpentier, 15
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