Wednesday, September 22, 2010
After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick
Ever since hearing that there would be a sequel to Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. I loved, loved, loved DGADP - one of my favorite books of all time. I wanted to know what happened with Jeffrey and Steven later on and After Ever After gives us that story.
Jeffrey is now in eighth grade, and still struggling with the effects of being a cancer survivor. Yes, he's cancer-free, but he has a limp and some slight brain damage that leads him to sort out things slower. With Steven away in Africa, Jeffrey doesn't have his big brother close by to go to for advice, and he must muddle through some typical eighth-grade problems, from school to girls, alone.
I didn't immediately feel the connection to this story that I did for DDADP, probably because Steven wasn't in the story as much as I'd like. But, it really didn't take too many chapters until I was attached to Jeffrey. Mr. Sonnenblick grasps the nature and attitude of middle school students and these characters feel real. I could easily see these kids walking down the halls of the school where I work. Like Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie, After Ever After is an emotional story. I focused on one aspect of the story, thinking "please no," so that I was blindsided by the ending.
After Ever After will appeal to many teens with its heart-tugging events and true-to-life characters. It's not necessary to read Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie before reading this one, but Jeffrey's story now will mean more having followed his cancer treatments with him in the previous book. My one biggest critique is that Steven was almost an afterthought here, and I would have loved to have seen more of him. All-in-all, a fabulous book and highly recommended to all. I give it an 'A'!