Thursday, December 15, 2016

Afterward by Jennifer Mathieu

Afterward by Jennifer Mathieu.  2016, Roaring Brook Press

Small towns are places where people know each other and neighbors are everyone.  It's a place where people will recognize an unusual car.  They watch out for other people's kids as well as their own, and help create that small town feel that just feels right....

But one day, four years ago, Ethan was taken while riding a bike.  But when another boy goes missing from the same town, it is a pattern, not chance.  Thankfully, both boys are found and returned home but the aftermath is difficult.

Ethan is now fourteen years old.  He's missed out on life and has to deal with PTSD as well as behavioral and relational issues.  His mother hovers and he doesn't want to talk to his therapist about what happened.  Instead, he copes through blocking out what happened.  But then he meets Caroline. Her little brother was the other kid help captive but he can't talk to anyone because of his autism.

While Ethan has the means to go to therapy, Caroline's family doesn't, and the best way to deal with it is to pretend it never happened.  Her brother's life is unraveling, and Caroline is desparate to help.

She wants to know what happens, Ethan wants to forget it.  Together they begin down a path of friendship that allows for cathartic release, which both of them really need.

Powerful book from start to finish.  Two lives unfolding right in front of the readers' eyes allows for a wider perspective, but Caroline's and Ethan's friendship in the novel create another different perspective all of its own.  It's not only about victims, but about families too.  Highly recommended 7-12

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