After by Amy Efaw

I’m not really ashamed to read and enjoy books that are a little… dare I say… trashy. Much like I’m not ashamed to watch Sixteen and Pregnant, or watch The Family Stone 6 or 8 times a year. My tastes are not particularly discerning. I’m okay with that. And I also don’t think trashy-bad-salacious necessary means lesser quality. A book might be competently, cleverly written despite a hokey premise. A story might drag you along no matter how contrived the scenarios. Great characters can be found in any book. Think every Jodi Picoult book ever written. Think The Chosen One. Think (for 90% of the planet) Twilight.

And now think After, by Amy Efaw. It’s a ripped-from-the-headlines story that will make you forget it was ripped from the headlines. It’s a book that takes place primarily inside of a juvenile detention center that doesn’t feel like it does. It’s a book that isn’t the best book I’ve ever read, but the way the story unraveled within the protagonist’s  interior and the depth of her character made me forget about that.

That protagonist is Devon Davenport. Straight-A student, goody-two-shoes, soccer star, mature beyond her years, and charged with the attempted murder of her newborn baby.

I don’t really need to go deeper than that, I don’t think. That’s the story. Of course there are complications – a rotten family situation, the “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant” phenomenon to ponder, and a series of events Devon just won’t go into – but that’s the salacious headline that gets you reading.

The third-person present narration is a bit awkward. The characters are a little too easy – the tell-it-like-it-is woman lawyer, in particular. But besides holding that suspense of “OH MY GOD, WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN??”, After brings up a lot of interesting psychological issues that seem to affect teenaged girls disproportionately – sexuality, shame, denial, abusing power over your physical self, and of course, redemption.

The kind of book that adults will probably feel a little silly reading, but could prove powerful in the hands of an actual teenager.

Amazon Link | Amy Efaw Online

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2 Comments to “After by Amy Efaw”

  1. I added this to my “To Read at Somepoint” list yesterday! Trying to get a few last easy reads in before this semester begins.

    • This is Elena, right? You can totally borrow mine if you want – I stole it from my house when I was back in Michigan 🙂

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