Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication: September 20th 2016 by Roaring Brook Press
Acquisition: read a free eARC via NetGalley
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.(from Goodreads)
5 / 5 Stars
A pretty powerful book. Horrific even. I don't think I'm qualified to speak on the realism but yeah, if defiantly leaves a mark.
Not for the weak of heart though. The subject matter is dark and the aftermath is messy. It could be a very emotional read. For me it was at least.
I couldn't imagine going through what any of these characters went through.
Ethan - wow. I didn't think I would enjoy being inside his head but yeah - he was extremely real for me and I was cheering him on every step of the way. His struggles were laid out in a perfect way. The alternating 1st person POV really worked for this story. We get pieces of Ethan a little bit at a time and his thoughts and his feelings are raw and unfiltered.
Caroline - she got on my nerves a bit but oh my god, her heart is in the right place. She's a mess but she loves her brother so much and she would do almost anything to help him. He can't even tell her what happened and while at first, I couldn't imagine how she could bring herself to talk to Ethan about it all, it makes perfect sense.
I'm gonna say, Afterward isn't for everyone. It doesn't sugar coat and these characters - all of them - even Ethan's mom and his therapist and Caroline's mother and father -- they are all so different but they are all reacting to the horrific situation they are in such heartfelt and real ways.
Fabulous read for me.