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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Take on a Difficult Subject
Amy Efaw's book After is thought provoking tale of innocent teenage sex spiraling into a tragedy with a complicated outcome. Devon Davenport is a teenager "on track" to being a sucessful adult. She has managed to self motivate and excel at sports and school despite absent parents. Her life is going well until she makes a stupid decision and has unprotected sex...
Published on November 23, 2009 by Briggs

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Difficult Read on an Ambiguous Subject
Writing a story featuring a protagonist that readers might find hard to sympathize with maybe be rewarding eventually, but it is certainly difficult. Attempting to unravel the complicated minds of a teen girl who has committed an atrocious act is even more challenging. I'm not sure how successful I thought Efaw's attempt at this goal was, but I appreciated her effort...
Published on January 5, 2010 by S. Su


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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Take on a Difficult Subject, November 23, 2009
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This review is from: After (Hardcover)
Amy Efaw's book After is thought provoking tale of innocent teenage sex spiraling into a tragedy with a complicated outcome. Devon Davenport is a teenager "on track" to being a sucessful adult. She has managed to self motivate and excel at sports and school despite absent parents. Her life is going well until she makes a stupid decision and has unprotected sex.
Despite her obvious pregnancy symptoms, Devon retreats into an unimaginable denial and avoids the reality of her pregnancy. Devon denies being pregnant until she gives birth in her apartment bathroom and, in a hazy moment of horror and panic, throws her newborn in a dumpster.
Instead of expounding on the horror of the topic, Efaw carefully explores the psychological aspects that lead up to the event. She allows the reader to make their own decision about Devon as a human being. Surprisingly, it is hard not to feel compassionate for Devon even though she has committed such a despicable act.
Efaw expertly walks the reader through the legal and moral ramifications of Devons actions. As Devon is subjected to the harsh reality of the juvenile court system and the possibility of life imprisonment, the reader is able to watch her come to terms with her actions and beliefs. After is well written and captivating. I would recommend this to young adults and parents of young adults.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Powerful Story, August 12, 2009
This review is from: After (Hardcover)
An infant left in the trash to die. A teenage mother who never knew she was pregnant . . .

Before That Morning, these were the words most often used to describe straight-A student and star soccer player Devon Davenport: responsible, hardworking, mature. But all that changes when the police find Devon home sick from school as they investigate the case of an abandoned baby. Soon the connection is made--Devon has just given birth; the baby in the trash is hers. After That Morning, there's only one way to define Devon: attempted murderer.

We've all heard the story before, or something similar; a child left to die in a dumpster, a child left in a public bathroom...news stories that shock us, leaving us to wonder what the world has come to.

What we don't usually hear about is the story of the would-be mother, the girl who left the baby behind. We all have our own ideas, based on our own experiences about who this ruthless woman could be and what would motivate her to commit such a heinous act. What do you think?

Once you've read this book I'm betting you might just change your mind. As an educated mother of two teenage daughters, I even surprised myself at some of the preconceived notions I had about these desperate girls.

The author does a great job of tackling this controversial topic in a sensitive yet honest way. This book will definitely resonate with teen girls who, for the most part, can only imagine the horror of finding themselves in a similar situation.

Believe it or not the books main character Devon, is very easy to relate to. She deals with issues that a multitude of teens face and like many, she has no real support system. My heart broke for Devon in her many struggles as she faces the repercussions of her actions...especially when what exactly happened isn't real clear to Devon herself.

This cautionary tale is appropriate for any teen reader and will definitely leave a lasting impression. Devon's journey to the realization of what happened and how she'll deal with it will leave readers asking questions they probably hadn't thought of and could lead to some great discussions on the topic.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling and haunting, August 11, 2009
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This review is from: After (Hardcover)
Devon Davenport is the perfect student, teammate, and daughter. Responsible, talented, and hard-working, she has a bright future ahead of her, and is determined to not be like her mother, who gave birth to her at age sixteen. Because of these reasons, it's unbelievably hard for her family and friends to accept that she was pregnant, and didn't even know it, and that when she gave birth, she left her baby in the trash to die. But Devon did...and now the question is, is she guilty of attempted murder?

After is a heartbreaking novel that is simultaneously hard to read and intensely compelling. The book starts out briskly and suddenly, offering an unflinching look at Devon's situation and mental state as she is discovered, and then shuffled through the legal system, is assigned a lawyer, experiences juvenile hall, and is forced to appear in court. Accompanying her is a wide array of conflicting and complicated emotions, from shock to fear to indignation as Devon is forced to face the facts by her pushy and passionate lawyer, a believer in "tough love". Efaw's writing is detailed and precise, and her prose haunting and throughout Devon's tumultuous journey, she carefully reveals to readers Devon's past and the situations that led to her deeply ingrained denial, until readers can't help but feel deep sympathy for her, even as they face their own doubts and question Devon's behavior. Skillfully written and highly affecting, After is an emotional rollercoaster of a novel that explores the complexity of human nature and is sure to leave a mark on readers.

Cover Comments: I like this cover, it is simple yet striking, and it also very subtle--I was halfway through the novel before I realized the difference in the reflection. I think it is very fitting for the topic--carefuly neautral, but eye catching as well.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating captivating story about important issue, November 22, 2009
This review is from: After (Hardcover)
I kept hearing about this book from being nominated for young adult literary reading awards (such as the School Library Journal) and also I read several reviews on book review blogs, as well as hearing the author's interview on PBS. I am glad I bought it because I was really fascinated reading this book, the writing was captivating and I could not put it down. It was very well written - the characters were real and had a uniqueness to them (I especially liked Karma from the detention center). There are enough summaries of the plot in other reviews and book description so I won't repeat it here. I really learned a lot about the psychology of teenage girls and how they could leave their baby in a dumpster.

I was surprised (and a bit amused) by some of the overly negative, sarcastic, and simplistic reviews of this book, because of the great reviews it got and because I really enjoyed it. It is very well researched and written. Teen pregnancy is a complex issue which is so closely linked with abortion, which many feel passionate about either for or against. I guess one can be vulnerable to criticism when one puts him or herself out there by touching upon a controversial topic. I wonder if some of the other reviewers are overly negative because of a perceived endorsement by the author of one view of abortion. I appreciated that the book and author didn't go "there" - into the politics of abortion.

In any case, I highly recommend this book.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harmony Book Reviews, September 4, 2009
This review is from: After (Hardcover)
Before I heard about this book, I had never given much thought to people who left babies in the trash. They were evil and they were murderers. End of story. Except it turns out that it's not quite that simple because really, what in life is?

In all honesty, I had a tough time reading this. It made my stomach churn because the thought of a baby left to die in a dumpster just makes me want to puke. Not only that but a few of the scenes where she is remembering the birth are slightly graphic. But then, you have Devon who, for some reason, is extremely easy to like. I wanted her to succeed. That's not to say I wanted her to get away with nothing because she did leave her baby in the dumpster but I didn't want her to...I don't know. Spend the rest of her life in jail?

The ending of the book was slightly unexpected to me. It seemed to come out of nowhere. But, I felt it fit the novel well and it was better than several alternatives I had been expecting.

After is a heartbreaking novel but one that I think everyone should read. I look forward to any upcoming books by Ms. Efaw and highly recommend this one.

(I also love the subtle changes of the girl on the cover. It definitely fits in with how Devon sees herself vs. how everyone else sees her.)

This is reviewed as part of the 1 ARC Tours.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Makes a heavy subject approachable for teens, September 1, 2009
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Cathe (curled up with a book) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: After (Hardcover)
This is a YA book about a teen who has a baby and throws it in a dumpster. I know-- YIKES -- but the book goes into her life before and after the baby--and the court trial where they decide whether they should try her as a juvenile or an adult. The book is done in a way that will really get teens thinking about how this could happen and about taking the consequence of their actions. The only thing lacking for me was I would have liked Devon to be a deeper character. She was either angry or withdrawn and I felt it hard to really get to know her or feel much sympathy for her.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not At All What I Expected...It Was Even Better!!!, November 28, 2009
This review is from: After (Hardcover)
AFTER by Amy Efaw is an extremely well-written, well thought-out, and thought-provoking novel. Even if the reader doesn't want to in the beginning, one naturally comes to sympathize with fifteen year-old Devon. Ms. Efaw effectively portrays a strong protagonist who, for all her determination and dreams, has broken her own rules, the shame of which forces her to forget what she has done...including the fact that she is pregnant. Clearly, Ms. Efaw has done her research, and has employed it in a manner which draws the reader and maintains one's interest well after the novel's conclusion, leaving the reader with a sense of satisfaction and the desire to learn more about what drives girls like Devon to the unthinkable.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wow., September 13, 2009
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This review is from: After (Hardcover)
WOW. The summary of this book definitely tries to gear you up for what you're about to read, but it's nearly impossible to gear yourself up enough.

The main premise of the book is that Devon is found to have had a baby and thrown it in the trash behind her home. The beginning was described in a big haze - you aren't sure exactly what has gone on, but you get the basic idea (what I have described above).

This book really reminded me of a shorter Jodi Picoult novel. It was mostly based on Devon's court case. And when I say mostly, I mean almost entirely - there are a few portions of the book which deal with Devon's past (flashback style), and a few that deal with her current status (not relating to her court case).

Efaw does a good job of explaining the court system (by way of the lawyer explaining things to Devon, so it doesn't seem out of place). What I didn't like was how non responsive Devon was to different individuals that were in her life. I had to keep forcing myself to remember her situation and her previous life experiences so that I wouldn't get too mad that she wasn't talking or wasn't paying attention to what was going on. Right when it was starting to get really old, Devon's attitude changed a little, which made it easier to keep going.

I finished the book in about a day because I couldn't handle how sad several of the topics were. If you're a Jodi Picoult fan and are looking for a young adult version, I would give this book a try - if you tend to steer clear of sad topics and court case type books, this one's not for you.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Story about a Very Important Subject, November 22, 2009
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This review is from: After (Hardcover)
After is the story of a girl who hides her pregnancy and, after giving birth alone, throws her baby in the garbage. The story starts at that point and then follows what happens to the girl after she is arrested. It also explores her history to explain why this girl, who had everything going for her, would do somethng so horrible. The story draws you in right away and will keep you awake all night to see what is going to happen. Efaw does not make excuses for the girl, nor does she judge her or portray her as a monster. She has done extensive research into cases such as this and her character is based on what she found. Girls who throw their babies away are often very normal girls. This is an important book because it explores a very dark subject in a very personal and human way. Hopefully, it will be read and talked about with young girls to enable them to explore their own feelings about sexual relationships in the teen years and the importance of being able to talk to someone about their feeling and concerns without being judged. The one thing that might have prevented the tradegy-- in the case of this character-- is if she had just one person she could have confided in. She hid her pregnancy and threw away her baby in order not to dissapoint -- which says more about the people around her than it does about her. I hope lots of people will read Efaw's book and share it with lots more people.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and a must read, August 21, 2009
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This review is from: After (Hardcover)
Devon Davenport is a straight-A student, a soccer goalie with Olympic dreams, and more mature than her own mother. When the unthinkable happens, she does something that most people can't imagine doing. Now Devon's in a juvenile detention center, where she is charged with attempted murder. If she faces trial as an adult, all of her dreams could be crushed by the sentence of Life in Prison. Does Devon deserve that punishment? It depends if you believe that Devon's story, had no clue that she was pregant and acted totally in shock.
After is an intense story. Devon is presented as two very different people in After, the girl that did the crime and the girl that is shocked by what happened as result. Her strength is amazing. The plot of After was different, then any other book that I have ever read. It was a gripping page turner and a shocking story. I wasn't a fan of the ending and I wish there was more to the story. Efaw is an amazing writer. She made a well researched book on a topic that to my knowledge has never been touched by a young adult author. If you are looking for an intense and one of a kind book, make sure to check out After.
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After
After by Amy Efaw (Hardcover - August 11, 2009)
$17.99 $7.20
In stock on November 29, 2014
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