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Life, After Hardcover – July 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 850L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; 1 edition (July 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545151449
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545151443
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #189,255 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up–In 2002 in Argentina, Dani Bensimon weathers the political and economic crisis that is dragging her middle-class Jewish family into poverty and her formerly loving father into depression. They are all still grieving over the death of her pregnant aunt and her unborn child in the 1994 terrorist bombing of the AMIA building, the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. Many of the teen's friends have left the country, including her novio, Roberto. Eventually, the Bensimons relocate to the New York suburbs and Dani must work hard to remain the dutiful, perfect, helpful daughter. While the plot is predictable, supporting characters are direct from after-school-special casting, and the narrator is at times a bit too wholesome, this affecting book works in its entirety. It shows a place and part of recent history left mostly unexamined in YA literature, highlighting an act of terrorism in Argentina and a Latin American immigrant. Dani's experiences give her insight and empathy into a community suffering the aftermath of 9/11. Littman's sprinkling of Spanish words and phrases throughout gives a genuine feel to her dialogue, and her references to Jewish customs also fit smoothly into the context. This immigrant story is easy to swallow, if a bit weighty in tone, very much like Christine Gonzalez's The Red Umbrella (Knopf, 2010).–Rhona Campbell, Washington, DC Public Libraryα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

In this lachrymose emigration story, hard economic times in Buenos Aires, the steady flight of friends and neighbors to Israel and the U.S., and finally her mother’s injuries in a flash mob prompt teenage Daniela Bensimon and her parents to relocate to suburban New York. The transition is a hard one—particularly for her father, who lost his small business and a close relative in a terrorist bombing—but thanks to high-school friendships with a classmate with Asperger’s syndrome and his protective twin sister, as well as a deepening relationship with another student named Brian, Daniela makes it over the rough spots, and by the end she is feeling “a little less like an extranjera and a little more like an americana.” Littman definitely overuses tears as an intensity-builder but weaves sensitively articulated themes (the story is set in 2003, when the impact of 9/11 was still sharp) and credible teen banter into an emotionally complex tale. Daniela’s many amusing encounters with idiomatic expressions in her new language may provide an additional draw for ELL readers. Grades 6-9. --John Peters

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More About the Author

Sarah Darer Littman, writer, mother, and unpaid chauffeur, is a living example of the cliche, "Life Begins at 40." After spending much of her adult life doing things she didn't really plan to, including such diverse occupations as financial analyst and farmer's wife, she at long last found her true calling as a writer. Her first book, CONFESSIONS OF A CLOSET CATHOLIC won the 2006 Sydney Taylor Award for Older Readers and LIFE, AFTER was a 2011 Sydney Taylor Honor Book. Her latest book, WANT TO GO PRIVATE? is a YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers and Bank Street College of Education's Best Books of 2011. She indulges her adult voice as a columnist for the Hearst Newspapers in CT and writes for CTNewsJunkie.com

Sarah lives in CT with her two teenage children and an adorable Havanese in a house that never seems to have enough bookshelves.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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This sentence sums up the book pretty well.
LilyJ
Despite the difficulties that Dani faces, her story is an optimistic one.
Jennifer Hutchins
She knows what it's like to be a stranger in a new place.
TeensReadToo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Hooked on Books on September 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dani's life will never be the same. She lives in Argentina where life for Jewish families is beginning to deteriorate. She has lost her Aunt and unborn cousin in a terrorist attack. Her father has lost his business and there isn't enough money to put food on the table for her family. But Dani just wants life to return to normal. But what is normal? After much thought the family decides to immigrate to New York for a "fresh start". But a new start in a new city with a new language and no jobs isn't that easy. Dani's family moves into a tiny rented apartment provided by the Jewish Family Services with hand-me-down clothes. Dani's father is clinically depressed and her mother is now the major breadwinner for the family. Dani finds that living in America isn't all that it is cracked up to be. She misses her old friends, her home, her private school and especially her novio, boyfriend. But suddenly life changes when Dani makes a new friend Jon, who isn't like the other kids. Soon in this new life she learns about healing and forgiveness and about moving on to the life after....

This is a great story about life changes and coping with a loss. This story, written by Sarah Littman, the author of the 2006 Sydney Taylor Teen Book Award, Confessions of a Closet Catholic, is another authentic story about teens with real feelings. In real situations. A recommended read for grades 6-9th.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rachael Stein VINE VOICE on August 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Dani has lived in Argentina her whole life. She and her family have survived the death of her aunt in a brutal terrorist attack and nearly all the effects of the Crisis--the economic depression that caused the family business to close, the protests in the streets, having family and friends move away to find a better life elsewhere. But with the situation in Argentina gradually deteriorating, Dani's family knows they can no longer stay, so they move to America to make a fresh start. For Dani, this transition is extremely difficult. Having school in an entirely different language with people who aren't entirely friendly is only the half of it. Dani doesn't feel like she fits in anywhere, at school or at home, and more than anything, she misses the way things were Before. But through some unexpected friendships, Dani may find the courage to heal, forgive, and move on.

Life, After is a novel that tackles undoubtedly serious topics, particularly the aftershocks of terrorist attacks, but in a surprisingly innocent and somewhat light way. What I mean to say is that although many characters are confronted by deep grief by the loss of someone close to a terrorist attack, the overall tone of the story isn't overwhelmingly intense in the way of this pain. The effects of this are that the story never gets too depressing despite its content but also that this story isn't quite as meaningful as it could be. I love the undercurrent of hope running throughout the entire story, because it makes reading about Dani's situation bearable. At the same time though, because the most personal effects of terrorist attacks are not the main focus of the story, any larger message regarding that was mostly lost.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jewish Book World Magazine on February 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This young adult novel offers a look at the Argentinean Jewish community, a community with which American teens are probably unfamiliar. The first third of the novel takes place in Argentina, where the collapsing economy forces Dani's family to immigrate to America. The author gives background information about the economic crisis of 2001 and the 1994 terrorist attack against the Jewish community. While seeing these events through the eyes of the main character may help U.S. readers identify personally with another community, at times the history lesson detracted from the main story - Dani's family's experiences as new immigrants in New York. The novel picks up speed when the family arrives in the U.S. Dani has difficulties adjusting to a large suburban high school and dealing with a new language and culture. At home as well there are problems, particularly for Dani's father who has gone from being a middle class business owner to being an unemployed charity recipient. Dani's interactions in school are nuanced, with the author tackling many difficult themes, including disability, 9/11 and depression. Readers will realize that everyone has his or her own issues in life, and that ultimately we share more as humans than what culturally divides us. The addition of Spanish expressions adds to the flavor of the novel and emphasizes the point that this immigrant group is both Jewish and Spanish speaking - a combination that may surprise many teen readers. Grades 7 - 10. Hilary Zana
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Format: Hardcover
Life, After was a touching novel about a teenage girl named Dani and her family and the direct affects that terrorism, and "The Crisis" had on them and everyone living not only in Buenos Aires, but throughout Argentina.

Dani and her family are faced with more then hard times due to crisis after crisis including a terrorism bombing that more then hurt her family and so many others. With most of the country falling on hard times, many flee in search of a better life.

When things become apparent to her mother that the family is in more trouble than they can get out of and growing worse by the day, she goes against her husbands wishes and chooses to move to America in search of safety and a better life for Dani and her younger sister. Going against her fathers' strong values, it takes some convincing, but he gives in and they move to the US.

The dramatic changes the whole family face when having to be uprooted from one country to another were stressful to say the least and Dani seemed to take on a lot when it came to her family. She had so many responsibilities and I felt she often missed out on much of what it means to be a teenager. At school she finds a few people who are nice to her and some that aren't so nice. She ends up becoming friends with a boy who has Asperger's Syndrome and how she is with him were some of my favorite parts in the story.

Slow in spots and emotional in others - Dani took so much in stride - but what she has to go through to get there is what made this book all that it was. Readers will appreciate the vast relationships new and old to country to country and culture to culture - Life, After shows us just how different we all are and how we can relate to each other if we all take the time to listen.

For more info and reviews please visit my Book Review Blog here - [...]
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