- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire (May 1, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1492657158
- ISBN-13: 978-1492657156
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 27 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #244,802 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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August and Everything After Paperback – May 1, 2018
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" A satisfying blend of family drama, romance, and music, staged in the aftermath of tragedy." - Publishers Weekly
"Fans of Leila Sales's This Song Will Save Your Life and Sarah Dessen's Just Listen will likely enjoy this romance" - School Library Journal
About the Author
Jennifer Salvato Doktorski is the author of several young adult novels, including The Summer After You and Me, a YALSA Teens' Top Ten nominee. She lives with her family in New Jersey, spending her summers "down the shore," where everything's always all right. You can find out more about her at jendoktorski.com.
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While the romance plays a huge part in this story, I don’t consider this a romance novel at all but a coming of age novel where a romance acts as a stepping stone for the characters. Quinn has never fully come to terms with the grief and guilt she feels over her best friend’s death years ago. It holds her back on many levels and it’s hard for her to move on from those feelings. While working at one of her summer jobs she meets Malcolm, a musician who also recently suffered a great loss in an accident – his bandmates, his friends. They easily come together because of their shared grief and also their love for music as Quinn is a burgeoning drummer. Malcolm’s music speaks to Quinn so personally and she helps him start a new band and build the sound of his new songs. They are quick to fall into this whirlwind summer relationship but it turns out to be very complicated.
Malcolm is the sort of character who is so imperfect but worth rooting for. He is complex and not at all mentally ready for a relationship since he is newly in recovery from a drug addiction, and I think as soon as I found that out I just knew this was about to get messy. Quinn developed this strong need to save and protect him that seemed to stem not only from her deep compassion but also her feelings from her friend’s death. Despite an obvious connection and their best intentions, it’s a very unhealthy relationship right from the get-go. Mistakes are made and feeling are hurt. But I truly adored each of these characters despite all of that and wanted only the best for them.
As we explore Quinn’s anguish over losing her friend even all these years later, my heart truly broke for her. Despite entering a complicated relationship and me disagreeing with some of her thoughts and actions, I found the path she took was exactly what worked best for her in the end. She learned so much about herself and what she wanted and needed in her life. I love seeing a character grow so much in strength and self resolve. Her aunt is a huge player in the story who is a wonderful support system. I adored all their little moments together. A few additional side characters and new friends were also a delight.
So while I found the romance to be important, the story is so much for than that. It’s quite real and raw with an ending that felt bittersweet. I’m so glad I gave this one a chance!
As it turns out, August and Everything After did put me in a summery mood; however, it also brought way more heart and emotion to the table than I had anticipated!
At its heart, August and Everything After is a book about growing up, making the hard decisions in life, and learning to love not only other people but also yourself. When the book first begins Quinn is in a state of constant indecision. She doesn't know what to do now that she's graduated, and she doesn't know how to express that to her overly driven mother and sister who think college is the only option out there.
I found Quinn's voice to be realistic and I feel that it will appeal to readers who are in the same position as Quinn, having one monumental era come to an end and not knowing what to do next. I felt for Quinn. It's hard making the big choices after high school (been there, done that!), and it's even harder when you're still dealing with the pain of losing someone you loved. What I admired the most about Quinn, however, was how willing she was to take chances. Yes, sometimes they led to incredibly embarrassing moments (i.e. fire rescue disaster) or even heartbreak, but they also led to some great growth - moments in which I was yelling "Go Quinn!"
I also LOVED the aunt-niece dynamic here! Aunt Annie and Quinn were two peas in a pod. I liked that Annie and Quinn both helped each other out over the course of the summer. Annie helped Quinn see that it's okay to make mistakes and take chances, but they should never stop you from growing, for reaching for more. On the other hand, Quinn helped Annie see that just because something ended, it doesn't mean that it has to be over over. Their relationship was honest and heartwarming, containing plenty of "aww" moments as well as "oh darn."
Now for the part that I'm iffy about: Malcolm, the sexy misunderstood musician. I think we've all encountered Malcolms in our lives - boys who we know are nothing but trouble but couldn't resist simply because of how swoony they were. On one side, I liked Malcolm. He played a huge role in Quinn's summer, helping her make some big decisions. He also was pretty irresistible. I can understand why Quinn why was so taken by him. He had that sexy musician charm for sure, and he used that to his benefit. On the other hand, I felt that their relationship was unhealthy. I didn't like that Quinn took on the savior role here, always feeling as if it was up to her to keep Malcolm's sobriety in check. That's a hard role for anyone, especially someone who is already facing a lot in their own life. There were so many moments in which I wished I could reach through the book and knock some sense into Quinn, to tell her that she it wasn't solely up to her, that it wasn't okay that he was always making such weak promises. I will admit that sometimes their back-and-forth relationship grew old; however, I appreciated the end result. I won't say too much, but Jennifer did a great job of wrapping it up. There were some shaky "oh my goodness" moments, but I couldn't have been happier by the end.
Overall, August and Everything After is a relatable read, perfect for the summer! While it isn't my favorite book by Jennifer (How My Summer Went Up in Flames remains my favorite), it still demonstrates how great Jennifer's contemporaries are. I can't wait to read more by her!