Monday, August 20, 2012

Amy Efaw's After

Title: After
Author: Amy Efaw
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Pages: 350 pages

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.
And yet gifted author Amy Efaw does the impossible? she turns Devon into an empathetic character, a girl who was in such deep denial that she refused to believe she was pregnant. Through airtight writing and fast-paced, gripping storytelling, Ms. Efaw takes the reader on Devon?s unforgettable journey toward clarity, acceptance, and redemption.
Okay, before I start, I didn't write the review 4-reasons-why-you-should-read-this like I always do. Actually, as you can see from the title, I happened to write a letter to the main character, Devon Davenport. And from that letter, you can see what I thought about the book, the characters, the plot, and the pace. :)

Dear Devon,

                I happened to read this book, After, which told me mostly about you. About how you were curled up on the couch, under the blanket, skipping school, when your mother came home from work. You tried to listen to her, but eventually you just couldn’t. You were too tired. Right when your mother became angry because you were not listening, some people who turned out to be some polices came to your apartment. They said they were looking for some local people if they found or heard something outside their apartment. They said there was a baby being dumped in a trashcan.

                It was cruel, wasn’t it? Who would leave her own baby in the trash to die? (This was written on the book jacket.) Who would kill that helpless creature?

                Anyway, that was something your mother talked about before. But you were not listening.
                Then, when one of the cops walked to you to ask some questions, you didn’t respond right away. Maybe you were tired. Maybe you felt like sleeping. Maybe you were sick.

                And it turned out you were covered in blood, under the blanket wrapped around you. And the police started reading your rights before you fainted.

                Devon, as reading your journey, I first had no idea why you would do that such thing. Eventually after I read the synopsis written on the book jacket, that you were a straight-A student, soccer player with Olympic dreams, even more mature than your own mother—why, Devon?

                And it seemed like you didn’t have an answer for me either.

                Your answer depends on whether you believe her story—that she didn’t even know she was pregnant.

                I began to come along with you, following your own journey to be in a juvenile detention center until those flashbacks you had whenever you saw something that reminded you of them. And those puzzles became complete—but not whole.

                Reading your story is… I don’t even know how to say this. I was your age, Devon, when I read this for the first time. Now I’ve read this for the second time. Right now I’m going to be seventeen next December. I think I know why you’re scared—not because of your pregnancy which was denied by yourself. But because of what happened before the pregnancy. The caused of pregnancy.

                I really appreciated Amy Efaw to use third person point of view. But I was expecting this story to be a retelling one from your perspective, Devon. But Efaw did an amazing job to write this from both your and her perspective.

                I like you, Devon. I think we even could be friends. We could talk about books—since you like reading too. And I think you would love to meet my five-year-old cousin. He’s very sweet. Then you could teach me sport—I’m pretty bad at it.

                “These are steps, Devon, when you have steps, you have a plan. When you have a plan, you have what’s called premeditation. Premeditation points to guilt. And guilt equals going to jail. For a long, long time.”

                I also like your attorney, Dom. Though she was a female and a lawyer, but she seemed to have a lot of fun. We three could hang out sometimes.

                Devon, your story seemed real, and also touching. I began to like Connor with you. I happened to be upset to your mother with you as well. I even was crying at some point—what was I saying? Oh, your story is touching.

                Before I finished writing this looks-like-a-letter-instead-of-a-book-review, I just wanted to say this: you are not alone, Dev. I’m pretty sure many of us have felt that. But honestly? We are not alone. You are not alone.

                I just could reread this book as long as I wanted to and still loved it.

                “It’s actually the quiet ones who often draw the most attention. There’s this constant whirlwind of motion and sound all around, and then there’s the quiet one, the eye of the storm. Quiet tends to stand out here because it’s so uncommon.”


Rating: 4 of 5 owls.

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