Sunday, October 18, 2009

After: Amy Efaw

SUMMARY ( Courtesy of

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.


Fantastic. Brilliant. Heartfelt. Emotional. Those are just a few of the adjectives that crossed my mind while reading this. I am not normally the kind to get emotional and choked up by things, but this book caused me to feel such strong emotions more than once- and not just because of the subject matter. Efaw is one of those rare writers who can infuse intense emotion into their writing and elicit such responses. I felt for and sided with Devon from the start- there was never any intense surges of hatred towards her for me because of how this story was written.

It is not secret to those who knows me that my favorite author is Jodi Picoult. I completely adore her writing and work and this book is on a similar level for me, although obviously meant for a younger group. The writing style and court proceedings are not nearly as in depth and detailed as in Picoult's works, but those are written for an older generation. The character development, the emotions, the casting of a negative character in a good light- the things that make me adore Jodi's writing- were all present in this work and at least in my opinion, that is a huge compliment.

Efaw has taken a sad, often misunderstood and somewhat ignored topic and cast it into the spotlight. She has shown how it can happen- why it still happens in such a privileged society. It even goes a step further to show how even mature, smart, competent women and girls can be doing this. She has taken you into the mind of the supposed murderer and shown you why things are not as black and white as most want to believe. This book gripped me from the start- the imagery is all there, along with the emotion and even the stark contrast and differences in characters. I loved some and hated some and was able to see and understand why the different characters were there- they did serve a purpose and weren't just random, space filling occurances.

I felt for Devon and I could relate to her. By the end of the book, it was easy to understand how and why she has done this- but above all, I especially liked the ending. At first, it came as a shock and I wanted to be outraged but I appreciate it and understand it. It is beautiful and understandable and bittersweet. Initially, I wanted more- wanted more details of what happened, of the future, of even the baby's future but after a few moments of just thinking about it, I started to appreciate how this ended and how things were left. The full effect of things would have been negated, I think, if there was more and I applaud

I give this book 5 stars because it gripped me and kept me turning the pages, I adored the characters, and because of the topic. I highly recommend this to people of any age. It is written on a level for younger generations to be able to enjoy and understand but it is great for all ages. This book is definitely going on my favorites shelf and is the kind of book that I will reread.

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