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all hearthfires & holocausts

eating books. bleeding words.

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R.J. Palacio
The Chaos of Stars
Kiersten White
LeighAnn Kopans
Cherry Money Baby
John M. Cusick
The Dream Thieves
Maggie Stiefvater
Undying (Undying, #1)
Cyndy Aleo
The Beginning of After - Jennifer Castle In all fairness, this probably deserves to be rounded up to 3, but I was so disappointed I just can't bring myself to do it. The Beginning of After tells the story of Laurel, and the way her life changes after her parents and younger brother are killed in a car accident during her junior year of high school. I expected an intensely emotional read, one of grief and sorrow and healing, however what I got was mostly a story about boys and prom dates. While Laurel's grief was poignant and well done in some instances, mostly I felt as though the author was ticking off check boxes every few chapters, making sure she hit every stage in the Kublar-Ross model. It felt a little obvious and heavy handed, however I don't think it would have been a detriment to the book entirely had the author not also clouded the story with unnecessary and cliched love interest nonsense. If you're seventeen years old and life as you have known it has been obliterated, is prom of all things going to be on your radar? I understand the need to grapple for normalcy when everything else in life is out of your control, but the shift in tone from not being able to get out of bed to dress shopping and making out and (of course) trying to decide between two boys was too much. It made Laurel seem shallow and turned the book into your typical YA fare with a little death thrown in for a new spin. Overall, The Beginning of After missed the mark for me.