Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 122
How do you move on after a devastating event?
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Most books about a school shooting would start with the horrific event at the center of story, but EVERY MOMENT AFTER takes place 11 years after a gunman kills sixteen first graders and their principal at the high school graduation for the class. Cole Hewitt and Matt Simpson are two of the graduates, and neither of them knows what exactly happened that day. Cole was there--and he is the face of that tragedy thanks to a photo of him that was taken as he was carried out of the school. Matt was home sick that day, and he has wrestled with the guilt of his "good luck" ever since.

Cole and Matt are best friends, and they're navigating their summer before starting college as best they can--though both are struggling for different reasons. EVERY MOMENT AFTER is told from the perspective of both boys through alternating chapters, and it blends some of the more typical eighteen-year-old troubles with the trauma that obviously will come from being part of a tragic event.

EVERY MOMENT AFTER is an examination of grief and friendship, and it expands the narrative beyond the two boys at the center of the book. The whole town has been impacted by the shooting, of course, and although Cole and Matt's stories drive the plot, their interactions with others shine a light on the ripples caused by the shooting. I appreciated that the actual shooting was never described in any sort of detail. Although this book was very much about the event, the treatment of it allowed for the focus to stay firmly on the future impact--what happens after the cameras turn away and much of the world has found something new on which to fixate.

Although the author's views on gun control are evident, they're not presented in a heavy-handed way, and they blend well with the story. The ending of the book felt rushed and somewhat incomplete, and Matt and Cole are exasperating at times--but they're eighteen-year-old boys, so that's to be expected. But overall, reading and discussing EVERY MOMENT AFTER seems a good way to explore tragedy and grief in a safe way, and although it's unfortunate that books like this feel so necessary, I'm glad there's one out there that can help facilitate necessary conversations on gun violence.

My thanks to the publisher and YA Books Central for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
Good Points
An examination of what comes after a tragedy
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