After

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Reader reviewed by carly

At first I thought this was going to be a great book but it wasn't what i was hoping for. The beginning and middle were good with twists and turns at each chapter but... just when you wanted answers the book ends, giving you absolutely none. It ended si fast and it didn't give anything away. It was almost as if the writer got bored at the end and just wanted to finish the book, not caring if it's good or not. I was very dissapointed.
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is it another 1984??
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5.0
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5.0
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Reader reviewed by Tawny

After a school shooting that happens 50 miles from "Toms" school, drastic measures were taken to help prevent a scene like that at his school. A greif counselor was hired who seemed to take over the school. different rules were popping up all over the place and if they were broken it was off to boot camp. What kind of boot camp was it? where the kids who went seemed to disapear!
I thought this book was a great book to sit down and read and get into it. If you read the book 1984 by George Orewell (12th grade requirement which i just finished reading) it has many of the same morals. The books even ends with the same line "Big Brothers watching you." It makes you think.


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A Great and Unique Book
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5.0
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5.0
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Reader reviewed by Harmony

Before I heard about this book, I had never given much thought to people who left babies in the trash. They were evil and they were murderers. End of story. Except it turns out that its not quite that simple because really, what in life is?

In all honesty, I had a tough time reading this. It made my stomach churn because the thought of a baby left to die in a dumpster just makes me want to puke. Not only that but a few of the scenes where she is remembering the birth are slightly graphic. But then, you have Devon who, for some reason, is extremely easy to like. I wanted her to succeed. Thats not to say I wanted her to get away with nothing because she did leave her baby in the dumpster but I didnt want her to&I dont know. Spend the rest of her life in jail?


The ending of the book was slightly unexpected to me. It seemed to come out of nowhere. But, I felt it fit the novel well and it was better than several alternatives I had been expecting.


After is a heartbreaking novel but one that I think everyone should read. I look forward to any upcoming books by Ms. Efaw and highly recommend this one. 


 (I also love the subtle changes of the girl on the cover. It definitely fits in with how Devon sees herself vs. how everyone else sees her.)

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Very Interesting In These Times
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5.0
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5.0
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Reader reviewed by Amy

I absolutely loved this book! I found it to be a real page turner, and I really felt like I could understand the characters and their different opinions. I think that any student or teacher would be able to read this book and enjoy it if not relate to it because of the theme of violence in schools and how it affects each person in the story. I would say that it is a definite read!

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There's no way to stop it.
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5.0
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5.0
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0.0
Reader reviewed by Leslie J. de la Rosa

When a shooting goes on in a nearby school, Central High hires a grief and crisis counselor, security is increased, and privileges are being taken away. Tom Bishop and his friends Silas, Avery, and Brian students at Central High start noticing how day by day school starts to feel like a prison. Students and teachers begin disappearing. There’s nothing they can do there’s nothing they can say, punishment is severe and you might run the risk of being send away to camp Operation Turnaround. Camps where students are supposed to wake up and see the light, but what light? A student to their knowledge is already dead who knows how many more. Francine Prose has written an haunting novel about how much you never knew how much you cared about something till it was gone and then you really missed it. I loved this book. I could not put the book down for a minute. Thrilling and exciting this book will leave you with your mouth hanging wide open to endless of possibilities. A work of art of fiction the author makes you feel like you’re there. It makes you wonder if this could ever happen and if it did would you have the courage to stand up to them, they are after all extinguishing your freedom in the name of safety. First novel for young adult readers Francine Prose is the author of eleven highly acclaimed works of fiction; Caravaggio, Leopold the Liar of Leipzig, The Peaceable Kingdom, A Changed Man, The Lives of the Muses, Woman and Children First, Household Saints, Guided Tours of Hell, Primitive People, Blue Angel, and After. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, GQ, and The Paris Review. She writes regularly on art for The Wall Street Journal and lives in New York City.
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An amazing book about the effects of school shootings
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5.0
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5.0
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0.0
Reader reviewed by linda

We've all heard of those school shootings in Columbine and other schools and you've probably read a story like "Give a Boy a Gun" or "Shooter" that examines the reasons for the shootings, but "After" tells a whole other story. As the title suggests, "After" is about the after-effects of school shootings. It's about a school that decides to prevent a school shooting before it starts. While in theory that is a good idea; by counseling "outcasts" and stopping bullying, it could work but that's not what this school's principal was thinking about. The actions were more along the lines of brainwashing, invasion of privacy, and profiling which lead to the arrests of innocent kids and some deaths. "After" is a must-read, one of the best books I have ever read.
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A Terrifing Recallection of the Aftermath of a School Shooting
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4.0
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4.0
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0.0
Reader reviewed by Diana

After deals with what happens to a school after a school shooting occurs at a school 50 miles away. After the shooting everyone becomes aware that terrible things can happen. Thinking it would help to prevent an incident of the same nature from occuring at their school, the principle hires a grief counsiler to help the students sort out their feelings. Soon the grief counsiler begans to take over the school banning everything from The Catcher in the Rye to the color red. Students began to break the rules, but as soon as they cross the line they are sent to boot camp where they are helped to reform, the only problem is they never come back again. Its up to the kids to find out what it will take to break the grief counsilers control over the school and save the students.
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School Gone Wild
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4.0
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4.0
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Reader reviewed by Ams

The book After written by Francine Prose is about a young boy named Tom who is going to Central High School. When three students bring guns and start shooting and killing a few students at Pleasent Valley High School, less than 50 miles away, Dr. WIlner is hired to help the students as a grief and crisis counsler. As the story progresses, Tom and his friends realize he is truley hurting the students at Central more than healing them. THe thing I liked about this book was the wide variety in character traits.
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What Happened?
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4.0
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4.0
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0.0
Reader reviewed by caroline E tracey

After, by Francine Prose, starts out with a very tragic although very real incident. A school shooting occurs 50 miles away from the main character, Tom's, school. Right away things change. First there are new, strict rules, but then people start getting sent away.

This book starts off wonderfully. It keeps making you think about lots of possibilities of the reasons for all of the strangeness. And, although it is worth reading just for the beginning, it loses some steam. By the end, you begin to think, "Well, what really happened?" and "Where's the resolution?" and "Where's the epilogue?" Aside from that, it's a good, very interesting read, and I highly recommend it.
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Astonishing Aftermath
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4.0
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4.0
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0.0
Reader reviewed by deltay

With After, Amy Efaw has created an insightful glimpse into a very real, very tragic event that's repeating itself among today's youth. The media reports incidents of babies abandoned (e.g. in dumpsters or otherwise), and the consequences for the perpetrators, but what about the inciting factors that led this event to take place? What about the motivations that drove these young people to such desperation? This is a difficult subject to deal with, but Efaw does it deftly and insightfully in After.

On the cover, the real Devon and the Devon in the reflection may seem identical; upon closer inspection, the one in the reflection is pregnant. Subtle. And that's what many aspects of After are - subtle. In order to provoke maximum independent, unbiased thought, the story, the characters - everything has to walk a fine line and strike just the right amount of neutrality. In this case, Efaw was successful in generating contemplation.

The tense of this book - present tense, third person - was another subtle touch that got me thinking. This is Devon's story; first person would have provided more intimacy, as there's always an element of removal with third. But then I realized - is this what Efaw wants? A sense of removal from Devon, so that readers can decide for themselves whether "Devon deserve[s] that punishment? Your answer depends on whether you believe her story" (Synopsis). Even so, little details and small quirks endear the audience to Devon regardless. If I had the chance though, I would definitely want to ask Efaw about her choice on tense/perspective.

Characterization of Devon - I would imagine - was a tricky thing to handle. Even intimacy had to be generated to allow the audience to relate to Devon, but enough removal was needed to neutrally judge the situation. For a fair bit of the story, Devon seems a little out of it. But again - is this part of what's needed to complete the story, to create pathos? If so, another brilliant but subtle touch. Characterization in general, especially of the supporting cast, was handled masterfully though. Carefully placed details and quirks added a further realm of depth to the characters. Sure, they weren't always likeable (didn't particularly care for her mother) but more importantly, they were real. And they were credible. It was nice to see Dom outside of the lawyer context. It was interesting to get a first impression of Karma, only to have that change once more was revealed about her past, about her motivations.


"A wise saying from my good friend Anonymous" (Efaw 172).

The various little sayings by "Anonymous" which Karma referred to throughout were an excellent touch. A very unique character quirk. In fact, all the girls at the retention centre, the legal proceedings... these offered a glimpse into a world that we don't typically experience. It offered a breath of fresh air from the shallow guilty pleasures of "literature" that are a common indulgence nowadays. Efaw offers something a little more gritty, a little more raw - but also a little more real - with After. It definitely lends itself to controversial contemplation.

Something about Efaw's writing and diction choices as well - it flows unobtrusively, so as to not get in the way of telling the story. This serves well to augment the severity of the situation, of letting the events here penetrate. The format works excellently in this context. It jumps right into the situation, of Devon being discovered as recently having given birth. And slowly, slowly, the story unravels, the past is revealed, and we find out what happened beforehand with Devon as she begins to remember it herself. Readers aren't some removed party in this sense, sitting back to watch the drama unfurl, knowing either more or less than the main character - nope, here the reader embarks on this journey with Devon together. The flashbacks and present events coincide beautifully.

The subject matter here is definitely hard to take in, hard to digest. But at the same time, this is based on events that are happening for real. Which is why it's important to realize that. In that sense, After is a trailblazer, leading the way in terms of literature regarding dumpster babies in North America. The plot here is something new, something different. It shows the motivations (or perhaps lack thereof) and events leading up to why someone would abandon their baby like that. Oftentimes, we get lost in the post-discovery horror of shocking events; here Efaw offers a glimpse into the psychological aspect of pre-committing the act. The ending - well, I wasn't particularly fond of the way it concluded, but in this case it didn't necessarily affect the overall impact of the story too severely.

Efaw's After is a striking, thought-provoking piece of literature that could well open the eyes of many. I won't subconciously influence you here as to whether or not I'm in agreement with Devon's story. But this is definitely one you should check out - after all, there's only one way to find out whether you think Devon deserved her punishment. Whether you believe Devon's story. Was it all justified?

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