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Hopeful, beautifully written, and nothing short of spectacular, The Beginning of After wraps the reader in for a long and amazing journey full of laughs and tears and smiles as Laurel and David make their trip to the after from the beginning I simply could not have asked for a better contemporary read and I am sure many will agree They say everything can change in one quick second, but Laurel never realized this until that fateful day when everything fell apart Before that day, Laurel was the Hopeful, beautifully written, and nothing short of spectacular, The Beginning of After wraps the reader in for a long and amazing journey full of laughs and tears and smiles as Laurel and David make their trip to the after from the beginning I simply could not have asked for a better contemporary read and I am sure many will agree They say everything can change in one quick second, but Laurel never realized this until that fateful day when everything fell apart Before that day, Laurel was the average girl smart, shy, and pleasant She had a picture perfect family life, a best friend who she could count on, and the promise of an amazing future However, everything changes when a police offer arrives at the front door bringing with him sad news Laurel s parents and brothers have been involved in a car accident and are now dead Filled with grief and anger, Laurel does not know what to do, or who to blame Should it her neighbor Mr Kaufman because he drove the car, or should it be herself for not being there to save the day Either way, Laurel does know one thing she should not be feeling strange and new things for David, the local bad boy and Mr Kaufman s son Nevertheless, she cannot stop herself, because with David she can relate He understands where she is coming from, and best of all, he is not tiptoeing around her like everyone else is Though, are they meant to be, or this one big mess in the making Moreover, will she ever be able to move on Only time andpages can tell in this fantastic story of grief, loss, and moving on.To begin with, I loved the characters in this, especially Laurel and David Charming and sweet, Laurel was relatable and likable from the start There wasn t a moment where I wasn t cheering her on from the sidelines However, what I liked best about her was the fact that I feel anyone would be able to resonate with her feelings over death and loss David, on the other hand, was the perfect example of the bad boy Misunderstood yet charismatic in his own right, David was the type of boy a reader cannot help but love I particularly adored his relationship with Laurel, not only because of the way it was developed slowly finally a YA relationship that takes time to develop , but it was based on so muchthan just attraction, instead feelings and actions played a big role, and I loved that The side characters in this were also a breath of fresh air, as each one had their own distinctive personality that added an extra flavor to the story.Moving on, while The Beginning of After basic premise is the basic death clich , Jennifer Castle fully brought it alive once again and made it her own From the plot lines, to the characters, and finally the writing, each played such a huge part in making this story simply fantastic I particularly enjoyed seeing Laurel deal with day to day life such as her volunteer work and school because they added layers and charm Best of all, I loved that The Beginning of After was so muchthan just a death book, instead it wasabout moving on and coming to peace with the past while keeping part of it close.As mentioned before, Castle s writing was also fabulous She truly knows how to write an emotional read, which makes me truly think she s going to be the next big gem in YA So, pick up some tissues and prepare for a long night, as Jennifer Castle s spectacular debut is one you will not be able to put down once you start, not even for a second Grade A 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 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 I m glad I decided to make my own mind up about Jennifer Castle s The Beginning of After There was much criticism by other Goodread s reviewers of the fact that Laurel did not appear to be grieving shortly after her family s death I can only assume that these critics have never experienced a grief too deep, even for tears In the first few chapters, I saw that Laurel was clamping down on her emotions and memories, staying away from anything that would breach the walls she was building around h I m glad I decided to make my own mind up about Jennifer Castle s The Beginning of After There was much criticism by other Goodread s reviewers of the fact that Laurel did not appear to be grieving shortly after her family s death I can only assume that these critics have never experienced a grief too deep, even for tears In the first few chapters, I saw that Laurel was clamping down on her emotions and memories, staying away from anything that would breach the walls she was building around herself, so that she didn t let in the massive grief that she knew was on the other side The first half of this novel reminded me of Kieslowski s movie, Blue of the the Trois Coleurs Red White Blue trilogy In Blue, Julie played by Juliette Binoche loses her beloved daughter and husband in a car crash Julie s grief was silent, terrible and all consuming At one point, she tried to take an overdose of pills while she was recovering in the hospital The scene in the movie where Juliette Binoche s elderly housekeeper starts to sob at the sight of her says it all Why are you crying Julie asks her blankly Because you cannot, was her heartbroken response.Julie attempts to retreat from the world and avoid emotional attachments, but the world does not permit Julie to stay cocooned in her silent grief for long Julie, like Laurel, is forced to deal with her grief and re enter the land of the living If you have never watched Blue, and the other two movies in the trilogy, I would highly, highly recommend that you do so The gorgeous music, alone, in Blue will forever haunt you, as will Juliette Binoche s outstanding performance.But back to this book the first half of this story was brilliant The sharp, witty writing drew me in and kept me watching for the crack in Laurel s unnatural composure Castle did a great job, for a first novel, in setting the scene and presenting the reader with lifelike characters I was not shocked by the fact that Laurel became fixated on whether Joe or David liked her When you are in the first throes of grief, you can often feel numb for a while Time slows down and even seems to stand still You develop a sense of your own mortality and the part of you that is hurting is looking for some comfort, much like addicts look for a hit when they find themselves in a stressful situation Joe and David start off as a welcome distraction from the horrible wave of grief that is coming ever closer to the shore.And of course, when Laurel finally does get swallowed up by her grief, it happens in a very dramatic fashion at a post prom party, as a result of a taunt from David Many reviewers stay away from Young Adult books because they dislike the melodrama, the inevitable love triangles and the far fetched plot devices that many YA authors employ I am happy to report that Jennifer Castle managed to keep the melodrama down to a dull roar.I really enjoyed the first two thirds or so of this novel Things started getting a tad drawn out in the final third, but the ending wasthan satisfying A highly recommended read about loss, grief, forgiveness and moving on I rate this one a 4.4 out of 5 This review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.Nothing Happened.Yes, you read it right nothing happened in the entire 400 novel Oh, mundane events occurred, all right Laurel went to school She went to her therapist She cried on her bed She got a job at the animal shelter But nothing of significance appeared on the horizon The novel was a gigantic blob of nothingness I don t know about you, but when I pick up a piece of fiction, I expect to be dazzled or touched or experience This review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.Nothing Happened.Yes, you read it right nothing happened in the entire 400 novel Oh, mundane events occurred, all right Laurel went to school She went to her therapist She cried on her bed She got a job at the animal shelter But nothing of significance appeared on the horizon The novel was a gigantic blob of nothingness I don t know about you, but when I pick up a piece of fiction, I expect to be dazzled or touched or experience some sort of change in the way I view the world If I really wanted to bore myself with blobs of nothingness, I would pick up my Physics textbook instead.I do realize that 1 star ratings are quite harsh since an entire team of people dedicated time and money on this piece of writing, only to have it hated on by a reviewer they kindly provided an ARC to But hey, we have standards, and any book I think was a waste of time to read receives only 1 star.OK, since Laurel s parents and brother pass away in a car accident near the beginning, you would expect the novel to be about healing and dealing with grief But no, Laurel basically mopes around for a while and then dives into an entire vat of boy drama Would you be worrying about boys when your entire family has just passed away Sending flirty emails to your next door neighbor, whose mother also died in the same car accident No No, you wouldn t.While the characters themselves don t get on my nerves, their interactions are quite infuriating, with Laurel and David being the prime example here It is understandable that both would be unstable after the deaths of their families and that seeking solace with someone who knows what you re going through helps with the pain But the romance between these two I mean, really Laurel obviously pines after David for a good part of the novel, and David isn t even around half the time But then one day, the author decided to wave her magic wand and poof, they re a happy couple Not every single YA novel needs romance, you know I understand how others might have been moved by The Beginning of After, but this novel was not for me.Book Source ARC from HarperCollins via NetGalley Laurel is a typical teenager living a typical life She has a mum.She has a dad.She even has a little brother She goes to school She has a best friend, Meg.She gets straight As.She does everything right.One evening, when Laurel s family and the Kaufman family are having a dinner, Laurel does what she normally does Sits Eats Smiles politely whilst trying to avoid the eye of David Kaufman, her childhood friend who s probably forgotten all their history together and is farinterested in h Laurel is a typical teenager living a typical life She has a mum.She has a dad.She even has a little brother She goes to school She has a best friend, Meg.She gets straight As.She does everything right.One evening, when Laurel s family and the Kaufman family are having a dinner, Laurel does what she normally does Sits Eats Smiles politely whilst trying to avoid the eye of David Kaufman, her childhood friend who s probably forgotten all their history together and is farinterested in his gangster friends than her Teasing her brother It is on this evening that Laurel makes a life changing decision She tells her mother she wants to study and is going home early Alone David decides to leave too As Laurel leaves, she waves to her family as they pile into a car with the Kaufmans to go out for icecream That was the last time she ever saw them.An accident A decision Time slipping through her fingers Laurel s world comes tumbling down when she learns of the death of her family, and the heart wrenching truth about Before, Now and After How it takes one thing to turn your life into a Before Before the dinner Before the hug Before the smile Before the wave goodbye Before she walked away All there is is Now An endless Now that stretches out too far for a teenager like her to see Sorrow fills every part of Laurel as she tries to face a world without what she used to take for granted Love Togetherness Family Laurel learns how everyone grieves in their own way And she finds herself torn on the subject of David Kaufman, whose father the only survivor lies in a coma he may never awake from David s father could be the reason Laurel s an orphan But David could be the reason Laurel finds the strength to take her future into her own hands.I personally loved the writing style it was descriptive, quirky and from the heart True, it lacked poetic finesse, but this wasn t what the story was about It was about loss Rawness Truth How sometimes our own thoughts can be so simple and average that they tear us apartwe long to FEEL something but in order to do that we have to let the floodgates down I really think you need to have experienced some kind of loss to understand this book on a deeper level.Sad, lingering and aching with loss and yet with a bittersweet touch of first love, The Beginning of After takes you by the hand and shows to you like never before the cycle of human existence, how fleeting true happiness is but that we have the ability to make it last, and to hold it forever in our hearts By page 50 I was like this image error Which is why I decided to abandon it By page 50 I was like this image error Which is why I decided to abandon it |READ KINDLE ☾ De dag dat alles anders werd ⚆ Wat als je ouders en je broer omkomen bij een auto ongeluk Als Laureljaar is, overkomt het haar en staat ze er vanaf dat moment alleen voor Het verandert alles Hoe ze omgaat met haar beste vriendin, hoe ze denkt over jongens benaderen die haar nou wel of juist niet uit medelijden En wat moet ze met de buurjongen, David Zijn moeder kwam ook om bij het ongeluk David, die ze hoe onmogelijk ook zo aantrekkelijk vindt Hun levens zijn vanaf die dag voor altijd met elkaar verbonden Een band die hun allebei verandert op een onverwachte manier I m not really sure how to review this book I read it a couple of weeks ago, and I ve forgotten a lot of the things that happened, so I don t think that s a very glowing recommendation It definitely didn t stay with me, but I do remember it wasn t terrible The writing is pretty good, the characters are actually fairly unique and all have their own issues The pacing just seemed to drag, and I felt like there was a lot in there that just didn t need to be there Laurel s entire family is kille I m not really sure how to review this book I read it a couple of weeks ago, and I ve forgotten a lot of the things that happened, so I don t think that s a very glowing recommendation It definitely didn t stay with me, but I do remember it wasn t terrible The writing is pretty good, the characters are actually fairly unique and all have their own issues The pacing just seemed to drag, and I felt like there was a lot in there that just didn t need to be there Laurel s entire family is killed in a car accident at the beginning of the book, and though we travel with her through the grieving process, not once did I even feel the beginning of tears I simply didn t care The writing is not emotional at all, and that s a bit of a killer when you re trying to write a story that requires emotional depth It all felt kind of wooden Like a textbook Laurel annoyed me with all of her wallowing, and I wanted to like David, but found I never really got to know David since he s hardly ever in the story Jennifer Castle has potential, but if she s going to craft stories around severe emotional upheavals, she needs to learn how to write emotions It pains me to say this, but The Beginning of After disappointed me It had me by the heartstrings through most of the story, but Jennifer Castle eventually just broke my heart.That said and out there, I will still recommend this book There were a few hard and rare topics and feelings brought into this story of loss and grief which are typically not found in YA fiction Castle talks about the different ways people grief, selfishness in the process, and actually using the loss and grief to one s It pains me to say this, but The Beginning of After disappointed me It had me by the heartstrings through most of the story, but Jennifer Castle eventually just broke my heart.That said and out there, I will still recommend this book There were a few hard and rare topics and feelings brought into this story of loss and grief which are typically not found in YA fiction Castle talks about the different ways people grief, selfishness in the process, and actually using the loss and grief to one s advantage In our world, we don t know what to say or do for someone in pain after losing a loved one So we give her a dress for 50% off or a pass on school work Sad and a little disgusting, but we don t know any other way of expressing our sympathy These are strong, positive points that need and should be discussed, but these same strengths also make it very difficult to like the characters.And I really wanted to like Laurel and David Whenever they were together it felt right Some of their conversations were electric, but too few and far between At first, this was a strength for their story I actually found myself longing to see them talk or be together, but when they finally did see each other their time was abrupt and cut short with such force that it crushed their romance for me.When Laurel began making decisions around her feelings for David, I kept wondering why I felt like I still didn t really know David at that point Hell, we knewabout David s dog than we did about him I understand David s way of grieving was going being gone , but for a romance to build we neededI wanted to root for Laurel and David, but the fragmented bits of time together made it so hard to make room for them in my heart.This is a challenging story to tell A story that tried to include overwhelming pain, suffering, selfishness one feels during grieving, accusations of selfishness or it being all about you , and the different ways of trying to cope by running or staying and then tried to throw in a romance It was a huge, ambitious mountain to climb, but Jennifer Castle did not quite get there My heart did break, but with disappointment Oh, this book Sigh In the beginning I had no interest in reading yet another YA contemporary talking about grieving the death of family members There s really, truly only so much I can read about grief plots But then, inspired by high praise from early reviewers, I was convinced to give THE BEGINNING OF AFTER a shot only to wish, after a long and drawn out struggle, that I had just stuck with my original instincts To give credit where credit is due, I actually quite admire what THE BEGINNIN Oh, this book Sigh In the beginning I had no interest in reading yet another YA contemporary talking about grieving the death of family members There s really, truly only so much I can read about grief plots But then, inspired by high praise from early reviewers, I was convinced to give THE BEGINNING OF AFTER a shot only to wish, after a long and drawn out struggle, that I had just stuck with my original instincts To give credit where credit is due, I actually quite admire what THE BEGINNING OF AFTER attempted to do, and that is to talk about the less sympathetic aspects of grief Meaning When strangers learn of your tragedy and offer to do you favors, do you accept or reject When classmates start payingattention to you as a result, how do you react I admire that Jennifer Castle unflinchingly let Laurel explore these unappealing and perhaps even shocking aspects of losing loved ones, because it s the truth tragedy is tragedy, but tragedy in some cases is also opportunity, and we d be willingly blindfolding ourselves if we don t acknowledge that.However, I forced myself to get to the halfway point before I finally had to knowledge that absolutely nothing relevant to the premise has happened yet The first half of the book is such a trove of Things to Avoid When Writing Yet Another YA Novel About Grief popular girls approaching the MC, formerly uninterested guys approaching the MC, former best friend drifting away, etc You might ask, where s David as the very idea of him begins to seem farinteresting than reading about every single minute detail of Laurel s life Well, you see, that s a very good question Because for the first half of the book, David s mostly on the other side of the country How s that for plot and character development Readers, I m done Maybe the second half of this overly long book has some merit, but if you ve given me a 400 plus page book in which approximately 150 of the first 200 pages could be condensed into three chapters, I m going to hand it write back to you and tell you to do some heavy rethinking in terms of revisions before you ask me to take it seriously