After The Leaves Fall
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After The Leaves Fall (Threads of Change #1)

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  1,420 ratings  ·  195 reviews
Julia DeSmit can't wait for her life to begin. After her mother leaves when Julia is nine years old, she's raised by an unassuming, gentle father and a saintly, matriarchal grandmother until her father dies just as Julia is becoming a young adult.
On the cusp of womanhood, Julia feels jaded by her circumstances and longs for a new identity. College seems like the perfect p...more
Kindle Edition, 346 pages
Published January 31st 2011 by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (first published September 5th 2007)
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Community Reviews

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My review:

The following section contains one of the most beautiful concepts I've read in a Christian novel.

(It seemed like a strange thing to say, but with every repetition she drove a tiny seed of hope further into my heart. I almost didn't want it there--hope is not a promise, merely a wish, a yearning for something that may never materialize--but it sank down deep where I could not extract it and began, even in that moment, to put down fragile roots.

It was the hope that scared me most of all,...more
One word: heart-breaking. I didn't know I was going to get into some major fireworks when I opened this one and so, I spent last night in a pool of tears... on my pillow. My blankie also became a hanky. I am so going to try my best to get the sequel because I need to know what happens to Julia deSmit after all that... shit. Woo, that rhymed. (Also, I feel uncomfortable using 'shit' in a sentence that contains Julia deSmit. It's just that she's gone through so much pain, she doesn't need someone...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Wow. This is one of those books that left me breathless. I need to preface this by saying Ms. Baart is lucky there IS a sequel, otherwise this review might not be pretty. As an author myself, I'm quite selective in what I read. I download a lot of stuff to my iPad. Not everything makes it into my TBR or AM READING pile. I sifted through a couple of choices before I hit on After The Leaves Fall. I'm not sure what it was that hooked me. This is not your average let's all be good Christians and pre...more
An intriguing beginning, but the plot soon sinks into predictability and the characters become more shallow and underdeveloped as the story progresses.
Jamie (LadyJai) Dement
I heard this on one of my talk shows I listen to, said his wife and staff members couldn't put it down and it was offered free on Amazon Kindle on Valentine's Day. I had no idea what this book was about. But I wanted to read it anyway.

Once I started, I was sucked in. The main character was real and down to earth. Her mom left, her dad died, and she went to live with her grandmother on a farm in some small town. Her life turned upside down and semi-bitter, her faith became questionable as she wen...more
Feb 25, 2011 Amanda rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Amanda by: Glenn Beck
Glenn Beck spoke at my college graduation last spring and I've since been following him on Facebook. On Valentine's Day, he shared that his wife Tania and several of his staff members hadn't been able to put this book down and that for a limited time it is free for the Kindle on Amazon. He said, "Fair warning, while it may not cost you any money, it will definitely cost you some sleep." Well, Glenn, it did cost me some sleep last night and now it's going to cost me some money! After reading Afte...more
Cassie McCown

Another great read by a Christian author. I was captivated in the first chapter when she writes:

"He was buried on a rainy day in October, and I remember the sound of the raindrops on the lid of the sleek black casket and how it seemed like music to me. The pastor was doing his best to make sorrowful and occasion that seemed anything but--the leaves on the trees above us were burnt amber, the consoling sky around us was velvety gray, and the rain was singing softly. I didn't feel sa...more
I loved this book and the main character. I didn't realize it was a Christian fiction book until I added it here on Goodreads, but the story and the prose had hooked me enough by then I was willing to give it a chance. Luckily, the book did not disappoint with a heavy-handed, didactic message. Quite the opposite, in fact. The story was genuine, and the anger and struggles of faith were the authentic struggles of everyone as they grow up. The Goddy part didn't come until the very end, and while i...more
This is a beautiful story covering many subjects: growing up, family, self-redemption, falling down and getting up again, love, hope...Amidst all what seems to be the grey background dominating most of the scenes, there was always hope; and the end of this first installment was full of it.

Practically all Christian novels have hope as the theme. They differ from one another on the level of "preachiness". As Christians, we get our regular doses of preaching from church; to get more outside would b...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I got this as a free kindle download and wasn't sure what to expect, but I really enjoyed it.

Spoiler Alert;

I love how after all of the pain and loneliness and mistakes the main character finds her way and makes this statement: "Janice left, my father died, and Grandma will follow. Who is my constant? Who will walk with me when everyone else has faded to the background to a place where they exist in little more than carefully preserved memories? There is something inside me that knows beyond ever...more
A new favorite and superior read in the Christian fiction genre. I loved the blend of college/career indecisiveness, romance, spirituality, and family love. The protagonist, Julia came alive for me as I witnessed her independent journey through situations that could make one shrivel and shrink. I also loved being able to hear her thoughts throughout the book. Life is not always sweet and comfortable, and neither are the book's situations, yet it left me feeling uplifted and hopeful—its light lin...more
Having a Kindle, I download lots of freebies. As most Kindle users know, that means lots (and LOTS!) of Christian fiction. I read a fair amount - it's my mindless filler reading. I rarely put it on GoodReads because it's not "real" reading to me - just filler.

This book was different. It wasn't the best book every - it's fairly routine coming of age stuff. But the writing is lovely. I really enjoyed it and would actually pay money to read something else by they author. If you have a Kindle, check...more
Ceceilia Williams
This is one novel that will have your emotions going from low to high. Julia's mom Janice abandons her and her father and the constant wanting to hate her comes out in spurts here and there. Being raised by her dad who dies while she is in her teens and meeting a guy, Brandon who she shares her first kiss and cigarette is just some of the obstacles the author takes you through. I enjoyed this book very much.
Wow, I just didn't really connect with Julia or her problems. I got tired of hearing her complain. Every time she got a chance to create more drama in her life, she made the wrong choice. Every time she could have acted like a mature adult, she blew it. So don't care what happens to her.
This contains many beautifully written passages - it's not a light, easy read and it doesn't present simple, cookie cutter answers.... refreshing for a Christian author! Julia has had a very difficult upbringing and suffered a lot of loss, and consequently she's known by those "markers" in her small town, and is excited to head to college and discover exactly who she is.

As she's working through that, she makes some poor decisions that end up having some pretty major consequences. Again, this is...more
I don't want to write this review because then it means that I'm finished walking beside Julia for a while. Thank goodness there's a sequel and thank goodness I have now discovered Nicole Baart! The emotions and random little thoughts that you don't even think are able to be put into words are in this book. The character development is outstanding and I felt that I found a complex but relatable friend in Julia. It's interesting because the story is about an 18 year old girl who goes to college,...more
Beth Peninger
I unknowingly read book three of this series last month so I'm backtracking a bit and reading books 1 and 2 this month. This is book 1. Although the books in this series could easily be stand alones. I enjoyed it. Baart has a lovely writing style.
In this first book we meet Julia DeSmit at age 16 when she has just lost her father. Her mother had left them 7 years prior so Julia is now parent-less. Fortunately she has her Grandma, a wise and wonderful woman. As Julia navigates a life without pare...more
This is a good story about Julia DeSmit's struggle to find her place and her path amidst abandonment and death by her mother and father, respectively (her mother left when she was 9, her father died when she was 15). While she's raised by her grandmother, she still seeks acceptance, which is hard for her to find. She's not super outgoing, she feels like she doesn't fit in, and she's socially awkward. Her only friend is her next door neighbor Thomas, and he knows she sees him more than a friend,...more
Jill Williamson
Review by Gigi Hoffman

Julia DeSmit hasn’t had the easiest life. Her mother deserted her when she was nine and her father died when she was fifteen. The only people left are Thomas, her best friend and first love, and her loving grandmother. But when Thomas falls for someone else, leaving Julia with a broken heart, she decides to get away and discover the real world by going to college.

College seems like a great escape and a new beginning, but it’s not all it was cracked up to be. Classes are ha...more
Klaudyna Z.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I didn't really realize this was Christian fiction till about halfway through when I read the author bio on the back that told me Nicole Baart was married to a pastor.

I have consciously been avoiding Christian fiction: it no longer feels relevant to my life and even if it did, who wants to read the sticky and trite form the prose of Christian fiction generally takes? But this was not like that at all. It's the perfect kind of Christian fiction. It doesn't even feel right to label it as Christia...more
Jan 24, 2008 Nicole added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
"In her promising debut novel, Baart writes compellingly about a young girl's struggle with loss, love, identity and faith... Sparkling prose makes this new novel a welcome addition to inspirational fiction."
Publisher's Weekly

"Debut author Baart's writing is evocative and beautiful "
Romantic Times

“After the Leaves Fall is a novel that soars with significance.”
Joyce Handzo (In the Library Reviews)

“Beautifully and sensitively written, Nicole Baart’s debut novel, After the Leaves Fall, is a breath...more
After the Leaves Fall tells the story of young Julia DeSmit who is only used to being left behind and forgotten. Her mother leaves the girl at the age of 9. Years later, at 16, Julia's father passes away, and Julia is left to live in the old farmhouse with her grandmother. Julia finds that the only people she can really relate to are her beloved grandmother and her neighbor/best friend, Thomas. Over time, Julia realizes that she's been harboring romantic feelings for Thomas. When he leaves for c...more
After reading this, I have to go and change my review of Miracle Girls. Because in that review I said that Miracle Girls was probably my favorite Christian-realistic fiction book. And now it isn't; now After the Leaves Fall is.

So now I will desperately try to write a review for this book, and most likely fail miserably, because it's hard to put into words what I liked so much about the story. Still, I'll try.

The emotions in this book were just so well written. I could really understand how the...more
Ivy Krill
Nicole Baart's AFTER THE LEAVES FALL was strikingly mediocre, moreso because of the writing itself than because of the story. At approximately the 40% point, the writing deteriorates - specifically, there is far too much exposition ('telling' / narration), and unnecessary clarifications of the main character's thoughts. Again, too much exposition. I only finished the book because I wanted to see whether or not the main character would end up with the character I hated.

In summary, this book wasn'...more
Jessie Weaver
I am only disappointed that I didn’t read this before I read Summer Snow (its sequel). The storyline isn’t anything super-original, but Baart’s writing is just so good I don’t care. I think she could write about James K. Polk and I would still read it and be fascinated.
I started out LOVING this (free on Kindle!) book...then it started to not go anywhere. Once instance has bugged me throughout the book. Julia is painfully unsocial & while away at college twice has an opportunity to make a friend...1st day of class a girl is kind enough to curl Julia's hair for her with her curling iron. But Julia forgets to get her name..or did she just forget it? Then she sees her again while popping popcorn & is invited to join their group for TV watching. Again..does...more
Truly enjoyed this author's beautiful and often poetic writing style. The book was a quick read, probably more along the lines of a young adult selection, but, being much older than that, it still drew me in. The main character was real enough, she could easily be someone you know or have met along the way. Personally, having been a child of divorce with an almost non-existent father of my own, I could naturally relate to the pains, emotions, and thought processes so deftly displayed in this sto...more
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Nicole Baart lives in a small town in Iowa and is the mother of three young sons. After the adoption of her second son from Ethiopia, Nicole discovered a deep passion for global issues and co-founded a non-profit organization, One Body One Hope, that works alongside a church and orphanage in Monrovia, Liberia. An accomplished novelist, she was a 2009 Christy Award finalist for fiction. Visit her w...more
More about Nicole Baart...
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“It isn't true that whatever doesn't kill you only makes you stronger...but whatever doesn't kill you does leave you vulnerable to another day.” 14 likes
“all-too-familiar homes. There were at least a dozen people waiting at the meat counter, and the dairy case had already been emptied of the pound blocks of butter Grandma liked to use for baking. I tried not to get annoyed and made substitutions whenever I came across an item on my list that had sold out. It actually seemed appropriate somehow to have such a hodgepodge holiday. I had to settle for chicken instead of the traditional Cornish game hens that Grandma prepared for our Christmas feast. Low-fat eggnog because the regular cartons were already gone. Margarine substituted for butter. At the checkout, I counted the cash that Grandma” 0 likes
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