Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “After the First Death” as Want to Read:
Blank 133x176
After the First Death
Robert Cormier
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

After the First Death

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  2,301 ratings  ·  280 reviews
Cambridge Literature is a series of literary texts edited for study by students aged 14–18 in English-speaking classrooms. It will include novels, poetry, short stories, essays, travel-writing and other non-fiction. The series will be extensive and open-ended and will provide school students with a range of edited texts taken from a wide geographical spread. It will featur ...more
Hardcover, 0 pages
Published December 1st 2002 by Peter Smith Pub Inc (first published 1979)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about After the First Death, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about After the First Death

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
But how many times is a person allowed to die?

First published in 1979, After the First Death can be seen as a spiritual precursor to his later novel, Heroes- both are concerned with the same themes: devotion to a cause, courage, fear and guilt, the cost of sacrifice. Both books present them in different ways - Heroes approaches them through the eyes of Francis Cassavant, an 18 year old soldier who has just returned home from World War 2, while After the First Death focuses on a group of terroris

After I finished this book I just sat there on the couch for a solid ten minutes not doing anything but thinking. I'm a champion for bleak literature, but I still don't know how to respond to this book. I've never read anything like it. Telling the story of a bus of children taken hostage by terrorists, this book is packed with emotion, but I didn't even know what emotions I was feeling or how to respond to them. Several times I felt punched in the stomach and had to catch my breath. After
Nov 10, 2007 Jessica rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: i'm not totally sure that i would, their parents might kill me
Woah. I know I just said I was going to go do my homework, but that gorilla-girl book got me thinking about some of the most bizarre and disturbing YA fiction I've ever read, and then of course Robert Cormier popped, guns blazing, into my mind.

The Chocolate War books were intense, but this one was the real doozy!

The images in this book were seared permanently into my brain, and whenever I'm prompted to imagine what it might be like to be held hostage by terrorists -- as I increasingly have been,
When Robert Cormier won the Margaret A. Edwards Award for young-adult literature in 1991, an award that generally cites a specific portion of an author's library of works as deserving of commendation, three of his novels were cited: The Chocolate War, I Am the Cheese and After the First Death. But what caused the committee to select these three novels in particular? Why not The Bumblebee Flies Anyway, Beyond the Chocolate War or Fade? Ten years later, would the Margaret A. Edwards committee sti ...more
Allison Morgan
Genre/Category: Required Reading/Cormier

When two guys in an attempted terrorist move hijack a school bus filled with kids, everything goes downhill from there. People are killed, including a few of the young kids, and justice is not served in the end.

Cormier’s writing was powerful; too powerful. I would never want my writing to affect someone as strongly as his writing did to me, especially in such a dark way. It worries me that teenagers, who may have a harder time differentiating truth from f
Cory Hernandez
Holy cow! This book blew my mind! Now I know why Robert Cormier is cherished in the eyes of Young Adult Literature. The book is one that will really make the reader think, which is why I primarily loved the book; it really made me think. The book tells the incredible story of terrorists hijacking a bus of five and six year old children, as well as a young woman who is the bus's driver. The book is told through the eyes of Miro, one of the hijackers, Kate, the bus driver, and Ben, the son of a g ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 17, 2013 Bobbie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: older boys who like action and are not easily offended, and my husband
Shelves: eng-430
The truth is, I'm not sure how I feel about this book. As I was reading it, I turned page after page - drowning in the words and the action. I felt like I was there. My blood pressure skyrocketed; I felt like I was in one of my all-too-vivid nightmares - and yet, I kept reading. At least I didn't pee my pants...

But then it ended. The ending left me reeling, caught in that no-man's-land between hating and loving, unsure how to feel or what to make of the book. Who was the biggest victim? Who was
[Note: Spoilers ahead!]

After the First Death is certainly a grim read, and I'm not sure why that suprised me. I don't know WHY I assumed that a book about terrorists and hostage situations would be happier. It was a powerful read, but it was ultimately too disturbing for me to finish.

In the novel, terrorists from an unnamed country hijack a school bus in order to further the liberation of their homeland. Things get complicated when the bus driver (who was supposed to be killed within minutes of
I thought this book was magnificent. It has a twist at the end that will make you want to turn around and read it again, and when you do you will be mystified by the brilliance of Robert Cormier. I was, at least. As I was reading it, I found the narrative of the general's son to be the most interesting. The story of the high jacked bus with the children was, of course, incredibly suspenseful and unpredictable, and I felt that was well done. The character development was very interesting, especia ...more
Meh. This might be the point where Robert Cormier and I go our separate ways. It's not you Rob, it's me. I was under the impression that you were the writer of gritty and realistic YA like The Chocolate War, which is one of my favourite novels of all time... but after your debut, I guess your true writing colours (ie: your preference in pretentious "experimentel" framing, language, shifts in tense and... the lot) started to show. I tolerated it in I am The Cheese, but I hated it in Fade and here ...more
In a word, amazing. Perhaps even more relevant today than when it was originally written. There's not much I can say about this one - the book speaks for itself.
Jul 30, 2007 Trevor rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers who like to be kept guessing
Shelves: teen-lit-read
Published first in 1979 (one of my prized books is a signed first HC edition), it reads as if it were a hostage crisis unfolding right before us. A school bus full of kids is taken hostage by young men fighting for their country and religion. There's some major Stockholm syndrome, and some very unsettling plot twists revealed as the book progresses. There's a general in charge of anti terrorist activities, who ends up putting his own son in the hostage takers' paths. All the decisions made by th ...more
Hayley Direda

Basically Cormier is a very dark author. He writes a lot of bleak fiction. If you can't handle topics like death and drugs and other "taboo" subjects, I would suggest not reading much of his stuff.

In this particular novel, a young girl and a bus full of small children are hijacked on their return from a summer camp by a group of tourists with a list of demands for their safety. However, when a 5 year old boy is accidentally killed by the drugs they give to the kids, th

After the First Death is about a school bus full of children who are kidnapped and held hostage by terrorists. The interesting thing about this novel is that it alternates perspectives between the terrorist himself and the young female bus driver, as well as the point-of-view of the son of the general. The terrorist is struggling with his own understanding and moral justification of what he's doing with the reality of the situation. The bus driver somehow understands the terror
Category: REQUIRED

It was hard to give this book a rating, because it was really well-written, but it just wasn't my cup of tea. This wasn't a book that I would have ever picked up on my own, mostly because it's too dark and bizarre. This story jumps around to many different perspectives and narrators, which was executed almost flawlessly. The basic gist of what happened is that a small group of terrorists hijack a school bus full of elementary school kids. The kids are drugged with tranquilizer
After the thrill and suspense that was present in the book, I found myself empty with the conclusion I was left with. Cormier successfully allows the reader to become attached to the characters in this novel by switching from various perspectives and intimately describing their personas through their experiences and mentality which deepened the attachment to the characters. As the novel progressed, the situation gradually become more drastic and consequential. The innocent were being threatened, ...more
After the First Death by Robert Cormier is a classic young adult thriller about a youngster who had a rough time growing up. Seventeen year old Miro turns out to be just what he was groomed to be, a terrorist. He believes that he is a freedom fighter for the homeland he has never seen, which has been described by his “gang” as a beautiful place, with birds flying around and orange trees. None of these has he ever seen in America. However this book has more than one main character. Ben the son o ...more
Aurora Dimitre
It's always really hard to rate Cormier, because his writing's beautiful and his characters are interesting and screwed up and you never really know what's going on until the last chapter or epilogue-type-of-death - The Chocolate War books and We All Fall Down being sort-of exceptions - and it's really incomparable to anything except other Cormier books.

So I gave it four stars. Because I've liked others better.

But, uh, props to Cormier because I had absolutely no idea what was going on. It w
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Five words to describe this book: Realistic, different, tense, gripping, unique

This book is about a bus load of young children who get held hostage on an abandoned railroad bridge by a group of four terrorists. The book is mainly told from the perspectives of Ben (a young teenager caught up in the situation), Kate (one of the hostages, and the teenager who was driving the bus) and Miro (a teenager, one of the terrorists). This isn't your typical Die Hard-style pulse-pounding adrenaline-pumping a
Jessica Reid
Cormier was a genius. His writing is absolutely outstanding and never ceases to amaze me. His books are - in many ways - terrifying and so unflinching in their approach to their topics. This novel deals with terrorists who hijack a school bus.

It's been many years since I first read this novel and it still haunts me. Absolutely incredible.
Jul 06, 2014 Sarah rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People in their 20's
I was really surprised by this book. I had to read it as part of my literature studies at university. Although it isn't normally something I would read, I really enjoyed it. It had me wanting to read more, hoping that everyone would come out alive. I loved the intertextuality to Hamlet (my favourite shakespearian play), and the language is very 70's - very rich in detail. 90% of people I know who have read this hated it (a story about a bus full of kids being taken hostage was depressing, I supp ...more
Tommy Bailey
After the First Death is about a hijacking that takes place on a summer camp bus full of children. The main character Kate is driving the bus when it is hijacked by four terrorists, Miro, Artkin, Antibbe and Stroll. The terrorists force Kate to drive the bus to an old, worn-down railroad bridge. All the while Kate and all of the other kids on the bus are wondering what is going on.

I'd recommend this book only to an older audience because it has alot of violence and deals with some sensitive issu
I read this book for my English class and all I have to say is WOW! this book was breathtaking. I have never read a book like this before, I absolutely loved it. The story line really intrigued me when first picking it up. This book was so thought provoking and beautifully written. Robert Cormier the author of the book has the ability to bring up emotions in the readers with his writing and create characters that readers become attached and fond of which I think is phenomenal. This book nearly h ...more
No one seems to write psychological damage--especially in teens--like Cormier. With every novel of his that I read, he always blows me away with his prose, as it's both poetic and makes one hell of a punch. Here's a guy that knows the importance of a single sentence.

With this one in particular, it surprised me even more than expected. And while one of the "twists/surprises" felt a bit forced and unnecessary, the others all caught me off guard in the best possible ways. Quick as it is to read, it
I have to admit that I didn't finish this book, so perhaps the rating is unfair. I stopped at 39%, though, which is a fair shot for a book, I think.

The trouble was that I had no idea why anything was happening. I was introduced to the major characters and the plot began to move, but the motivations and larger reasons for things were kept from me for too long. Cormier didn't give anything up, and I think you've got to give up tidbits here and there to keep your reader interested. Who are the hija
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Drew Nevitt
Jun 05, 2012 Drew Nevitt rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Simpletons.
Shelves: young-adult-lit
I was really expecting more out of this book. From what I'd heard about the author, I expected something that would challenge me philosophically or socially - at least expand my mind. I didn't expect a low level Tom Clancy book. For being an author who's other book "The Chocolate War" is frequently on banned book lists - alright enough about that. The terror plot was something I didn't expect. The teaser description on the back is no more than four lines long, so I couldn't really expect much. T ...more
Ash... =] Barrera =D
Book Summary
Miro is sixteen, and it's time for him to prove his manhood by killing for his cause. Miro has been raised and trained as a terrorist, knowing only his older brother and Artkin, his leader, as family. As part of a gang of terrorists, Miro helps captu ...
Miro is sixteen, and it's time for him to prove his manhood by killing for his cause. Miro has been raised and trained as a terrorist, knowing only his older brother and Artkin, his leader, as family. As part of a gang of terrori
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
What's The Name o...: SOLVED. Bus hijacking of little kids [s] 8 78 Oct 17, 2014 04:46PM  
  • My Mother the Cheerleader
  • Mara's Stories: Glimmers in the Darkness
  • After the Death of Anna Gonzales
  • Chinese Handcuffs
  • Biggles The Camels Are Coming
  • The Otterbury Incident
  • Bilgewater
  • The Nargun and the Stars
  • Across the Barricades (Kevin and Sadie, #2)
  • The Wool-Pack
  • Whispers in the Graveyard
  • By the River
  • Dougy
  • Memorias de una vaca
  • The Adventures of the Ingenious Alfanhui
  • The Return of the Twelves
  • Marianne Dreams (The Magic Drawing Pencil, #1)
  • The Ghost Drum (Ghost World, #1)
Robert Edmund Cormier (January 17, 1925–November 2, 2000) was an American author, columnist and reporter, known for his deeply pessimistic, downbeat literature. His most popular works include I Am the Cheese, After the First Death, We All Fall Down and The Chocolate War, all of which have won awards. The Chocolate War was challenged in multiple libraries. His books often are concerned with themes ...more
More about Robert Cormier...
The Chocolate War (Chocolate War, #1) I Am the Cheese The Rag and Bone Shop Tenderness Fade

Share This Book

“The possibility that hope comes out of hopelessness and that the opposite of things carry the seeds of birth - love out of hate, good out of evil. Didn't flowers grow out of dirt?” 43 likes
More quotes…