Barbara's Reviews > What Comes After

What Comes After by Steve Watkins
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May 16, 12

Read in May, 2012

When fifteen-year-old Iris Wight’s veterinarian dad dies, she first lives with Beatrice, her best friend and softball teammate, and her family. When Beatrice’s parents begin to have marital problems, they tell Iris they can no longer care for her and she must go to live with her Aunt Sue and cousin Book in Craven County, NC. It does not go well from the moment her aunt picks her up at the airport. One bright spot in her new life is caring for the goats that she must milk and then make cheese, which she helps her aunt sell at the farmers market. Iris discovers that North Carolina is a long way from Maine. The book opens with a newspaper article about the arrest of a mother who ordered her son to beat her niece after the niece freed two of the goats. So it begins with a sense of foreboding and that feeling grows as the novel progresses. Watkins describes Aunt Sue so realistically that readers will be afraid of her too. He captures accurately how abuser and the abused act in real life. Beatrice still calls Iris but she talks mostly about herself and her own problems and Iris feels like she has been abandoned and that she does not really know her best friend anymore. The novel takes a hopeful turn when Iris is placed in the foster care of the Tutens, a middle aged couple who keep ferrets, which initially disgusts Iris. There is a sweet love interest with a boy named Littleberry, some pot smoking, and some budding friendships for Iris and the book ends on a too-tidy note but after all Iris has been through it seems only appropriate and deserving.
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