Eileen Granfors's Reviews > Afterwards

Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton
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This arrived yesterday (5-31), and I couldn't resist it. Lupton knows how to reel her readers in from the get go. Amazing!

I loved Lupton's first book, "Sisters." This one, "Afterwards" is more developed, more fulfilling, and touches more family relationships.

Somewhere I read that this book compares to The Lovely Bones, so I knew that there would be a non-living narrator. I didn't expect the complexity of the narration or the huge decisions and complications for every character.

There is a fire at a children's private school. Jennifer is badly burned. Her mother is also hurt. Out of the fire into the hospital, the two, Jen and her mother Grace, have the ability to talk to one another (sort of ESP) and to follow other characters. Everyone wants to find the arsonist. Is it Jen's little brother? the fired teacher? the jealous, replaced secretary?

As the investigation unfolds, we learn more about Jennifer's bid for freedom as a seventeen-year-old in love. She doesn't really care if she goes on to college. She keeps secrets about the stalking that has been escalating in her life. We meet her aunt, a fired-up policewoman, whom Grace has always disliked because of jealousy, and Grace's husband, a no-nonsense man, who keeps his emotions in check and wishes the kids were more disciplined. The various moms and dads of the school and the principal--no one's life is untouched by the investigation and by the tragedy unfolding.

Is there life after death? Is there love in a coma? This delicious novel is not afraid to hazard some guesses about "afterwards."

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