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After Her

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  5,990 ratings  ·  814 reviews
The New York Times bestselling author of Labor Day and The Good Daughters returns with a warm and haunting novel of sisterhood, adolescence, sacrifice, and suspense

"Maynard illuminates the human experience."-People magazine

It's the summer of 1979, and a dry, hot, northern California school vacation stretches ahead for Rachel and her younger sister Patty-the daughters a lar
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published August 20th 2013 by William Morrow (first published 2013)
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2013 Release books to read
413th out of 1,031 books — 2,301 voters
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“Sister” Novels
83rd out of 272 books — 113 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Moira Russell
Yeah, this is terrible. May-not-finish-reading terrible. All the reasons why are summed up pretty well here. I grew up in the eighties, I lived in California, I love true crime stories, and the idea of focusing on the detective's family rather than the killer is great -- but the book is so badly written, it's nearly unreadable. This is when preordering an ebook feels like being a sucker. I should have waited and read the first chapter, and then I wouldn't have wasted my money.

-- And then the end
I hate false advertizing! I've read several reviews of "After Her" which portrayed it as a mystery. It isn't.

On the surface it seems to be about a couple of adolescent girls who decide to help their Police detective father with a series of murders which happen in the girl's backyard. That constitutes about 15% of the book. The rest is a thirteen year old writer obsessing over why she hasn't gotten her period, worming her way into the popular crowd, and not recognizing her parents as total loser
RD Morgan
The father figure in After Her is a cross between Don Draper and Atticus Finch, and if that won't persuade you to read it, then perhaps the fact that the book is the second-best book I've read all year might.*

Few books make me yearn for my childhood, but After Her did just that. I'm purchasing it for the cousins I grew up with, the ones who shared my overactive imagination and who roamed the neighborhoods, woods, and swamps with me. I hope they'll read it with as much nostalgia as I did.

Fans of
I really enjoyed this book and read it in a day. It is the story of a detective's family in Marin County during the hunt for a serial killer who is killing women right on the mountain near the family's home. Rachel the oldest daughter tells the story once she is in her 40s so it is looking back to 1979 when Rachel and her sister, Patty were growing up, playing, enjoying the outdoors and dealing with their mom's depression after their parents' divorce. We meet Rachel as a lively, imaginative 13 y ...more
The most overwhelming thought I had after finishing this book was that it surprised me. It surprised me because based on the blurb ("part thriller, part love story"), I expected an accessible, fairly straightforward thriller, and what I ended up getting was a poignant coming-of-age story with vague murder mystery elements. It surprised me because, through the same logic, I also expected a love story - and yes, this is a love story, but not a conventional one. It's a love story between sisters, b ...more
Read, Run, Ramble
Thank you William Morrow via Edelweiss for providing me an ARC of this book!

I had a little over 100 pages left when 2 things happened. 1. The book expired (one day past publication...ouch) and 2. I gave up on it.

The synopsis of this book sounds great. It is, of course, what led me to request the ARC in the first place. However the book doesn't quite deliver what the synopsis seems to invoke/promise.

With about half of the book read, I'd stumbled across the same information and themes over and o
Read my full review:

My opinion: I have to say that I was incredibly conflicted in my review of this book. I LOVE Joyce Maynard's writing and have read a good chunk of her books. The writing in this story was somewhat "cheesy" and that drove me absolutely nuts. On that note, it is set in the 1970's, which was a really "cheesy" time.

I also didn't feel that the characters nor the storyline were as developed in the other books that I have written by this author. In my humble op
In the summer of 79, two young sisters on the verge of adolescence attempt to deal with their parent's divorce, first love....and a serial killer in their backyard.

This is my first introduction to Maynard, and I will be reading more. She beautifully captured the close relationship of the two sisters and a period where summers were actually a time when children could relax and use their imaginations, rather than the heavily structured days many of them experience now. Yes, it made me very nostal
1979 was a pivotal year for two young sisters, and would come to spotlight how loneliness, love, and the obsession with a murder investigation could turn lives on end.

Detective Anthony Torricelli was in charge of the case involving a serial killer attacking women in Marin County. At the same time, his imaginative daughters, Rachel and Patty, while away their hours on the mountain and the surrounding areas targeted by the killer.

Narrated in Rachel's first person voice, "After Her: A Novel" reveal
It's a thriller; it's a coming-of-age story; it's a thriller -- no it's BOTH! For me, the thriller portion of this story takes a big backseat to the engaging, compelling, and carefully drawn story of young sisters Rachel and Patty. Told in Rachel's honest, appealing voice, this book often reads like a memoir rather than a "detective story". The sisters are creative, spirited, honorable, and wonderfully young and naive. Their love for their dad is the universal" every girl's" love of father; thou ...more
Jessica Woodbury
I get a lot of books to review so I get into this bad habit of starting them without any expectations. I quit a lot of them within a few pages. But if the voice grabs me, I stay. Initially AFTER HER seemed like a thriller with a good voice so I stuck around. It was actually something very different, but I was already seduced into it and couldn't stop.

This is really a coming-of-age novel of sorts, about 13-year-old Rachel whose only real friend is her little sister Patty. Her parents are divorced
Lisa Nocita
Potentially great but ultimately lacked the narrative structure to keep it on the rails. Rambly and repetitive. At first, I didn't mind the nostalgic prose as it meandered in and out the story of the summer of 1979 when a serial killer is terrorizing a young girl's county. It is charming and sweet, capturing the angst and wonder of the age. "Thirteen-year-olds are big and small, thin and fat. Neither. Both. They have the smoothest, most perfect skin, and sometimes, overnight their faces are a me ...more
Kathy James
This book will be published in September and I highly recommend it. It is a coming-of-age story blended with a mystery surrounding a serial killer. The relationship between the two sisters and with their father is memorable. I didn't mind the slow pace of the book for the first 200 pages; indeed the fact that nothing happens is the point. Murders aren't solved; womanhood is not achieved. The pace picks up --almost dizzingly so -- in the last 100 pages.
Ted Lehmann
Joyce Maynard's own story contains interesting enough elements to make a novel of its own. In After Her (William Morrow, 2013, 320 pages, $25.99) she turns this fact along with enough place names that belong in her real story, to weave a gripping story told from the point of view of a thirteen year old girl about a year in which coming of age is challenged by her character's growing awareness of the reality of life, it's challenges, fears, dangers, and value. Rachel and Patty Toricelli grow up i ...more
Jim Bugnone
My wife convinced me to read this book, and I'm glad she did. It was not what I expected. I was transported back to the late '70's with the main characters, Rachael and Patty, who could pass for two of my sisters with their bond, their imagination and their sense of adventure. I appreciate how Joyce Maynard created flawed yet lovable characters who experience longing, loss, failures and redemption. All of this happens inside a creative and unpredictable plot that will keep you guessing until the ...more
Dan Radovich
Maynard brings her talents to this thriller weaving a truely enjoyable read. For the Maynard fan, you have everything you have come to expect from a Joyce Maynard book here: great characters, a well crafted story spanning 30 years, and the believability that Maynard brings every time she creates. Rachel is one of her best characters to date.
This book was extra fun for me because the main character is exactly my age...13 years old in 1979. I know this is not important, but it really made me relate to the story more and revisit one of my least favorite years. (Junior High. Oh, the inhumanity of it all!) Rachel and her sister, Patty, Toricelli, have bigger problems than the Scarlet G For Geek that seemed permanently tattooed on my forehead. There is a serial killer running amok in their San Francisco neighborhood and he is wracking up ...more
Sheryl Sorrentino
It is hard to review this book without giving away spoilers, but I was confused about a few things:

(view spoiler)
Amy Meyer
I just loved this book. It’s heart-warming and heart-breaking. It’s humorous and suspenseful as themes of youth and innocence, love, loss and family relationships course through the pages of this part coming-of-age, part mystery story.

Told in the voice of 13-year old Rachel, After Her is set in Northern California, Marin County just outside San Francisco. Rachel lives with her younger sister, Patty and their mother. Rachel and Patty are on their own most of the time since their mother suffers fr
Kathleen (Kat) Smith
"When I was young, I'd say, that's what I did to make life interesting. My sister and I were always looking for a little drama, and if the world didn't provide some, we'd invent it. We could make up stories so read we believed them ourselves.

And then something really did happen, of course. And all we wished for then was that it never did."

Rachel and Patty Toricelli grow up in Marin County much like any other young child in 1970. When faced with the seemingly endless possibilities of adventure t
I received an advanced copy from Elle magazine for review.

After Her is a beautiful story of two sisters in that both horrifying and amazing time of growing up. The novel is a coming of age story, about the bond between two sisters tested by the older sister's grasp for some fame from fellow classmates due to her detective's father new celebrity in being in charge of a serial killer case. The fact that the killings are happening in the family's backyard only makes the story more compelling. The f
Janet Fiorentino
I finished this book in under three days. I was pulled into the story from the first page--the protagonist's voice was realistically evocative. Two young girls grow up in the seventies, raised by their depressed mother while their father solves crimes in Marin County. While the story focuses on the father searching for and trying to catch the "Sunset Strangler," the real story is about a girl seeing her father as not a hero, but as a man with flaws. It was hard to let these characters go when I ...more
After Her is my favorite book of the summer. It still resonates with me and I finished it days ago. The sisters were unforgettable and the novel quite a page turner. I especially enjoyed the rich and imaginative outdoor world these sisters grew up in - which is so vastly different than the oppressive indoor world so many children grow up in today. I miss these sisters already. Loved the time period of 1979! I highly recommend this book.
Lisa Mcbroom
Sisters Rachel and Patty are terrified during the summer of 1979. A killer is loose amongst the mountains of California. Part coming of age story, part Lovely Bones, part Nancy Drew. Based on true events. The chapters are headed with the song My Sharona. I enjoyed all the 1970's references to this book and the bond between the two sisters is incredible.
This was a great story, beautifully narrated with enough detail and closure to satisfy. I loved the suspense and the elements of sadness that defied "happy ending" and made a richer experience.
No one captures the essence of a 13-year-old girl better than Joyce Maynard. The first book I read by Maynard was The Usual Rules, which focused on 13-year-old Wendy, who after losing her mother on 9/11, tries to hold her family together while coming to terms with the death of her mother and finding her own place in the world. Now in After Her, Maynard, introduces us to another 13-year-old, Rachel Torricelli. The story takes place in the summer of 1979 in Marin County, California. Rachel and her ...more
Kasa Cotugno
With this book, Joyce Maynard has really upped her game. This book is more measured and deliberate than many others.

At the core is the fact-inspired history of a serial killer who stalked lone hikers known as the Trailside Killer. A cute name for a monster. Maynard's is even more ironic, calling him the Sunset Killer. But the true stars of this book are two sisters who live at the base of Mt Tamalpais (known locally as Mount Tam), at a time before Marin was the chic enclave that it has evolved
After Her
Joyce Maynard

My "in a nutshell" summary...

This book is about two sisters growing up in Northern California...their detective father and an unsolved crime.

My thoughts after reading this book...

Rachel and Patty are sisters in a sadly dysfunctional family. Patty is the younger sister who loves sports and dogs. She is badly in need of braces. As a child she doesn't talk for the longest time or rather she only talks to her sister. Rachel is the pretty sister...she's imaginative...thinks s
This novel's first 50/75 pages- that part was delightful for me to read. So much of popular USA culture of 1979 really connected- my two oldest kids the exact ages of these two sisters. Near another big city, and did she nail it. It was a 4, easily, until the mid-point.

And I don't think the writing style was poor at all. In fact it was cadence, flow, clipped perfect as 11 and 13 year olds speak. It fit.

But somewhere in the middle it got so repetitious that it went rather flat. And also a little
In her previous book Labor Day, Joyce Maynard did such a good job portraying ordinary people doing ordinary things in a really pretty bizzarre situation, and I was hoping for another book with that kind of pacing and tension. I was not disappointed!After Heris the story of two little girls, Farrah and Patty, the daughters of a policeman, during a time that encompasses the hunt for a dangerous serial killer. The girls go about daily life- school, first crushes, p
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Coffee Talk: April, 2015 Book of the Month; After Her 17 22 May 05, 2015 09:32AM  
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Joyce Maynard first came to national attention with the publication of her New York Times cover story “An Eighteen-Year-Old Looks Back on Life” in 1973, when she was a freshman at Yale. Since then, she has been a reporter and columnist for The New York Times, a syndicated newspaper columnist whose “Domestic Affairs” column appeared in more than fifty papers nationwide, a regular contributor to NPR ...more
More about Joyce Maynard...
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“I tried to think of what my father would tell me. 'Don't let any boy give you shit.' But he'd never said how we should go about preventing this.” 3 likes
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