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Charlotte survived four long years as a prisoner in the attic of her kidnapper, sustained only by dreams of her loving family. The chance to escape suddenly arrives, and Charlotte fights her way to freedom. But an answered prayer turns into heartbreak. Losing her has torn her family apart. Her parents have divorced: Dad's a glutton for fame, Mom drinks too much, and Charlotte's twin is a zoned-out druggie. Her father wants Charlotte write a book and go on a lecture tour, and her mom wants to keep her safe, a virtual prisoner in her own home. But Charlotte is obsessed with the other girl who was kidnapped, who never got a second chance at life--the girl who nobody but Charlotte believes really existed. Until she can get justice for that girl, even if she has to do it on her own, whatever the danger, Charlotte will never be free.

283 pages, Hardcover

First published November 1, 2016

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About the author

Clara Kensie

12 books312 followers
Winner of the 2015 RITA Award for Best First Book!

Clara Kensie, author of dark fiction for young adults
…don’t forget to breathe…

Clara Kensie grew up near Chicago, reading every book she could find and using her diary to write stories about a girl with psychic powers who solved mysteries. She purposely did not hide her diary, hoping someone would read it and assume she was writing about herself. Since then, she’s swapped her diary for a computer and admits her characters are fictional, but otherwise she hasn’t changed one bit.

Today Clara is an award-winning author of dark fiction for young adults. Her debut, the super-romantic psychic thriller DECEPTION SO series, was named an RT Book Review Editors Pick for Best Books of 2014, and Deception So Book One: DECEPTION SO DEADLY, is the winner of the prestigious 2015 RITA© Award for Best First Book.

The first two books in the DECEPTION SO series, originally released as a six-part serial titled Run to You, are now compiled into full-length novels, DECEPTION SO DEADLY and DECEPTION SO DARK (Snowy Wings Publishing).

Clara’s critically-acclaimed novel AFTERMATH (Simon and Schuster), a dark, ripped-from-the-headlines drama about hope, healing, and triumph over tragedy in the tradition of Room and The Lovely Bones, is on Goodreads’ list of Most Popular Books Published in November 2016, and Young Adult Books Central declared it a Top Ten Book of 2016.

Her most recent book is KILL ME ONCE, KILL ME TWICE, a dual-POV, dual-timeline, dual-romance, dual-mystery/thriller with elements of magical realism.

Clara’s favorite foods are guacamole and cookie dough. But not together. That would be gross.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 140 reviews
Profile Image for Olivia-Savannah.
783 reviews493 followers
November 16, 2016
Please. Please don’t let that happy, almost fantasy looking cover fool you like it fooled me. I completely understand why that cover was used for this book, and even though I read the synopsis, for some reason I thought this book was going to be a happy story. In a way, you can say it is. But in the same way, you can also say it isn’t at all…

This is a serious story about a girl who was kidnapped, held for four years and then escapes by a twist of fate. But when she gets home she realises a lot has changed in four years… and she won’t ever be able to have the life she had back then.

What really surprised me, and maybe impressed me too, was how clean this novel was. It must have been hard to write this novel in such a way, to be handling what could’ve easily become a very sexual topic and keeping it clean. Because in those four years, Charlotte (the main character) was raped and abused day in and day out. Yet, Kensie manages to write about this in a clean manner and really make the reader feel for what has happened to her. I think what most stood out to me about her recovery when it comes to the abuse is the way that Charlotte describes people looking at her. She either says that they manage to see her, or they have the look of pity, or they don’t see her at all. Instead, the see all the nasty things the man who kidnapped her did to her. It’s scary how she can tell when people are truly paying attention to her or seeing something else when they look at her. But it was incredibly clever for the author to be able to transmit the emotions Charlotte or someone who was abused could feel in a clean, but so meaningful, manner.

My heart went out to each and every character in this novel. I felt for Charlotte’s mother, who must have been devastated to lose her daughter and forgot how to function as a mother for the rest of her family because of it. I felt for her father who did everything possible to find her. I felt for her stepmother who was trying to be there for Charlotte when she was someone entirely new to her, who she didn’t know or want to understand at first. I felt for Alexa, Charlotte’s twin sister who lost both parents (in some way) when she lost her sister, and makes sure any kids she sees on the street is being supervised because she is worried they are going to be snatched as well. And of course, Charlotte. They’re all hurting, in their own ways, and the author managed to convey that in the tiny details of their actions, rather than what they said.

This novel was so heartbreaking, but it was also hopeful. I cried several times towards the end because I saw how twisted the story really became. Although this is a character driven story and mostly straightforward, don’t think there can’t be any plot twists. That’s what made me the most impressed with the author. Because there were two plot twists at the end of the novel, and seeing as I wasn’t expecting any, I was completely surprised. But of course, when you read them, it seems like it makes complete sense because the author has left clues throughout the novel. It’s just impossible to put them together until it’s too late and the plot twists have been revealed.

I found it incredibly hard to write this review because for once, I didn’t really know how to relate what I’d felt while reading this book in words. I’ve tried my best. But the best thing that you could do is go and read this novel for yourself. Because it’s not just about those people who have been kidnapped and returned home. It’s about all those children and people who haven’t been found ever again. It’s about all those who have ever been abused or sexually assaulted and are moving on or trying to push through. It’s about so much. This is a novel worth your time.

Gif Summary: [image error]

This review and others can be found on Olivia's Catastrophe: http://olivia-savannah.blogspot.nl/20...
Profile Image for Liza Wiemer.
Author 5 books663 followers
February 10, 2017
This book!!! It's powerful, emotional, gripping, hard-to-put-down with lots of twists and turns you won't predict. AFTERMATH will leave the reader thinking about these characters and the choices they made. How well do you know your community? How well do you know your brother? What would make a "seemingly normal" person kidnap a young girl and hold her prisoner? What happens afterward?

I read this book in a day. Three weeks later, I'm still thinking about this family—how each one found different ways of coping with the kidnapping and everything that came from that. The choices they made, the before and after. Human beings can endure a lot, but this...it's a parent's worst nightmare. Yet through the journey, readers will find hope. It's a lifeline we all need.

Beautifully written, I still have images of the cage, the house, the school, and "home" in my head. Scenes will stay with you and there are moments that will make you gasp and may even bring you to tears. Have some tissues ready, just in case, but whatever you do, don't miss AFTERMATH! It's a must-read.
Profile Image for Sissy Lu {Book Savvy Reviews}.
537 reviews50 followers
August 10, 2016
Charlotte Weatherstone was abducted when she was 12 years old and held captive in Alan Shaw's attic for four years. When he suffers from a stroke a paramedic happens to hear Charlotte, she is discovered and found in a wire cage.

From there it's Charlotte trying to cope with life, realizing that she's free and her Keeper won't hurt her anymore. That while she was gone her family broken in many ways and all the while she's trying to solve the location of a girl that Alan had prior to her, a girl he killed.

It's a heartbreaking story. I am not a huge crier in general and certainly not with books but I teared up and the last portion of the book I had an entire waterworks show. This is a raw story, one that makes you feel for Charlotte and see the devastation around her. How she's trying to be 'normal' and how her family in spite of being broken is also trying to be normal for her.

This book was so raw. One that just sucks you in, I nearly read the entirety of it in one night because I wanted to know how this family worked itself out and I wanted what the end [or rather beginning] held for them.

What a heavy start to my morning by finishing this, but wow... what a gripping and heartwrenching way to start my morning.

Thank you, Clara Kensie for the opportunity to read this!

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Profile Image for PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps .
2,338 reviews227 followers
June 14, 2021
Charlotte is free. After four years of captivity, she's free. No longer living in her kidnapper's attic, she can finally reunite with her parents and sister. She did on discovers her mom's drinking, her dad has a new family and her twin has gone from cheerleader to druggie.

AFTERMATH is the story of Charlotte's return and her family's adjustment. Clara Kensie pulled me into Charlotte's life from the first paragraph. Empathizing with her and Alexa was a given. I liked the protective bond between the girls. Alexa, the sister left behind, was particularly sympathetic. The different ways each parent coped made sense.

Kensie gave Charlotte a strong, vulnerable voice. The writing was so engaging I didn't want AFTERMATH to end.
Profile Image for Briar's Reviews.
1,894 reviews517 followers
September 8, 2019
Aftermath by Clara Kensie is a Young Adult novel following the "aftermath" of a teenage girl's abduction.

This book was a hard read - it's emotional, raw and enraging (at times). Clara Kensie has written one magnificent story in the form of a young adult novel. Honestly, it was written beautifully but the subject matter was so tough, serious and so full of pain.

The plot of the story is as followed: Charlotte was abducted by her "Keeper" about four years ago. Somehow, she gets lucky and gets her escape through some paramedics who found her in the "Keeper's" attic. Suddenly, she's thrown back into society and to a life that has changed. Her parents are divorced, her sister didn't follow their "Dream Book" and her friends have all moved on. Her Mother wants her to go into hiding and never leave the house again while her Father wants her to become an international, superstar ambassador. All the while, Charlotte is trying to grasp how to be normal again once a man destroys your safety and sanity.

This novel is a YA. At first I struggled to figure out if it was, but it only hints and briefly talks about how painful Charlotte's journey was. The R rated comments are very rare, and only said once or twice so the reader gets the point of what happens. I'd say this is on the higher end of YA though, because Charlotte was raped (and some more spoiler-y things happen that are some really tough pieces of content for potential thirteen year olds).

Clara made me really feel for Charlotte the entire time. I watched her journey and felt her pain. Somehow, she made me really connect with this family and understand why she did and said what she did. She made it believable, which can be very tough to do!

While the story is sad, Clara also brings hope into the story. It hides in the back like a shadow, but it's still there. All around, this book is very powerful and a really good story to tell. It started out so rough for me and I wasn't sure if I'd actually like it, but I did! Clara left so many bits and pieces that turned out to be clues to some of the story's bigger plot twists. I didn't see half of them, which is a feat all on it's own. But it's all there for the reader to unwind!

Overall, this book is utterly amazing! I'm impressed by Clara's writing and by this story. It was emotional and gripping, but it is totally worth your time if you find this book. Seriously, it's an amazing story and it's important to hear.

Four out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.
Profile Image for Jen.
1,076 reviews92 followers
September 9, 2016
This story was intense and definitely has a ripped-from-the-headlines feel to it. As a parent, child abduction is my worst nightmare, and there were moments when Charlotte's story was incredibly difficult to read. I cried, my heart breaking not only for what she endured, but the damage it did to her family in her absence.

Charlotte's return home, while joyous, is only the tip of the iceberg. For 4 years the memories of her family, the hopes and dreams she shared with her twin sister, are what kept her going and helped her to survive. Now, everything is changed. Not only is she faced with recovering physically and emotionally, she must also learn to navigate her new family dynamic.

I appreciated how Clara Kensie didn't romanticize Charlotte's homecoming, nor did she get gratuitous with the details of her captivity, instead choosing to focus on the feelings and emotions of the characters. Lex was my favorite! She infused even the toughest moments with humor and love.

This is a story about survival, family, and most importantly, hope.

I look forward to whatever Clara Kensie writes next!

*Thank you to Merit Press for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review*
Profile Image for Holly's Little Book Reviews.
185 reviews21 followers
October 13, 2016
I cannot stop thinking about this book. When I started reading Aftermath, I had NO idea what I was in for. Clara Kensie wrote an addicting read filled with suspense, questions, and intense emotion.

After being kidnapped and abused for four years, Charlotte has been found. This novel is about what comes next... what happened during those four years and how Charlotte, her family, friends, and community have changed. I honestly am not sure I can put into words how much this book made me think and how much I loved reading it. Even though the novel is told from Charlotte's point of view, each character was so well written ... their actions, feelings, struggles, their hopes and fears. There were moments I hated characters and then moments I forgave them. And I'm not sure how she did it, but Clara continually kept me on my toes throughout this entire story. Seriously. Just when I thought nothing else could throw me, my jaw would drop from something new.

I highly recommend this read. Add this one to your must reads list.
*However, I will warn that it should be considered a mature YA read because it does deal with some sensitive topics.
Profile Image for Patty Blount.
Author 14 books755 followers
August 24, 2016
I'm ridiculously proud to have read and provided a cover quote for this stunning new title from 2015 Rita winner, Clara Kensie. Aftermath is a ripped-from-the-headlines story about survival and healing and the power of family. The thing that really stood out for me is that -- despite the situation that Charlotte has endured? This is ultimately, a story of hope. Love, love, love!
Profile Image for Karen • The Book Return.
266 reviews63 followers
November 15, 2016
  Read this review and more on my blog.
The Book Return Blog

'Aftermath' is a young adult novel about Charlotte. She is kidnapped from a football game when she is eleven and is held in her kidnapper's attic for over four years. She survives by imagining that her twin sister, mother, and father are leading a wonderful life without her. She imagines that her twin sister is living everything 'double' for Charlotte.  Her kidnapper has a stroke and falls down falls down the stairs. The EMT's then find Charlotte in a cage in the attic.

When Charlotte is released, she is reunited with her family but soon finds out that they have not been leading the life that Charlotte dreamed.

I really liked the premise of this novel. As the name implies the story focuses less on Charlotte's captivity and more on the damage that it caused Charlotte and her family. I liked how Charlotte's state of mine is explored through her warped thinking and her small habits (such as taking the stuffing out of the stuffed bears everyone gives her).

This story could had been very twisted and disturbing but instead is uplifting and at positive. The pace was very quick and I read almost the whole book in one sitting. The writing style was also  very easy to read. I loved the characters, particularly Charlotte's twin sister Alexia. Her pain hat resulted from Charlotte's ordeal was very real.

This novel also came across as believable and held many similarities to the Jaycee Dugard story for me. 'Aftermath' was very well written and I loved the approach it took. Definitely one of my favorite books of the year and one of my favorite YA books of all time. I feel like a lot of young adult novels are a fun read but not very deep. This novel was just the opposite. It made me appreciate the little things in my life and is something I would recommend for anyone interested in a kidnapping story that is not too graphic. It will definitely make you appreciate the little things in life.




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Profile Image for Amy .
2,755 reviews
November 17, 2016
Brilliant and utterly unexpected.

I fell in love with Clara Kensie's writing a few years ago when she wrote her Run To You Series. So, when I heard that she was writing something new, of course, I had to get my hands on it. And let me tell you, I was not in any way disappointed.

Aftermath is refreshing, unique and so unexpected. Aftermath is well written and utterly captivating. It is a story that is not only intense, but will grip you the entire time. This is a story about survival and what happens next. How do you move on when you've experienced something horrific and terrifying? Is it possible for life to return to normal and if so, what is normal?

Aftermath is raw, captivating and is a story that will take you one incredible journey. It is a story of hope, survival, and healing. That being said, this story does deal with some pretty tough subject matter, and I applaud the author for how real she was with it.

Once I picked up Aftermath, I could not put it down. I was not prepared for what I was reading or for the journey that I was about to go on, but I had to continue. I had to keep going. I had to know what would happen next. As I've said throughout this review, this is not an easy story, but it the end, it will leave you with one very important thing....Hope...

*I was provided an ARC copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review*
Profile Image for Kathy .
3,423 reviews
October 31, 2016
Aftermath by Clara Kensie is an emotional novel of courage, survival and hope.

Four years after she was abducted by a pedophile, sixteen year old Charlotte Weatherstone is finally rescued from her kidnapper and she wants nothing more than to pick up her life where it left off. Her happy homecoming is marred by the discovery that her twin sister Alexa is now a rebellious, defiant and troubled teenager and her parents' once idyllic marriage fell apart due to the strain of her disappearance. Despite her best efforts to convince her family (and herself) that she is fine, Charlotte is often paralyzed by her memories of the torment she endured at the hands of her "Keeper". As her perfect life fails to materialize, Charlotte becomes obsessed with uncovering the identity of the young girl the Keeper kidnapped and murdered before he abducted her. Once she figures out the Keeper's type, she searches the faces of other missing children in hopes of identifying potential victims. Wanting to spare this girl's family the agony of never knowing the truth about their daughter, Charlotte hopes FBI Agent Rick Lindo can help recover the girl's remains. At the same time, navigating her way back into "normal" life is a heartrending journey that is oftentimes quite painful for Charlotte and her family.

Happy thoughts of her family sustained Charlotte during her time in captivity so she is ill-prepared for the discovery that reality in no way resembles her fantasy. Convinced Alexa followed their plans, she is stunned by her twin's appearance and she is utterly shocked by her sister's downward spiral. Charlotte is also devastated to learn the truth about her parents' marriage and she is left reeling by her father's announcement. Her reintegration back into her family is further tested by the media frenzy surrounding her rescue. Charlotte is also troubled by Alexa's stunning accusations and the realization that her mom blames herself for the kidnapping. While she would like nothing more than to put her harrowing experience behind her, Charlotte's memories often come rushing back when she least expects it and she is overwhelmed by feelings of powerlessness.

All of the characters are richly developed and their various reactions to Charlotte's kidnapping are what one would expect a family to feel. Charlotte's mom never gives up hope that her daughter will return home, but she completely shuts down and turns to alcohol to cope with her guilt and unbearable loss. Charlotte's father needs closure to move on and he puts all his energies into running the charitable organization he founded that is dedicated to finding missing children. Alexa eschews the hopes and dreams the girls planned for their future and turned her back on their group of friends. No longer one of the popular crowd, her new friends are on the fringes and she begins experimenting with sex, drugs and alcohol. Despite the torture she endured in captivity, Charlotte remains surprisingly upbeat as she tries to keep the worst of what happened to her from her family and she is laser focused on picking up the pieces of her life. She is an incredibly brave young woman with amazing insight and an inordinate amount of compassion for others.

The story is multi-layered and extremely well-written. Clara Kensie deftly handles delicate and dark subject matter with a great deal of sensitivity and care. There is little doubt about what exactly Charlotte endured at the hands of kidnapper but these topics are lightly broached without many graphic details. The storyline's many layers are slowly peeled back as Charlotte goes through her recovery and just when it appears everything has been revealed, the plot takes yet another stunning turn.

Aftermath by Clara Kensie is a captivating story of healing that is deeply affecting yet surprisingly hopeful as Charlotte and her family attempt to recover from a truly horrific, life-altering experience. The storyline is unique and brings to mind the real life kidnappings of Elizabeth Smart and Jaycee Duggard. It is a hard hitting must read young adult novel that I highly recommend to older teenage and adult readers.
131 reviews83 followers
November 10, 2016
Charlotte was kidnapped and and held by a monster for over 4 years. During that time, she held onto the thought that her family was safe and happy. However, she learns the truth is much more complicated.

It’s hard to rate a book that explores awful content. Can I say the book was wonderful, despite the horrible things that happen within it’s pages? This is something I’ve struggled with before. It’s hard to describe how a miserable story touched me, made me feel and gave me something to think about. This book deeply affected me.

I liked that this book explored some of the realities of trauma. Grief is different for everyone and comes in many variations. Every member of Charlotte’s family grieved in their own way. I liked that the author didn’t make it seem like one way was better than another, despite the fact that some characters grief was more healthy than others. That was up to the reader to decide. Grief is deep and personal and fluid. There is no right or wrong way to go about and the process is painful and damaging. Aftermath really tackles what that might look like.

This book was so difficult to read. It talks about extremely difficult and explicit subject matter. The main character’s struggle through the stages of grief is real and heartbreaking. Know yourself and what you can handle before you choose to read this book. When you read it, be prepared for some tears of your own.
About the Author
clara-kensie Winner of the 2015 RITA Award for Best First Book

Today, Clara is the author of dark fiction for young adults. Her debut, the super-romantic thriller RUN TO YOU BOOK ONE: DECEPTION SO DEADLY is the winner of the prestigious RITA Award for Best First Book.

The RUN TO YOU series was named to several Best Books of 2014 lists, including RT Magazine Editors' Pick. The two-book series was originally published as a six-part serial by Harlequin Teen in 2014 (First Sight, Second Glance, Third Charm, Fourth Shadow, Fifth Touch, and Sixth Sense). By popular demand, the six-part serial is now available as two full-length books: DECEPTION SO DEADLY and DECEPTION SO DARK.

Her next book is AFTERMATH, a dark, ripped-from-the-headlines contemporary about a girl who returns home four years after being kidnapped, only to find her family has fallen apart in her absence. To fix her broken family--and help find the body of her captor's first victim--the girl must first heal herself. AFTERMATH is a story of hope, healing, and triumph over tragedy, perfect for fans of ROOM and THE LOVELY BONES. Available November 15th 2016 from Merit Press.

Clara's favorite foods are guacamole and cookie dough. But not together. That would be gross.

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 This review was originally posted on Emily Reads Everything
Profile Image for Alexis Johnson.
59 reviews
October 19, 2016
Okay, so my official review will be on my blog but as for now I just want to put here how amazing this novel was.
I had cried, laughed a bit, smiled, cried more, wish something had happened, cried a lot more.

This is the best novel I've read all year, tying with The Architects song by A G Howard.
The writing was well, and the characters well-formed.

I can't wait to read more from Clara Kensie and I hope everyone who sees this reads this novel because ... seriously. Best. Book. Ever
Profile Image for Gabriella.
208 reviews39 followers
November 21, 2016
Bottom line, this book is both heartbreaking and hopeful. We need more books like this one because this topic is more real than we sometimes treat it. You can see my full review at Gabriella M Reads.
Profile Image for Kristyn - Reading to Unwind.
252 reviews19 followers
November 11, 2016
This book follows Charlotte who has been kidnapped when she was a young child. Charlotte kept going at her kidnapper's house by thinking of her loving family assuming they were doing great and had moved on without her. When Charlotte is finally found and released she has found out that her family has completely changed from when she was abducted.

First I love Charlotte as a character. The author did an amazing job creating a teenager who has been abducted and found. I felt like the emotions that Charlotte was going through were very well represented by the author. I loved how the author would describe what Charlotte was doing as well as thinking because sometimes you want to put on a front to move forward. Also, I liked how the author handled all the gruesome acts that must have happened to Charlotte, we get to see bits and pieces of what happened to her and it is not overwhelming to read. Charlotte is a very strong character even if she doesn't always see it, the author did a great job showing the strength that Charlotte possess.

I could not believe the twist towards the very end of the book. I did not see that coming at all and it tore out my heart and stomped all over it. I felt so connected with Charlotte at that moment in the book I wasn't sure how she was going to go on with her life. It felt like the entire book was building up to a large event and the book did not disappoint.

The side characters in the book where perfect. I enjoyed reading about Charlotte's twin sister as well as her parents. They each suffered in different ways when Charlotte disappeared and handled the situation differently. The author did a great job showing how each coped with what happened and how guilty they each felt. I loved by the end of the book we get to see 180 degrees in all of these relationships.

Things I didn't love in the book was I felt like the author could have expanded more upon Charlotte's recovery. I felt like the author picked a few major issues to talk about, which probably kept the book shorter, but I felt like she was going through so many emotions I would have love to read more about what was going on Charlotte's brain and how someone can recover from such a trauma.

I would suggest this as a weekend read or a vacation read. I found this book hard to put down. I wanted to know what was going to happen in the end and if Charlotte would be able to succeed in life. This story was so gripping I couldn't put it down. It is a book that you need time to digest and think through.

I received a copy of this book from the Fantastic Flying Book Club for the purpose of providing an honest review. This does not effect my opinion of this book.
Profile Image for Colleen Turner.
437 reviews102 followers
September 27, 2016
Find my full review at http://aliteraryvacation.blogspot.com

This might be one of the most heart-breaking yet touching and hopeful novels I've read in a good long while! From page one the reader is thrown into a crate in a locked attic room with Charlotte and from that moment on you feel every emotion - fright, anxiety, confusion, anger, and, yes, even happiness - with Charlotte and her family as they navigate through this new world created by her kidnapping. I did have to put it down from time to time as the subject matter can be hard to read (let's face it, it is every parent's worst nightmare!) but I always picked it back up and continued as the story is told with such sensitivity and compassion and is an important story to look at in order to be able to approach the subject matter with clarity and empathy.

One of the aspects I appreciated most about Aftermath was just how delicately the story was told. Given the horrid abuse, both psychologically and physically, Charlotte experienced the narrative could have easily become too graphic and salacious, but instead is presented to the reader in the words and views of a young girl who has experienced this abuse, as she might describe it. As I imagine would occur in someone who has experienced such atrocities at such a young age, we get to learn more about the long lasting and far-reaching after effects of the abuse, such as PTSD, guilt, gripping anxieties and even dissociation from herself in order to avoid dealing with what happened to her, then the details of the abuses themselves. I, for one, appreciate the subtlety displayed when discussing the details...you will know exactly what horrors happened to this poor girl without having to read anything too graphic.

Another aspect I really found well done was the mystery surrounding "The One Before", the girl who Charlotte's kidnapper used as a threat to keep her complacent and obedient. I found that adding this mystery and giving Charlotte this goal of finding out what happened to her and making sure the girl's family knew the truth, kept the story from becoming overly heavy with Charlotte's experiences and giving some hope and drive for the character as well as the reader. This aspect really kept the story moving.

Aftermath is by no means an easy read. It digs right into that pit of fear we all have and exposes those nerves we would all rather keep buried. However, I think this is a really important book to read in order to understand and appreciate what someone in Charlotte's situation goes through and feels, and to help us understand the healing process and how to best interact with someone who is dealing with this sort of pain. It's hard to say you "enjoy" a book where the characters go through so much pain, but I am in awe of Clara Kensie's ability to present this story with such tenderness and I'm excited to see what stories she brings to us next.
Profile Image for AK Mama Reads.
453 reviews45 followers
November 11, 2016
“Pleasantview.  Locked in the attic of my keeper’s house there was nothing pleasant about my view.”

Where do I even begin with this startling book?  I tried my best to avoid other reviews and blurbs regarding this book, because I knew when I signed up for it that it would be better to not know too much to start.  That wouldn’t have been a problem, though, as there are so many surprises along the way so I wouldn’t have felt prepared if I had read every review and snippet available before hand.
This is so much more than a book about a girl who survived being kidnapped. This is the story of all the relationships we don’t even realize will be affected when someone is gone, and just how deep our loneliness and despair can go when something traumatic happens.
The entire book is just one punch to the gut after another, though tempered with moments of hopefulness.  You come out on the other side knowing that you need a hug, and wishing that you could give one to some of the characters.  Maybe almost all of them even.
It isn’t an easy read by any stretch of the imagination.  There are triggering topics but the author handled these so gracefully and sensitively and they aren’t graphic or disturbing for most people.  She’s written with a hand that is acutely aware of the depth of human depravity while still imparting the strength of the human spirit.  Kensie is definitely adept in the ways of the thriller and I’m very much looking forward to what she comes up with next.
Recommended for a mature audience/17+

Two more of my favorite quotes:
“Hope is made of air and wishes.  An empty box wrapped in shiny paper.”
“Some stories won’t have a happy ending.”

4.5 stars and my thanks to the publisher for the review opportunity!
729 reviews23 followers
August 26, 2016
Thanks to http://edelweiss.abovethetreeline.com... Author Clara Kensie and her publicist for allowing me to read this ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

I don't rate very many books a 5. But this is one of the very select few that I will. I got approved to read this ARC this morning. I just finished it,15 minutes ago. I feel like I should mention, this will be a trigger book, if you have triggers to things such as rape, molestation, violence, this book may not be for you. I will add, Clara wrote it in the most tasteful way possible.

This book is raw, and full of emotions, whilst reading it, my heart was hurting, I felt a heaviness creeping up inside of thoughts (they will be very hard to shake). I know that sounds like the makings of a terrible book. But this is anything but that.

This book is exactly how I imagine a family would feel if this were to happen to their child. The heart wrenching way this family fell apart, while Charlotte dreamed of her perfect family, and one day reuniting with them. The spot on emotions when Charlotte gets home, and realizes that nothing is at it seems, and sort of feels like a prisoner all over again. The glimpse into "Stockholm Syndrome". And oh my goodness, the gut punching plot twists in this book, are incredible. This book is insane (in a good way) I really have no other way to describe it. This book releases November 1st, 2016. You can pre-order it now, and if you do not want to wait, you can apply for an ARC at the link posted above.

Profile Image for K.M. Robinson.
63 reviews2 followers
November 15, 2016
Oh my goodness, ripped right from the headlines, this story is about as real as it gets. I thankfully have never been personally touched by a tragedy like an abduction, but the fall out from an event like this is very real and Clara Kensie does a fantastic job of portraying how a family reacts to a child being taken. She focuses on Charlotte, the girl abducted and held captive for four years, but never once does she neglect showing us her family and what they've gone through, each family member choosing a different path, leaving them very different people than there were before. I loved everything about it, from Charlotte to her sister and parents, to her childhood friends, bystanders, and the people she comes in contact with. Well done on so many levels. Highly recommend.
Profile Image for A. Musquiz.
Author 1 book16 followers
November 29, 2016
I was sent an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book is a story of recovery. We follow our main character Charlotte who's been held captive for four years by her kidnapper and follow her journey to recovery as she comes home to a family she feels she no longer recognizes. Charlotte was a strong character that was emotionally unstable and scarred from the things she went through over those four years that she was being held prisoner. Charlotte's family is not the one she remembers when she returns home and that causes a lot of emotions to fly for both her and her parents and twin sister. Charlotte was quite a heartbreaking character as we learn more about her experiences and discover how her family fell apart soon after her disappearance. This story is both heartbreaking and inspiring as the characters in this book have to overcome guilt, sorrow, grief, anger, and forgiveness of each other.

The themes of family and recovery are very apparent as the story goes on. The emotional rollercoaster ride that the characters have to go on as the story progresses isn't an easy one by any means. With every chapter of the book, the truth about the things Charlotte went through and the ways her family dealt with her disappearance are heartbreaking, frustrating, and weigh heavy on the characters. It affects their choices, their emotional balance and surrounds them as they struggle to come together and fix the broken bonds between them all. I loved the theme of moving forward in life when it seems like nothing is going right and that it isn't easy at first. I think this is a very important topic in books and I loved that this book highlighted it many times.

This book isn't a light read, in fact it's quite heavy, heavier than I anticipated. I found myself having to put the book down every few pages in order to catch my breathe and remind myself there's still some good in the world. This book was literally taking my breath away as I read it and I totally recommend it if you love a good and realistic story about overcoming your worst nightmares. I would not recommend it to younger readers since this book does deal with rape and abuse so if you're uncomfortable with reading about those topics, probably wait until you're ready. I would say this is for fans of such books as THE LOVELY BONES or STOLEN.

The reason I didn't give this book a five-star rating, however, is because I felt the ending was a little rushed and could've used a couple more chapters to wrap the story up a little better.
Profile Image for Carrie Ardoin.
590 reviews31 followers
November 12, 2016
There are always, and have been recently, stories of those who have been abducted getting rescued. We watch with rapt attention as we are shown the details of who took them, how long they were kept, and the deplorable conditions in which they were forced to live. But how often do we think about what becomes of their lives when they try to get them back to normal?

Aftermath is the story of 16 year old Charlotte Weatherstone, whose 4 year ordeal ended when she was rescued from a cage in an attic. Her family, which was the only thing that let her allow a glimmer of hope while she was imprisoned, has fallen apart in several ways. Her twin sister is not the girl she imagined she would be. And though Charlotte is free from her captor, she still feels his hands around her neck all too often.

The story gripped me instantly, opening with Charlotte's rescue, and though this terrible part of her life is over, there's much left to experience. I felt her raw fear as she had flashback after flashback. I was heartbroken along with her when she learned about what was going on with her parents and sister. I grieved when she finally broke down and told the stories about what exactly had happened to her while she was being held. This was in some ways, a very cathartic book.

There were some moments that seemed trite to me, such as Charlotte's twin sister Alexa deciding she wanted her new last name to be Enola (yes, the backwards spelling of ALONE). This may be because I am an older reader and this book is targeted to young adults. But for the most part, I could relate to Charlotte and the fantastic characterization allowed me to feel close to her. I would recommend this book without hesitation.
Profile Image for Amy.
1,939 reviews1,899 followers
January 12, 2017
All of my reviews can be found on www.novelgossip.com

This was such a compelling read and it broke my heart more than once, but then Kenzie slowly pieced it back together again. Why do I love when an author does this to me?!

Charlotte was abducted when she was eleven and now it’s four years later and she is free. But is she really free now? Yes, the daily horrors she endured have finally come to a stop, but her nightmare is far from over. Everything changed while she was imprisoned and her entire family is not what she expected whatsoever. They went through their own version of hell while Charlotte was missing, but can they learn to come back together and start a new chapter in their lives?

This was such an unbelievably sad story, as a parent it really gutted me. I found that I could relate to every single one of them on some level. Charlotte’s mom turned to alcohol, which can you blame her? I sure didn’t, it makes me physically ill to imagine her pain. Can you fathom the horrors she must have pictured her daughter experiencing? Her dad went in the other direction and put all of his time and effort into searching for her. Alexa is her twin sister and she just went completely off the rails turning to sex and drugs to mask her pain. Their family was completely shattered the day Charlotte went missing and it was awful but also totally believable. I wanted to protect and hug each and every one of them.

This is a dark YA novel, there is no tidy happy ever after here, but it’s real and raw. I loved the emotional journey this book took me on and and there were some shocking turns that I was not expecting at all. Even though the topic was really difficult Kensie wrote this in a very respectful manner and raised awareness about an unfortunately realistic subject.
Profile Image for Becky Price.
664 reviews42 followers
May 11, 2017
I absolutely loved this book. It was so deep and dark, and truly felt real. Everything that takes place in this book could take place in real life and that is what I loved about it. I also loved that every time you got comfortable with the storyline, a new shocking event would pop up to completely throw you off. I kept finding myself saying, "What!", "Oh my god!", and "No!" outloud throughout the entire book. This book had me hooked! I didn't really know if the subject of abduction survivors would really speak to me, but this is the second book I have read on the subject and I think I have found a whole new world to explore. You have GOT to get this book in your hands and read it. It is seriously AMAZING! One of my favorite books of the year for sure!
Profile Image for Mimi.
26 reviews
November 11, 2016
Great book! Well thought out. Well written. Full of emotional ups and downs.
Profile Image for Kristy.
1,068 reviews147 followers
November 1, 2016
As a young teen, Charlotte was kidnapped, and spent over four horrible years as a prisoner of her kidnapper, locked in his attic. The only thing that kept Charlotte going through the violence was the thoughts of her family: her mom, dad, and twin sister, Alexa. She imagined Alexa fulfilling all the fantasies the girls wrote down in their dream book. Then, one day, Charlotte manages to escape. She's suddenly "free," but the life she returns to as a sixteen-year-old is nothing like she imagined. Her parents have split, her mother is an alcoholic, her father is using her disappearance for fame, and her sister has completely changed. Charlotte, meanwhile, is struggling with the return to normalcy and finds herself obsessed with the girl kidnapped before herself: a girl her keeper tortured her with to behave, using her death as a way to keep Charlotte in life. Will Charlotte ever be able to move on until she knows what happened to the girl before her?

This was an interesting and rather original novel. Where often you get a story leading up to a kidnapping, or a mystery trying to solve who kidnapped someone, in Kensie's tale, Charlotte's actual confinement takes up little of the story. She learns who her kidnapper is pretty quickly (he never revealed his name to her). Instead, the novel truly does focus on the aftermath of her kidnapping: how will Charlotte recover from this horrible trauma. And, indeed, how will her family recover as well? The novel hooks you very quickly, and I found myself then wondering how Kensie would sustain such an odd plot without the push of a kidnapping or whodunnit (although there is Charlotte's desire to find the girl before her, but we only have her word that she existed). But the novel is very nuanced and has a psychological depth to it. Initially, I was wary that Charlotte wasn't going to exhibit a lot of signs of a young girl who spent four years trapped and abused; she seemed to jump easily from twelve to sixteen. But as Kensie peels away the layers, we do see how much Charlotte is suffering, and how hard it is for her to adjust to life outside of the attic.

While the tale focuses on Charlotte, we also get to see how her disappearance affected her family, as well, which is an interesting technique, as many kidnapping stories don't always involve the family. The dynamic between Charlotte and her twin, for instance, is a complex one, and well-portrayed. Kensie also throws in several surprises along the way, plot-wise: in a novel where you wouldn't think there would be much to hide. These devices don't seem contrived, however, but fit in nicely with the flow of the story.

Overall, this was a nice change of pace from a typical kidnapping novel and well-written. I still think some of Charlotte's adjustment was a little too easy overall, but it didn't detract from my overall enjoyment of the novel. A strong 3.5 stars.

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and Edelweiss (thank you!) in return for an unbiased review; it is available everywhere as of 11/1/2016.
Profile Image for Sarah-Jayne Briggs.
Author 1 book46 followers
November 13, 2016
(I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review).

(This review may contain spoilers).

I thought the blurb of this book was a really intriguing one. As I read the book, it was very clear how well the title fit and I liked how it wasn't just about the aftermath of Charlotte having been kidnapped, but also how her family was affected.

I was able to empathise with Charlotte really early on, but I felt I didn't really get to know the other characters as well, since I was only seeing them through her eyes. I thought it was good that, although what she went through was made clear, there wasn't any graphic detail about it... and it was more about the effects of what had happened still lingering. While it was hard to read at some points, it was good that there were things Charlotte had to do... or couldn't do... even though I did feel that some of her growth was glossed over.

It was a bit disappointing that The One Before wasn't shown to be as much of a mystery as the blurb had suggested. I didn't feel like a lot of the book dwelled on that part of the plot and although it was good to see how the trauma had linked Charlotte with the other two girls, I was a little disappointed by how little I saw her interacting with the people she knew before... or anyone, really, outside of her family. The only person she seemed to have any kind of interaction with outside of her family was Bailey.

I did think it was interesting to see how Charlotte related to CiGi, but I felt that the book was a bit too short for Charlotte to get to the point she had by the end. It was intensely difficult to learn more about what she'd gone through, though, and I really wanted to be able to comfort her. The book did succeed in making me feel a whole mix of different emotions.

I thought it was good to see how other people Charlotte didn't know were affected by what had happened to her and I really liked being able to see her relationship with Lexa.

I did like reading this book and I found it easy to engage with Charlotte and care about her. I would definitely read more books by this author in the future.
August 10, 2016
Aftermath Review -
Release Date - November 15, 2016
Clara Kensie

I received this ARC for free in exchange for an honest review. Aftermath is a young adult novel, but the subject matter is dark and recognizable in today's society, calling to mind Elizabeth Smart and Jaycee Lee Dugard.

Charlotte's story starts out with her being held captive in an attic. She's been a powerless victim of kidnapping and torture for four years, after being abducted at 11 years old. After unforseen circumstances she's discovered and reunited with her family. But Charlotte isn't going home to the same family she was stolen from all those years ago. In the wake of her disappearance, her family has fallen apart. Her parents have divorced and her twin sister Alexa, now Lex, is a troubled teen, drinking and smoking her pain away.

Most of the story deals with Charlotte trying to live a happy life. She's missed so much of her youth, she's determined to catch up to Alexa and her old friends. Kensie has shown us that it's not the end of a victims story upon going home. It's not just a happy ending yet. Charlotte must handle her physical and emotional issues before delving back into teenage life. Complicating matters, she knows she wasn't the first victim and is determined to help find the first girl.

I was so enthralled with Aftermath, I read it in two days. I couldn't put it down because I had to know what happened next. The characters and their relationships are believable and delicately layered after their difficult ordeal. I loved seeing Charlotte regain her strength and realizing she's not a powerless victim any longer.

Kensie does an excellent job of keeping the story moving and providing plot twists to keep it fresh and exciting. Sometimes less is more and I appreciate the author dealt with such a dark and troubled subject matter in a respectful manner. We know what Charlotte went through but we're spared the horrifying details. What we're left with is the hope Charlotte can and will have her happy ending.
October 8, 2017
We often might think that when a child is found and returned to her or his family that all will go back to normal, to the way things use to be. However, that is oftentimes not the case as the family tries to switch from the loss to the dealing with what has happened to the missing child as well as to the family. Family dynamics change even under the best of circumstances and when a child in that family goes missing everything changes.

Charlotte has been gone for four years abducted at age eleven from a school play area during a game. She is held captive by a man who taunts, rapes, and beats her as he warns her repeatedly that he has killed another girl because she would not obey him. He threatens Charlotte that if she doesn't comply with him, he will do away with her as well and then take her twin sister, Alexa.

Aftermath deals with what sometimes comes after a child is found after years of being missing. It deals with what happens to a family while mourning the loss of that child. It deals with the disintegration of the family that was once whole, together, and loved.

When Charlotte comes home, all that she once knew and so lived for is gone. Her parents have divorced, her sister is a delinquent, and her mother is an alcoholic. How can she fix all this plus try to fix herself?

This is a sad tale of what abduction does not only to the victim but to the family as a whole. It points to the fact that when you are missing a piece of a family the family never is whole and quite literally falls apart.
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