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What Comes After

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  8,908 ratings  ·  1,270 reviews
After the shocking death of two teenage boys tears apart a community in the Pacific Northwest, a mysterious pregnant girl emerges out of the woods and into the lives of those same boys' families--a moving and hopeful novel about forgiveness and human connection.

In misty, coastal Washington State, Isaac lives alone with his dog, grieving the recent death of his teenage son,
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published April 13th 2021 by Riverhead Books
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Amy Scalera That's the impression I got, but it definitely felt a little bit out there…moreThat's the impression I got, but it definitely felt a little bit out there(less)
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Average rating 3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,908 ratings  ·  1,270 reviews

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Nilufer Ozmekik
Apr 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Oh boy! Another book made me feel like somebody sledgehammered my heart at least dozen times and torn it apart, crushed it with a giant truck’s tires and left it to root at the crime scene!

It might look like over exaggerated definition but I’m truly overwhelmed and I need to wear mask to cover my entire face ( also I need to wear it at home to protect my besties who stop by and husband dearest from screaming! My face is too blotchy, swollen, resembling adult Yoda ( Jon Favreau can choose me to
Michael David
Apr 19, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
April BOTM selection.

A powerful story about loss, grief, hope, and forgiveness.

Isaac is a 50-something year old who lives alone with his dog, Rufus. Next door to him is Lorrie, who lives with her teenaged daughter. They used to be close, and will always be connected by grief after the shocking deaths of their respective sons, Daniel and Jonah...who were best friends.

Evangeline is a pregnant 16-year old. Due to difficult circumstances, she is also homeless. She ends up in Isaac’s yard. One thing
Diane S ☔
May 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
Isaac is alone, his wife has left him, his son tragically dead, his dog his only companion. Alone until a sixteen year old pregnant teenager, Evangeline appears at his door. He is a Quaker, a religion that is used to helping those in need. Through this young girl he will learn things about himself, the death of his son and the strength of his beliefs.

An amazingly mature and well written debut novel. From the beginning we know what happened, what the characters do with this knowledge, how they mo
Forgiveness, resiliency, hope. What does it look like? How do you pick up the pieces after a tragedy? This is an introspective, character-driven story of 3 people reeling from unimaginable losses.

Two families are left devastated following the murder-suicide of their teens, Daniel and Jonah, who were best friends.  Isaac and Lorrie, the parents who are next door neighbors, are now connected forever due to this tragedy. Each has a painful history which complicates the grieving process.

Elyse  Walters
Audiobook...Library overdrive
Read by Mark Deakins, Kristen DiMercurio, and Kirby Heyborne

I became so wrapped up in this story —especially the weary engaging protagonist- Issac, who was grieving the loss of his son Daniel.

JoAnne Tompkins - debut author - [an author to read again] - wrote exactly the type of mystery suspense novel that I most respect, and enjoy. works tremendous in audiobook format. From the first sentence I was hooked - intrigued- fully interested - even excited -
Nov 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"Every mother screws up her children one way or another. It's up to you whether you stay that way."

I don't remember the last book that I had a hard time reading the final pages due to ugly crying. I had no idea when I picked this one up what I was in for - it moved me beyond words, and days later, here I am still thinking about its message.

I don't usually go overboard re-hashing plots, as you can find those everywhere, but as this is an early 2021 release that I hadn't heard much about, I think
Tl;dr: Read. This.

What Comes After is JoAnne Tompkins first novel but it sure doesn't read like it! It's so beautifully written and so thoughtful that I assumed the author had published a lot of books. But no, this is the real deal, a first novel that reads so well that the comparison to Tana French are apt. I was reminded of Helen Dunmore, because the writing is so lovely. I have entire sections highlighted because of the writing and the meaning behind it.

Anyway! What Comes After is about Evang
Apr 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-arcs
Two teenage boys. Both dead but only one to blame. They had been best friends since they were 3 years old, neighbors, even though the two couldn't be more different. How did this happen?

Isaac, a Quaker, is reeling from his son Daniels death. Divorced from his wife he's left with his dog Rufus as his only company.

Just across the way is Lorrie a widow. She too lost her son, Jonah. He killed himself after admitting to killing Daniel.

Then there is Evangeline. She is a pregnant 16 year old girl wh
Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)
How do we reconcile our lives after we have experienced an enormous tragedy? Do things ever go back to normal or do we now live through a "new" normal as we piece together a life, we might feel is not quite worth living?

In this debut book, What Comes After, the author, Joanne Thompkins gives us a view of people coping and using whatever it might be to go on. We meet Evangeline, a teenage girl who has been battered by life, and finds herself in an untenable position. She is caught in a revolving
“What Comes After” by JoAnne Tompkins is a meditation on grief, healing, compassion, and understanding. It’s a novel that made me cry, and few do. Tompkins does a fantastic job writing her characters as complex, needy, insecure, frightened and judgmental all at once. In fact, all the characters are messily human, full of faults and grace.

Isaac begins the story by informing the reader that his teenage son went missing, and then his son’s best friend shot himself and wrote a note stating that he k
Apr 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
5 stars - no question.

This was an extremely powerful book and I'm kind of scratching my head at how brilliant it was. It's a debut no less! With that said, I want to make my book friends know that while I enjoyed this book immensely, it is very dark at times and there are a lot of trigger warnings. (Please feel free to reach out to me if you're concerned and would like to know a little more before you read.)

At first, I thought this was a literary mystery, but now that I've finished I wouldn't co
May 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-audible, fiction
5 BRILLIANT STARS!! I love stories where the style of writing is lyrical and the characters are flawed yet authentic, so this novel was a knockout for me. It reminded me of those by Kent Haurf…and I am downright monotonous about my love for this author and his stories. Likewise, JoAnne Tompkins’ debut novel sympathetically portrays her wounded characters’ anguish, solitude, and their often, difficult paths to forgiveness. I felt so much compassion for Isaac, Lorrie and Evangeline, the conflicted ...more
May 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most unforgettable debuts I’ve read in a long while, an insightful rendering of three wounded souls making their way out of grief and shame and finding a way to forgiveness and redemption.

Tompkins crafts empathetic characters, but doesn’t shy away from their flaws and gives us a raw portrayal of life after tragedy. She also tackles mental health, child abuse/abandonment and bullying, as well as the nature of evil and the meaning of faith, but the subjects are so deftly handled
Apr 19, 2021 rated it liked it
I absolutely love Evangeline's relationship with both Isaac and Lorrie, and it's easily the most character-driven book I've read all year. Characters only second to Rufus the dog, of course.

I wouldn't agree with Goodreads putting "Mystery" as this book's second genre, it definitely came across as more of a coming of age contemporary novel. While there might be a murder at its core, there's more of an emphasis on how people deal with tragedy and how you can overcome it.

My only issue was the cha
May 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
What comes after the death of your child? Although there is a thread of hope and healing running through this melancholy novel, it is at times hard to read. The characters, especially Isaac whose son was murdered, are examined in depth. Tompkins takes her time with each of them - Issac, Evangeline, Jonah, Lorrie, Rufus (yes I'm including the dog) - until we know them well, and care for them. Sometimes this novel felt heavy-handed, but Tompkins is a potent writer and I look forward to more from h ...more
Whitney Erwin
May 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Wow!!! This book was incredible! I cannot believe this was The authors debut novel! It was sooo good! I was hooked from the beginning and had a hard time putting it down. Definitely a 5 star read and my favorite book I’ve read so far this year! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)
3.5 stars

"How lucky I was to be surrounded by those who believed that loving presence and listening hearts saved far more souls than the millions of words written by man in God's name."

That is the best line and the most important message in the entire book. If you could learn just that one lesson from reading it, it would be well worth your time.
Lisa of Troy
Feb 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Here is my one-minute spoiler-free video review:

What Comes After is the debut novel by JoAnne Tompkins set in Washington State. A town is reeling from the loss of two teenage boys involved in a murder suicide. Mysteriously, a pregnant teenage girl emerges from the woods with secrets. Homeless, she finds herself residing with Isaac, one of the fathers of the deceased teenage boys. This is a story of the power of silence and facing hard truths.

This book was on my Top 1
May 23, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a great debut!
What a powerful story!
I loved the author’s writing style and I thought that the storyline was well structured and very well developed.
There is so much grief, so much feeling.
It’s heartbreaking.
It’s believable.
And it’s about being human.
Simply remarkable.
I couldn’t wait to reach its conclusion.
When I heard that there were some animal cruelties involved, I was terrified. I wasn’t sure if I could read this book. But the scenes were more about the circumstances rather than si
Mary Jackson _TheMaryReader
Apr 09, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2021
This was a debut author and the synopsis sounded so good, But it was a slow read for me I had to make myself read it. I was just not sure what was going on from time to time. I will check out this author if she writes another book later on. Maybe it was just the lack of connection with the characters for me.
Annie Caruthers Wood
Apr 27, 2021 rated it it was ok
This may be a controversial opinion since most of Goodreads LOVED What Comes After, but I really did not enjoy this story. I found Isaac to be cold and unrelateable - his reaction to grief and finding a strange girl in his yard were so far off from how I would react, that I struggled with his part of the story. Evangeline was fine, but I didn’t feel overly invested. The chapters from Jonah drove the story forward and filled in the gaps but ultimately did not reveal much that you couldn’t have in ...more
Set in Port Furlong Washington, a small town surrounded by woods and near the shores of Puget Sound, this story begins with Isaac, father of Daniel, sharing the basic facts - a week after Daniel begins his senior year, he doesn’t come home after football practice. By the next morning, when Daniel hadn’t shown up, Isaac calls the police who organize two dozen people to help in searching for Daniel. Seven days pass without a clue. On the eighth day, Daniel’s friend and neighbor Jonah was found dea ...more
Bree Chairez
Apr 07, 2021 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 09, 2021 rated it it was ok
I have developed a weird intolerance for books that feel as if they were engineered for a book club. This is a prime example of Book Club Plot Type One. Grief! Small town on a coast! Unreliable narrators! A troubled teenaged girl with a mysterious connection to two dead boys! (Not that mysterious; what connection would you expect?) Secrets and lies in a small town! This is the first Book Club Plot.

(The second Book Club Plot is a book that alternates between two time periods, one of them being W
Sarah at Sarah's Bookshelves
Jun 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
[4.5 stars]

This highly literary, but also propulsive debut novel begins immediately following the death of 2 teenage boys, which tore apart their Washington State community. In the aftermath, a pregnant teenager (Evangeline) becomes involved with the 2 boys’ families. Tompkins' background encountering trauma as a trial lawyer, judicial officer, and mediator inspired her to write this story exploring anger and grief, but also of growth and forgiveness. There is a suspenseful mystery, but it lies
May 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
"These are the facts. They reveal only that the greatest mysteries lie hidden in what we believe we already know."

Initially I though this was a mystery, and because of this thought it was a bit slow. But after I realized this was literary fiction, I was absolutely mesmerized by this story. The title is perfect as this is an exploration of the thoughts and feelings of loved ones left behind in the aftermath of a terrible tragedy.

I can't remember when last I felt so deeply, and worried so much abo
May 18, 2021 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, botm
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jordonna Grace
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books that seeps into your consciousness, the kind where you think about the characters during the day as if they're people you really know. The story alone is terrific, mysterious and compelling, but what I appreciated even more is the way Tompkins so beautifully uncovers multiple levels of truth -- not merely about the characters and their specific circumstances, but universal truths about being human, about the desire for true connection (whether with God or family, the b ...more
Mary McBride
Jan 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Beautiful writing.
Feb 13, 2021 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this one but it just dragged for me. DNF at 40%. It became a chore to pick up the book
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Book of The Month: What Comes After by JoAnne Tompkins 1 48 Apr 01, 2021 12:59PM  

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JoAnne Tompkins was inspired to become a writer by the human resiliency she observed in her first career as a mediator and judicial officer. She lives in Port Townsend, Washington.

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