C.G. Drews's Reviews > Afterward

Afterward by Jennifer Mathieu
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really liked it
bookshelves: contemporary, disability, autism, mental-illness, read-2017, young-adult

This was actually extremely slow but also INTENSE AND BRUTAL. I kind of feel like a sad ball right now. It's about the after of being a kidnapping victim so like...mate. This is NOT a light snack. But it's not graphic or anything and it felt really true to teen voices and I just??? I really really liked it but I was expecting something a little different. I JUST HAVE SUCH GREAT FEELINGS OF SAD RIGHT NOW.

Also: what is with the red balloon. There is no red balloon in this book. There is not IT in the sewer. Your life is a lie.

+ I really liked that it delved into a lot of psychological aspects of trauma and recovery.
So there's lots of explorings of how the mind works and it made the book seem EXTREMELY REAL. Which is A+ writing I might add. So we get like the barest few flashbacks of the time Ethan spent kidnapped. I get that. To keep it non-graphic. But at the same time, I do wish we'd known more??

+ Because the actual storyline was...wow, not a lot happened.
Like they literally have therapy sessions, work in a froyo place, play music in the garage and...WOW THAT'S ABOUT IT. Hence I think more flashbacks would've kept the tension super high. Otherwise the story kind of was s l o w. Although, mate, I was flipping pages like no tomorrow because there is SUCH a dark grey undertone of dread since we don't know what happened or why it happened.

+ It's dual narrated by Ethan (kidnapping victim) and Caroline (older sister of another kidnapping victim).
I loved them both. Caroline's so complex and like kind of the "bad girl" because her home life is pits, but she is also sweet and caring??? And I love the "bad ones with heart sof golds" IT'S THE BEST TROPE. DON'T FIGHT @ ME. Ethan is the most sad tragic cinnamon and I ached for him. He's so freaking traumatised (like obviously?!??) and his character development is amazing, but painful. He's been kidnapped for 4 years and escaped now. And Caroline's little brother, Dylan, was kidnapped for like a week and then both boys were found together. But Ethan's been tortured for way longer and I just...yeah. My soul cried.

+ Soooo Caroline's little brother, Ethan is autistic and I....have...thoughts.
It was a GOOD rep of ASD (autism spectrum disorders) don't get me wrong, but I'm really frustrated that everyone, even Caroline who loved Dylan unconditionally, referred to him as "there's something wrong with him." Make the badies do that. Obviously. Make the uneducated do that. Obviously. It's not unrealistic for people to think like that. But make at least one person in a book know and understand and care that ASD is different and not broken. Dylan was nonverbal and the kidnapping traumatised him so much. He also BARELY features in the story which I was disappointed about. Also I saw at the end the author links to autismspeaks as a "resource" so rightio then, that's why no one corrected the "Dylan is broken" thing. So disappointing there. (fyi autismspeaks is more about curing than accepting.)

Did I want to stop reading? How about never. It's like almost a "quiet" book but the undertone of sick dread is so well done.

+ I also loved Ethan and Caroline's friendship!
(It's friendshipppp not romance.) These two tho. I rooted for them to smash the barriers and stay friends.

ALL IN ALL? Good book was GOOD, but a little sloooow. It was heartwarming and heartbreaking which is great because sometimes I can't find my own pulse so this was helpful for locating it. I loved how thoroughly it delved into the psychological aspects of being under severe trauma and the characters were just ALL SO SO PRECIOUS. And now I need to go sit down with my feelings.
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Reading Progress

September 12, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
September 12, 2016 – Shelved
September 23, 2017 – Started Reading
September 23, 2017 –
page 63
20.45% "thoughts so far:

- i'm so stressed
- stressily stressed"
September 23, 2017 –
page 221
71.75% "wow this book is kind of heavy 😭😭"
September 24, 2017 – Shelved as: contemporary
September 24, 2017 – Shelved as: disability
September 24, 2017 – Shelved as: autism
September 24, 2017 – Shelved as: mental-illness
September 24, 2017 – Shelved as: read-2017
September 24, 2017 – Shelved as: young-adult
September 24, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-15 of 15 (15 new)

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message 1: by Cláudia (new) - added it

Cláudia Can't wait to read your thoughts on this!

message 2: by Elle (new)

Elle (ellexamines) Oh yikes, autism speaks :/

C.G. Drews @Cláudia: Thanks!

@Elise: I know right? 0_0 They're so harmful.

message 4: by Elle (new)

Elle (ellexamines) Cait (Paper Fury) wrote: "@Elise: I know right? 0_0 They're so harmful."

my cousin is autistic and she was just ranting about them @ me last week and holy crap, I'm so angry?

C.G. Drews @Elise: and tons of people DO NOT KNOW what they're lik. They just think it's a "great autism program" and I'm just backing away super fast and being so mad.

message 6: by Elle (new)

Elle (ellexamines) Cait (Paper Fury) wrote: "@Elise: and tons of people DO NOT KNOW what they're lik. They just think it's a "great autism program" and I'm just backing away super fast and being so mad."

exactly!! so many people think of them as The organization, not because they actually do things, but because they're popular. it's terrible.

message 7: by Lizzie (new) - added it

Lizzie Huxley-Jones Great to know about the Autism Speaks bit. I try and review every ASD fiction I can and tbf you can spot when someone doesn't know ASD or worse only knows through a lens of AS. Barf. I'll read it though.

message 8: by Maberan (new) - added it

Maberan Potato @Cait But, isn't it true that when someone is on the spectrum, there is something wrong with them? That doesn't mean they are wrong for having something wrong with them, just that their brain is different from the norm. I'm genuinely asking and unfamilliar with autism so please don't hate me ;-;

C.G. Drews @Lizzie: It's hard because I actually thought it was a really good rep of ASD and the boy, Dylan, was portrayed really lovingly! It's just that not once did anyone actually accept him as a person and not as a broken kid and that's what hurts. I don't think the author meant to be offensive, but like you said...you can tell when people don't know ASD. *sigh*

message 10: by C.G. (new) - rated it 4 stars

C.G. Drews @Maberan: I'm going to be honest...your comment is pretty ablesit. I understand it's a genuine question and you don't know, so I highly encourage you to (a) google and research! and (b) read books about autistic people, preferably from autistic authors. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being autistic. You need support and help (more so than a neurotypical) to be able to cope with a society that is often too overwhelmingly stimulating for your heightened senses. But like you said: autism means your brain is different. Different has never equalled wrong. Ever. So no. There's nothing wrong with someone who's brain works differently, because who gets to say whose brain works "normally"?

Anyway, definitely don't "hate" you, don't worry. Just highly encourage you to research/read! I recommend Queens of Geek which is by an autistic author, and also Are You Seeing Me? and Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate: A User Guide to an Asperger Life!! Hope you have a good day. :D

message 11: by Charlie (new)

Charlie I don't think I could read this, after my reading experience with Stolen A Letter to My Captor *heart cracks at the memory*
Great review, and really, all your reviews in general!

message 12: by Maberan (new) - added it

Maberan Potato @Cait Wow, that was fast! Thank you for the books! I'll look at those right away. Honestly, I think that everyone has something "different" and that no one is perfectly "normal". We just need to be open and try to understand each other! :D

message 13: by C.G. (new) - rated it 4 stars

C.G. Drews @Charlie: That one was SO brutal. ;_;

@Maberan: Absolutely! I'm glad you agree. What is normal anyway?!? ;)

message 14: by Saimon (new)

Saimon (ZanyAnomaly) OHMYGOD CAIT, I Laughed out loud to the red balloon line xD bwaahahahaha

message 15: by Dawn (new)

Dawn I just read “The Girl He Used to Know” by Tracey Garvis Graves. Now there was someone who loved someone “as they were”...

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