Sunday, March 29, 2020

The Afterwards by A.F. Harrold - OPTIONAL

The Afterwards by A.F. Harrold, illustrated by Emily Gravett, 197 pages.  Bloomsbury, 2018.  $18.  

Content: Language: G; Mature Content: G; Violence: PG.  



Ember is a middle schooler and her best friend, Ness, is the only friend she feels like really understands her.  One day, Ness dies unexpectantly and Ember can’t accept the loss.  Ember follows a bunch of weird clues that lead her to the underworld, where Ember tries persistently to lure Ness back to the living.  But the rules that govern the underworld must have a balance and Ember keeps ignoring all of the warning signs.  

The Afterwards has a mystic realism feel similar to a Neil Gaiman novel.  I loved Harrold’s book, The Imaginary, but was disappointed in this read.  Ember’s insistence on breaking the rules and ignoring all the warning signs is what perpetuated the plot and it was frustrating to follow.  I enjoyed the illustrations and felt like the use of black and white or color in the pictures added to the world building.  Creative idea but didn’t love Ember and her unbelievable naivete.  

Reviewer, C. Peterson.

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