The Beginning of After

The Beginning of After

3.78 (7,866 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

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The Beginning of After is a story of hope and healing from Jennifer Castle, a powerful new voice in teen fiction.

When Laurel's family dies in a horrific car accident, she struggles to put her life back together. She is now connected to David Kaufman, who lives down the block, and who lost his mother in the same crash. Both of their lives change--but not in the ways that they thought...

Castle blends tragedy with romance, teen angst, and wit in The Beginning of After, a bittersweet, powerful debut novel that stands as a testament to how people can survive the unthinkable.
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Hardback | 425 pages
  • 147 x 208 x 38mm | 544g
  • HarperCollins Publishers
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • 0061985791
  • 9780061985799
  • 479,164

Back cover copy

Anyone who's had something truly crappy happen to them will tell you: It's all about Before and After. What I'm talking about here is the ka-pow, shake-you-to-your-core-and-turn-your-bones-to-plastic kind of crappy.

Sixteen-year-old Laurel's world changes instantly when her parents and brother are killed in a terrible car accident. Behind the wheel is the father of her bad-boy neighbor, David Kaufman, whose mother is also killed. In the aftermath of the tragedy, Laurel navigates a new reality in which she and her best friend grow apart, boys may or may not be approaching her out of pity, overpowering memories lurk everywhere, and Mr. Kaufman is comatose but still very much alive. Through it all there is David, who swoops in and out of Laurel's life and to whom she finds herself attracted against her better judgment. She will forever be connected to him by their mutual loss--a connection that will change them both in unexpected ways.

Jennifer Castle's debut novel is a heart-wrenching, surprisingly witty testament to how drastically life can change in the span of a single moment.
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Review quote

"Castle expertly guides the narrative through the various stages of grief, refusing to shrink away from even the most difficult areas, where life and death collide. An honest look at grief that is both achingly real and powerfully hopeful."--Kirkus Reviews
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Rating details

7,866 ratings
3.78 out of 5 stars
5 31% (2,401)
4 30% (2,379)
3 28% (2,219)
2 8% (651)
1 3% (216)

Our customer reviews

Laurel and her neighbour David are connected by the same tragic fate. She lost her parents and brother in a car crash. David lost his mother in the same accident, his father lives and is comatose, but he is the one who caused it. The moment their families are broken apart separates the before from the after. Laurel and David are both very young when they lose their families. Imagine the sadness and loss they are burdened with now. THE BEGINNING OF AFTER is about the person you were in a past life and the person you can become in the future. What does it take for your life to change radically? Jennifer Castle drew a realistic and touching portrait of the different ways to cope with your loss and the different ways of grieving. THE BEGINNING OF AFTER had me crying after only a few pages into the story and I felt just as affected as Laurel learning about her parents' death. Laurel and David are distancing themselves from each other, searching the other's company, grieving, remembering, hurting, learning to love again together. Their love story is a product of their mutual grieving process and can be described as impulsive, intuitive and rather subtle. 4/5 **** THE BEGINNING OF AFTER ââ?¬â?? This pensive portrait of teenagers grieving the death of their own families will take you on a journey through a wide spectrum of emotions. THE BEGINNING OF AFTER is a quiet and raw portrait of grieving and learning to live again. It realistically pictures how one single moment can affect people in many different ways. Jennifer Castle's writing is hopeful and promising and I'll make sure to pick up a copy of her next book, YOU LOOK DIFFERENT IN REAL LIFE, more
by MissPageTurner
"It seemed like the only way to keep breathing was to focus on the here and now, moment by moment, keeping my mind frozen cold to anything else." ~ Laurel I was instantly drawn to this book by the beautiful cover and blurb. I'm glad I chose to read this too, because I loved every page of it, and I kept looking down at the pages, hoping the story could be just a little longer. It was a heartfelt, emotional read that was nothing short of amazing. After a car incident takes the lives of her family, Laurel's life comes crashing down on her. The only survivor from the accident is the driver, who is also the father of her childhood friend David. While she struggles to keep her friends, and keep her grades high, she also helps out at an animal hospital, and takes in a couple of cats. David deals with grief differently, ditching school, and coming and going whenever he likes. I like the romance in this book. It sat quietly in the background, only coming out when it was ready. It wasn't rushed, which made it all the more believable and real. Once I picked up this book, I couldn't stop reading. This could happen to any of us. One minute, we could be laughing and talking with out families, only to have them taken away in the next. This book was about standing back up when life trips you over, and putting the pieces of your life back together again. I smiled; I cried; I grew extremely frustrated with David; I laughed. I absolutely loved this book, and will be looking out for more works by Jennifer more
by Chri G.
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