After a terrorist attack kills Dani's aunt and unborn cousin, life in Argentina--private school, a boyfriend, a loving family--crumbles quickly. In order to escape a country that is sinking under their feet, Dani and her family move to the United States. It's supposed to be a fresh start, but when you're living in a cramped apartment and going to a high school where all the classes are in another language--and not everyone is friendly--life in America is not all it's cracked up to be. Dani misses he old friends, her life, Before.
But then Dani meets a boy named Jon, who isn't like all the other students. Through him, she becomes friends with Jessica, one of the popular girls, who is harboring secrets of her own. And then there's Brian, the boy who makes Dani's pulse race. in her new life, the one After, Dani learns how to heal and forgive. She finds the courage to say good-bye and allows herself to love and be loved again.
Character Development: 8/10
Overall Enjoyment: 7/10
Total Score: 54/70
Obtained: Free ARC provided by author.
Age Appropriate? PG
Bad Language: Very little if any
Alcohol, Drugs, etc: Some mentions of drinking.
Sexual Content: None.
Disturbing Images/Violence: Graphic images of the 9/11 tragedy and other terrorist attacks. Depression.
If you are going to read this book, do not read the synopsis. Sorry it's there up top where you can't really avoid it, but I went into this read completely uninfluenced, and I think that enriched my experience a great deal. While slightly slow-paced and not flashy or colorful, Life, After, I think, is a very realistic look at the lives of impoverished but normal immigrants to America.
Dani is a typical Argentinian teenager, and her foreign-ness is portrayed perfectly--emphasized just enough to give it meaning but not forced into the story. She is a good, strong character that is outstandingly normal--a trait that many books seem to lack. Her struggles with language, family, identity, friendship, and especially relationship seem to be very real and identifiable. The natural, everyday narrative made it an easy book to read, not requiring too much attention or emotion but staying interesting throughout.
This book was remarkable in its point of view. It was not centered around one single adventure; instead, it was about one girl and her life for a period of time. There was something unique about that, and I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a light but meaningful read.
Sarah Darer Littman