An infant left in the trash to die. A teenage mother who never knew she was pregnant . . .
Before That Morning, these were the words most often used to describe straight-A student and star soccer player Devon Davenport: responsible, hardworking, mature. But all that changes when the police find Devon home sick from school as they investigate the case of an abandoned baby. Soon the connection is made—Devon has just given birth; the baby in the trash is hers. After That Morning, there’s only one way to define Devon: attempted murderer.
And yet gifted author Amy Efaw does the impossible— she turns Devon into an empathetic character, a girl who was in such deep denial that she refused to believe she was pregnant. Through airtight writing and fast-paced, gripping storytelling, Ms. Efaw takes the reader on Devon’s unforgettable journey toward clarity, acceptance, and redemption.
After seeing After in a publishing catalog back in December, I just knew I had to read it!
The "dumpster baby" phenomenon, which is the book's main focus, was both interesting and scary real. Before starting this book, I hadn't really heard or read many news stories about this topic. So, I was intrigued to see how a case like this would go through the courts and the reasons behind the mother's choice to leave her own child in a dumpster.
Devon was a character that I did come to like and understand her reasoning behind her choice, even if it did take me most of the book. I liked how Amy portrayed in her in way where she didn't glamorize her situation and make it go away, but instead made you see what the consequences from Devon's "dumpster baby" through her own eyes. Also, one thing that really got to me, was how Devon was the ordinary girl on a fast track to greatness, because she was an amazing soccer player, had lots of friends, and fantastic grades. Though, when she finds out she's with child, she flips and denies to herself that she is, leaving her to make the choice she did. What I'm trying to say with this, is that could happen to any of us out there. We could be what people think is "perfect" and still manage to screw it up with one bad choice. It just amazed me.
The writing was also fabulous. I give Amy major props for how much research she probably did to give us this a story that tells nothing but the truth in what would happened in this kind of situation. I loved seeing the whole court room scenes and the ones between Dom and Devon because I felt like I was right there with them, witnessing the whole thing.
Though, the one thing that kind of ticked me off about this book was the ending. Even though it did conclude the main problem the characters face in the book, it lead so many others to still be swirling around in my head.
Overall, After is startling real book told in a way that's honest and raw. I can't suggest this book enough to teens and adults all around. I truly look forward to reading more by Ms. Efaw!
After will be released tomorrow, August 11, 2009.
* Much thanks to Amy and JL for working together to get this book to me! :)
Also, here's an awesome book trailer Penguin Young Readers' division created for this book and a link to the website they thought up to along with it: