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 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 her old friends, her life, Before.Review:
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 a secret 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 goodbye and allows herself to love and be loved again.
There's not an excellent enough word out there to describe just how amazing, touching, and beautifully written this novel is or how it pulls on your heart strings one second, having you close to tears, but at the next moment has you smiling with a slight giggle escaping from your mouth, your tears drying instantly like they weren't even there one second ago. Life, After is a book that touches on the important but sad parts of life- tragedies, terrorism, and coping; they are all there within the pages along with the happiest parts of life- love, friendship, strength, and hope.
Life, After is a novel told from the viewpoint of Dani, an Argentina teenager dealing with the after affects of The Crisis- a crisis that has left her dad jobless and desperate, her mother working constantly, trying to keep her family alive, and her friends, herself, and boyfriend defenseless against the grim future ahead of them. But soon enough comes a chance, a chance to start over in brand new country, and opportunities that will give them hope, even if it's definitely not an easy task in the long-run.
To me, Dani is an immensely strong teenager. One that not only serves as a role model because of the way she acts, but someone who I'm sure most readers could relate to, because who hasn't had a bad year because of a tragic event? Or maybe has started in a new country or place were they didn't no anyone? Or felt so broken to the point were they doubted they could never be fixed again? Or feel in love with a boy who made them smile in the best or worst of times? Or-well, you get the picture. I couldn't help but relate and root for Dani in the tragic and good parts of her life. I also adored reading about her blossoming romance with Brian and her friendship with Jessica, Jon, and Gaby; four people any girl would be lucky to have.
One of my favorite parts of this novel was the fact that Sarah had Argentina serve as the setting for part of it because I learned a great deal from Dani's experiences there, but I have to admit I would have loved to have had just a little more information and development into The Crisis there. Also, another favorite and interesting part was seeing Dani begin her new life in America. To someone like me who's so well adjusted in America because of the fact I've lived here my whole life, I sometimes forget how hard it is for immigrants to come and start over here. But Sarah showed a light into this, one that has made me greatly appreciate those immigrants who have worked so hard to get well-adjusted to their life here.
In all, Life, After is a book I highly suggest you pick on your next trip to the book store, because I pinkie-promise you, you won't regret it for one second after beginning this wonderful story of falling down and learning how to bloom and grow again. Lastly, this review wouldn't be complete if I didn't share my favorite line of the book, which I feel perfectly sums up the themes and purpose of this novel:
"Because with joy, we overcome the terror. With love, strength, and hope we prevail." (page 278)
Life, After is now out!
Source: Publisher. Thanks Scholastic!