Afterward by Jennifer Mathieu
Release date: September 20, 2016
An e-galley was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for review consideration.
Summary: When Caroline's little brother is kidnapped, his subsequent rescue leads to the discovery of Ethan, a teenager who has been living with the kidnapper since he was a young child himself. In the aftermath, Caroline can't help but wonder what Ethan knows about everything that happened to her brother, who is not readjusting well to life at home. And although Ethan is desperate for a friend, he can't see Caroline without experiencing a resurgence of traumatic memories. But after the media circus surrounding the kidnappings departs from their small Texas town, both Caroline and Ethan find that they need a friend--and their best option just might be each other.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: After loving Jennifer Mathieu's sophomore novel, I had high hopes for Afterward. Unfortunately, these hopes were not met.
I spent most of the book pissed off at Caroline and her parents, and I didn't connect with Ethan, so I didn't enjoy his chapters either. The character relationships were tremulously built. Mathieu wrote Rachel and Lauren's friendship so well in Devoted that I expected more from the developing friendship between Caroline and Ethan. I wasn't impressed by any of the narration or plot. The ending came about so quickly, and it didn't feel complete. I felt like so much of the plot was unresolved and like none of it really mattered.
I appreciated what Mathieu tried to do with the grayness of kidnappings. I liked Ethan's therapist; he was probably the best character out of the handful that held importance to the narrative.
There was a lot of foul language, and drug use and underage drinking were treated very casually.
The Verdict: Honestly, this is probably a book you should leave off your TBR list.
Will I be adding this book to my library?: No.