After Ever After

January 12, 2011 Book Review 8

After Ever After

Author: Jordan Sonnenblick
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: February 2010

About the Book:
Jeffrey isn’t a little boy with cancer anymore. He’s a teen who’s in remission, but life still feels fragile. The after-effects of treatment have left Jeffrey with an inability to be a great student or to walk without limping.

His parents still worry about him. His older brother, Steven, lost it and took off to Africa to be in a drumming circle and “find himself.” Jeffrey has a little soul searching to do, too, which begins with his escalating anger at Steven, an old friend who is keeping something secret, and a girl who is way out of his league but who thinks he’s cute.
My Thoughts:
I decided to talk about this book today for two reasons.
1. It won the Schneider Family Book Award for middle school this week. This award is given for embodying the disability experience. To learn more about the award go here.
2. Jordan Sonnenblick is awesome. Really, really awesome. I so enjoy his books. Drums, Girls, & Dangerous Pie is a must read, as well as Notes from the Midnight Driver. Love, love LOVE them! He’s the kind of author that will have you laughing out loud one minute and your heart breaking the next. WARNING: After Ever After was on my “Top Ten Books That Made Me Cry” list… and I’m not talkin’ just a few little tears!
Okay, on to the review…
If you’ve read this far it will likely come as no surprise that I loved this book. Gah! There are so many reasons why. First, as I said earlier, I LOVED Drums, Girls, & Dangerous Pie. It was so great to revisit the characters a few years down the road. I liked that it wasn’t just a continuation of the previous story but a new story with familiar characters.
Another aspect that I really appreciated was the way it dealt with being a cancer survivor. I feel like there are many books published about being diagnosed/having a loved one diagnosed with a disease/condition and how to deal with that. There are not, as far as I know, as many books that deal with what happens after… “five years down the road” kind of thing. Sonnenblick addresses this. Jeffery doesn’t have cancer anymore but it’s still a big part of his life. It always will be.
Basically I just love the way the story is told. This probably has a lot to do with working in a middle school! Jeffery is an authentic middle school boy. As a narrator he’s funny and insecure, a bit scared and a bit confused, heartwarming and heartbreaking. I can’t recommend these books enough. You can read After Ever After without having read Drums, Girls, & Dangerous Pie but I recommend starting at the beginning. Also check out Notes from the Midnight Driver and Zen and the Art of Faking It.

8 Responses to “After Ever After”

  1. Aleetha

    If I want to take a break from any fantasy book,reading a heartbreaking book is always on my list. Will check this book out.
    Thanks for the review.

  2. lisa :)

    I love Sonnenblick but I hadn’t heard of this one! Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie was such a great book so I’m really excited that there is a sequel! Thanks for the review, I’ll definitely be reading this one!

  3. Susan

    I loved this book, too. I love that it deals with cancer in a way that’s not all death, doom and drama. Thanks for mentioning Sonnenblick’s other book – I had no idea there was another one with the same characters. Yay! I’m going to have to go check it out now …

  4. hmz1505

    Thanks for the comment!

    Susan, Drums, Girls, & Dangerous Pie takes place when Jeffery’s older brother Steven is in eighth grade and Jeffery is diagnosed. Notes from the Midnight Driver takes place in the same town. The main character mentions Steven and Jeffery a couple of times but they aren’t in it much. Great books!

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