Book Review - After Ever AFter by Jordan Sonnenblick

Friday April 9, 2010

After Ever After
by Jordan Sonnenblick
February 1, 2010
Scholastic Press
Jeffrey isn't a little boy with cancer anymore. He's a teen who's in remission, but life still feels fragile. The aftereffects 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.

This book is a sequel to Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie where eighth grade Steven tells his story of trying to be a normal teen while dealing with the fact that his four year-old brother Jeffery has leukemia.  

After Every After is in turn narrated by Jeffrey who is now a teen himself and dealing with learning disabilities caused by all the different medications he had to take as a child in order to save his life. He is also trying to escape his identity as "the kid who had cancer" as well as adjusting to the fact that his reliable and every-steady brother Steven has taken off to Africa to "find himself."

Jeffery's best friend Tad is also a fellow cancer survivor who still has to use a wheelchair. When Jeffery finds out he has to pass a state mandated math class in order to move on to high school he is terrified that his learning disabilities will keep him stranded in middle school forever. He turns to Tad for help and together they make a pact...Tad will tutor Jeffery in math and Jeffery, who is an avid bike rider, will get Tad in shape enough to walk across the stage at their eighth grade graduation. 

Through out all of this Jeffery is also falling for the very cute new girl who seems to like him though he can't figure out why. His one wish is that he could talk to Steven so he can figure out how to navigate through his perilous journey of love and middle school (not to mention overbearing parents.) But Steven has cut himself off, no email, no phone, no nothing!

I loved this heartwarming, well written read! I laughed, I cried and I smiled a lot. There are a lot of great characters to love including a hilariously described gym teacher who has the best of intentions but, well...think of your gym teacher :) Lots of humor and sarcasm balanced with the emotional cost of dealing with cancer and people who you think have let you down. 

A marvelous, must-have addition to any middle and high school library! Boys and girls alike will enjoy this one.

Find out more about both books here

Junior Library Guild Advanced Readers (6th-9th) pick for April 2010

Review copy provided by publisher and donated to school library


Michelle said...

I didn't know it was a sequel. I'll have to look into the first book as well. Both sounds like great stories. :)

The Library Lurker said...

I read Drum's, Girls, and Dangerous Pie a while ago and I wasn't very impressed, but this one looks great! I'll have to look for it next time I'm at the library! Great review!

brizmus said...

a sequel to Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie? What a fun name! I've been looking for a good YA read that boys might also enjoy, so maybe I'll check this out.

Jill of The O.W.L. said...

So glad you liked it! I have several students who have read the right now, and it's great that they should like this one too.