The Last Review of 2016 (well, drafted in 2016): Afterward by Jennifer Mathieu

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

Source: GoodReads

There are a few YA books and NA books that deal with post kidnapping experiences.  And I have to say I’m interested in reading about the aftermath.   This one seemed to  have the unique perspective of two narrators.  The thing is, that it didn’t totally work.  One of the narratives was much more stronger than the other and the book dealt with boat loads of cliches.

I’ll talk what I liked, Ethan’s POV.  The character did seem realistic given his experience and I thought for the most part his narrative flowed well.  I was interested in reading his story, which made Caroline’s POV harder and harder to read.

By all accounts, Caroline’s POV should’ve been just as interesting, but instead it was depressing and a bit unrealistic.  I found it hard to believe that her autistic brother who was kidnapped and all likely sexually abused would not get any counseling whatsoever.  It just seemed more than ridiculous to me, especially given all of her brother’s needs.

There were also parts of the book that I really thought made no sense to include.  Like the possibility of romance between Caroline and Ethan, it seemed suddenly and really didn’t work.  Also, there really is no resolution to that part of the storyline, though there is an indication of what is going to happen.

And it just disturbs me because the romantic chemistry between these two is zip.  Those scenes with them together made me feel uncomfortable.  I think in part because I sort of hated Caroline.

Yeah, I get girl was going through a lot but God she was one MC I wanted to punch in the face.  It’s not like she has her moments, and arguably you could state that she is acting realistically for someone in her position.  But at the same time I wanted to shake her.  She just comes off as sort of mean.  And yeah, I get it things aren’t going  her way but the way she approaches Ethan at first really seemed intrusive to me.  And despite the fact that there is a reason for it-i.e. finding what happened to her brother-I really didn’t see that motivation throughout the book.

The book wasn’t exactly free of cliche moments.    The shrink character was a bit of one and well..the whole story to a degree was a cliche.  But there are only so many ways you can go with a kidnapping story.

Still, I liked the book even though I thought the whole Caroline story was underdeveloped and unresolved.

Overall Rating: A B- and that is my final book that I reviewed during 2016-whew.



2 thoughts on “The Last Review of 2016 (well, drafted in 2016): Afterward by Jennifer Mathieu

    • I remember really liking Devoted too. I always meant to check out her Alice book but somehow I’ve never picked it up for some reason. The topics she always picks to write about are fascinating.

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