Saturday, June 26, 2010

After, by Kristin Harmel

After her father dies in a car accident (how have I managed to end up with this whole series of books about teens grieving over death?) Lacey has thrown herself into taking care of her remaining family (her distant mother, disconnected little brother, and substance-abusing older brother). Having those responsibilities keeps her together. When a girl at her school loses her mother to cancer, Lacey gets an even more ambitious idea to form a club for kids with deceased parents. The idea takes off and brings her closer to a new boy who's suffered from losses of his own.

While a little bit preachy (Harmel wants to introduce readers to the real-life Kate's Club for children who have lost parents), this novel is overall entertaining and interesting to read. It's not great literature but Harmel has a good sense for the nature of the suffering that the kids are going through and realistically portrays their frustrations. I like books that show me a new world and this one does a nice job of doing that.

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