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review 2017-03-10 02:53
Afterward by Jennifer Mathieu
Afterward - Jennifer Mathieu

This is a really tough book for me to rate and review.  Before I started listening to this audiobook, I had no idea that the story would so closely follow a kidnapping situation that happened in my hometown.  At first, I thought it was a coincidence but the more I listened and the more I realized that the real event had to be the inspiration for this book.  I have no problem with books that are inspired by actual events but I do think it is extremely important that enough of the story be changed that it isn't so easily recognizable especially in situations like this one where minors where involved.

The book doesn't exactly follow the actual events.  But it is really, really close.  The only big differences were the fact that one of the boys in this story has autism and the kidnapper kills himself rather than allow himself to be captured.  The other details of the kidnapping are pretty much spot on.  One of the boys is kidnapped at age 11 and kept for 4 years until he is found when he is 15.  The other boy is kept for 4 days before he was found.  The first boy is kidnapped while riding his bike to a friend's house.  All of these things happened.  I remember seeing the parents of the first boy begging for his safe return for all four of those years.  I remember the absolute shock that I felt when they were found safe.  I couldn't believe that they were here just miles from my house for that entire time period.  The actual rescue took place a little more than 10 years ago when my girls were 12 and 6 and I remember the absolute fear that I felt that something like this could happen so close to home.   I think that this had to be a very traumatic experience for everyone involved and I wonder how having a book like this that tells such a similar story makes them feel.

The bulk of this book does take place after the kidnapping and I doubt that Ethan and Caroline's tale during this time would look anything like the actual victims.  I did like the focus on therapy for Ethan's family and I really wished that Dylan would have had the same opportunities.   I liked the friendship that developed between Ethan and Caroline.  They have both been through a lot and sometimes have trouble relating to other people.  Ethan has a lot of issues that he needs to work through and he really doesn't have any friends.  His mother is extremely overprotective which is understandable considering what they have been through.

I did like the narration a lot.  This was the first time that I have listened to either of these narrators and I thought they both did an excellent job.  I liked that the use of two narrators to tell this story.  I don't think that the book would have had the same impact without the dual points of view.  I would definitely listen to both of these narrators again in the future.

I thought the actual story was well done.  I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I wasn't constantly comparing it to the event it was based upon.  I am probably quite a bit older than the target audience for this book and I think most readers will not be familiar with the kidnapping that inspired this book.  I just wish that the events in this story would have been changed so that it didn't so closely mirror the actual events.

I received a review copy of this book from Recorded Books via LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

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review 2016-08-22 15:31
Afterward
Afterward - Jennifer Mathieu

This novel wasn’t what I expected and I think in the end, it provided for me a deeper perspective on the issues at hand and a comfort that I wasn’t expecting.   I was expecting answers as I read this novel, I wanted to know the gist of the damage that these individuals had to endure living with their kidnapper, I wanted to know their story but this novel wasn’t about reliving their drama, it was about moving forward.   Caroline wanted to know why her autistic brother Dylan had changed since he had returned and she thought only Ethan could provide those answers. He had only been missing a few days but his behavior had changed drastically. Dylan was found with Ethan both boys had been abducted; only Ethan had been missing for four years. Caroline wanted answers but the subject was hard to talk about with Ethan so she tries other ways to connect with him. Struggling with the memories, Ethan is traumatized and it shows in their relationship. I enjoyed the times when the two of them could just forget how they were connected and they could just enjoy themselves together.   Relaxing with each other, enjoying the moment and enjoying each other, they were showing their true colors and just letting go. Both of the boys don’t want to look back and relive the past but the past is a shadow that is following them, haunting them and they need to face it and move forward. I liked the energy in the novel, the grace and delicacy of the subject matter covered, the friendship and how this relationship didn’t build into something it wasn’t meant to be.   4.5 stars

 

This is another great novel by Jennifer Mathieu, the author that gave us both The Truth About Alice and Devoted.  I have enjoyed them all. 

 

I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley and Roaring Book Press in exchange for an honest opinion.

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review 2016-07-17 03:18
The Truth About Alice - Jennifer Mathieu

I'm glad I read this. And I recommend it. But in the long run, I'm not sure it's a book that will stick with me.

 

In my opinion, Kurt's chapters were the best. He spent the most time with Alice, he knew her, and thus his chapters were the most complex and...I don't know, interesting. As for the other characters, I finished unsatisfied with their stories. Elaine kind of turned things around, tried to make amends. Even if it was too little, too late she tried, and I appreciated that. But Kelsie? Josh? They never apologized for their actions. I wanted more from Kelsie. And I wanted more from Josh as well.

 

The main thing I didn't like is that there's so much unresolved! Kelsie's family situation/aftermath of her abortion was unresolved. The romantic feelings Josh had for Brandon (or maybe I've just been reading too much m/m and reading too much into it, lol) were only slightly hinted at. It is mentioned that Elaine and her mother both have some body image issues-what ever became of that? Did Kelsie apologize? Did Josh? The only thing resolved is Alice and Kurt's relationship. Ugh, I want more!!! MORE!!!

 

I would've liked to see things from Alice's perspective. We hear all this stuff about her and we don't even get to see her side of the story. But maybe that's the point? Hmm...

 

Here's the thing though: I hated what happened to Alice. I hated the slut-shaming, the rumors, the bullying. But I didn't feel as strong of an emotional connection as I would've liked.

 

Tl;dr version- it's good and I do recommend it, but I don't have strong feelings about it.

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review 2016-02-27 14:44
Tutta la verità su Alice (eNewton Narrativa) - Jennifer Mathieu

Inizio: 26 febbraio
Finito: 27 febbraio

Voto: 5/5

Consigliato: Si

Ho adorato questo libro *_* è un romanzo che affronta temi molto attuali e riesce non solo ad intrigare il lettore ma anche a farlo riflettere, credo dovrebbe essere una lettura d'obbligo soprattutto per gli adolescenti che spesso si ritrovano nei panni di Alice, stigmatizzati per una colpa che non hanno oppure si ritrovano loro stessi a bullizzare gli altri per i motivi più assurdi e futili, la scelta della Mathieu di farci scoprire non tanto il punto di vista di Alice ma dei suoi presunti "amici" le stesse persone che le puntano il dito contro mi ha colpita, per una volta non è il punto di vista della ragazza bullizzata ma quello dei suoi "carnefici" ragazzi alla fine non per forza cattivi di natura ma soli e spaventati, incapaci di affrontare una situazione più grande di loro. Insomma davvero un bel titolo, per una volta la lunga attesa per la traduzione non è stata vana

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review 2015-08-18 15:16
Devoted
Devoted - Jennifer Mathieu

I was memorized by this book yet I am not sure how much I liked it. I had to think about it. I was drawn in by the premise of how someone can be enticed to some religious sector and not see the big picture. We live close to an Amish community and they see the big picture. They choose to abide by most of the Amish traditions but yet, once in a while you see some of the modern conveniences of life in their community. They accept it. Then you see the TV shows about individuals leaving their religious community and then I wonder how much of that is actually true.

In Devoted, Rachel just doesn’t feel as devoted to her faith as others do and she is begins to wonder why. With daily Bible studies at home, weekly church services and daily prayers, faith is an important part of her family. Scripture recitation becomes automatic and repetitive as they go about their day. James, a member of the congregation, gives a speech in church about his time in the Journey of Faith; his recent fall from grace landed him in this camp. Still an outcast, his dark face and his body language shows exactly what this camp did to him. Then there’s Lauren, a fallen teen member of their church who has recently returned to town. There is talk of Lauren’s previous life but what exactly did transpired? Rachel is curious about Lauren’s new world. The book, the book was the icing on my cake. Rachel obtained the book from her mother; the same mother she knew who would not protect her if asked how she acquired the book. For the book contains sorcery, magic and time travel and her father inquire as to how can she inherit the Kingdom of God when she is involved with these items. Firing back that the author was a Christian, is not what a child of God would do and this answer angers her father. Rachel thinks of all the good contained in the book but knows that she is to honor her parents and the book must be destroyed. I am destroyed for no one is really listening, their ears and minds are closed and they have made up their mind before the conversation even started. The pages are ripped, tossed away; A Wrinkle in Time is no more. Curiosity gets the best of Rachel and she pushes it, a single lie become many and then the lies become easier.   She is in a world by herself, a world with questions and she wants answers now. Rachel was pure, the world outside was waiting but can the two of them exist together?

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