Title: The After Girls
Author: Leah Konen
Genre/Audience: Young adult
Publication: Merit Press, 2013
Summary: Ella, Astrid, and Sydney have been best friends forever, so when Astrid commits suicide, Ella and Sydney don’t know how to react. Ella becomes frantic, desperately searching for answers, and Sydney tries to forget by partying and trying to numb the pain. Soon they discover there may have been a whole other side to Astrid that they never knew about, and they begin to wonder if they ever really knew their friend at all. Things get even stranger when Ella starts seeing Astrid and receiving messages from her phone. Is Ella going crazy or is something strange really happening? Why doesn’t Sydney seem to care? What will happen when secrets are revealed?
My Thoughts: Okay, let me tell you… this book rocked my world! It gave me actual goose bumps and chills on several occasions, and I became obsessed with finding out what in the world was going on. It got to be one of those books that I was reading every possible second I could, even standing up in the back room after work when my day was done and I was waiting for my mom to finish (yes, we work together). I was flying through the pages as fast as I possibly could to get to the end so I could finally uncover all the secrets and discover the truth behind all the creepy happenings (text messages from dead friends, anyone?). Seriously, I was captivated and totally entranced, particularly after Ella starts getting calls and messages from Astrid… yikes!
Underneath all of the incredible suspense and creep factor, which I loved, lies the story of the friendship shared between the girls. I really liked how dynamic and well crafted each character was. Ella was the good girl, Sydney was the cool, bad girl, and Astrid was the mysterious, withdrawn girl. Despite how different they all were, they really fit together. I really loved how defined they all were, and their personalities were very evident. Sydney and Ella were coping very differently with the loss, and at some points it even seemed like their friendship wasn’t going to make it because neither of them truly knew how to deal. A lot of their other relationships were affected by the suicide as well. I really loved how Konen showed all the different ways that people deal with tragedy… everyone has their own way of coping. Ella… wow, at times, I really was scared for her. She was taking drastic measures to try and find out the “why,” and I was just blown away.
I could go on and on, but all that really matters is that I loved this book. I couldn’t race through the story fast enough! I was reading it all the time and when I wasn’t reading it, it was consuming my thoughts. The suspense, the raw emotions, the mystery… it created such a fantastic, dark story that took me by total surprise. I highly recommend this book to all YA fans.
My Rating: 5/5