Title: In the After
Author: Elisa Dane
Series: Fighting Chance, book 1
Genre: Contemporary, Coming-of-Age, Romance, [Young-Adult]
Heat Rating: Slightly warm
Trigger Warning: Bullying
Page Count and Format: 208 pages, Ebook
Published: February 2nd 2016 by Swoon Romance
Source: I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Sadie Reynolds is a liar with secrets. At school, she’s part of the popular crowd known as AE, despite being broken inside. She hides it well. She has to. The slightest bit of imperfection will land her in the same shoes as her Geeky neighbor named Ian.
Ian and his only friend are the object of Sadie’s friends’ ridicule, ire, and entertainment. The AE rule the school with intimidation and retribution against anyone who would dare question their supremacy.
Sadie steers clear of most of it, terrified someone will find out her secret. She isn’t the least bit perfect. In fact, she suffers from PTSD stemming from the murder of her mother right before her eyes when she was a child. She can barely cope from day-to-day, hiding her truth and trying to fit in. But she knows it’s only a matter of time.
Hayden is a “Waverly,” a kid with the misfortune of living in the small farming town of Waverly that borders the very affluent Lexington Parrish. The AE doesn’t mix with “Waverlies.” Ever.
Desperate to get away from her oppressive friends, Sadie crashes into Hayden at a bonfire and the attraction that sparks between them is nothing short of electric. But Hayden’s an outsider and when things heat up, Sadie will be forced to choose between her friends and her new boyfriend.
Only Queen Bee Britt isn’t having it. She will not allow Sadie to cross her. Sadie can either do what Britt wants her to do or she will reveal Sadie for the PTSD freak that she is.
Sadie does some soul searching about who she is and who she wants to be. She can’t live her life like this. Not any more. One fateful night will help her see how much things have to change.
She’s determined to no longer allow the AE to rule her life. She will be strong, stand up for Ian and love who she wants in Hayden. Determined and invigorated, Sadie goes to school feeling hopeful for the first time in forever.
But, the unthinkable happens.
Shooters attack dozens of students before the two eventually take their own lives, leaving the school a decimated shadow of what it once was.
Suddenly who lives where, wears what or loves whom seems like the least of Lexington Parish’s problems as everyone and everything changes forever in the after.
IN THE AFTER by Elisa Dane is a hard-hitting and heart-warming story of tragedy, love, loss and redemption. It is recommended for readers 14+.
This book was not at all was I was expecting it to be but in the end I ended up falling in love with it. This was definitely an emotional ride.
Sadie belongs to the Elites or AE crowd and she knows better than not to cross Britt, the Queen Bee otherwise she’ll end up with the same fate as her neighbour Ian and his only friend Newton. But when Sadie crashes with Hayden at a bonfire, the chemistry between them is undeniable but Hayden is not ready to be her secret. Sadie finally decides to stand up to her so-called-friends but the unthinkable happens as shooters attack the school. Will she able to survive the attack? Even if she does, will her life ever be the same?
In the After deals heavily with bullying. The AE basically rules the school and Britt is their Queen Bee. Her father, is the judge and the wealthiest family in town, so no one dares to cross her. Sadie is a part of the AE, she sees the injustice in front of her eyes everyday as the AE bullies everyone and treats them like trash. She wants to protest but she doesn’t want to endure Britt’s wrath. I felt so angry at how the AE treated everyone, even the school administration turned a blind eye on the bullying because of Britt’s father’s power. It was simply unbelievable how everybody cowered in front of Britt. That is why anti-bullying policy or rule is so freaking important. The shooting incident was horrifying, I could guess which character was going to spiral out of control and it felt so damn bad but I definitely agreed with Sadie’s point of view that nobody deserved to be mindlessly killed like that.
I liked Sadie’s character. Although she didn’t do much in the beginning to stand up to the bullying but she tried her best when she understood the depth of the situation. What she did was wrong but I could understand where she was coming from, her PTSD took quite a toll on her and Britt was a total monster, she crushed everyone and Sadie didn’t want her secret of PTSD to be revealed in front of the whole school. I absolutely loved Hayden, he played such a positive influence in Sadie’s life, I don’t think she could have got the strength to stand up if not for Hayden. I loved the romance between them!
Overall, In the After was a good read. The plot and the characters kept me intrigued and the writing painted a vivid picture. The pace was even throughout the book. I loved Hayden and Sadie together and the bullying was handled realistically.
Published by Poulami Ghosh