Monday, October 12, 2009

After by Amy Efaw

Devon is on trial for the worst of crimes: attempted murder of her newborn baby. No one expected it - not even her. That's right; she didn't know she was pregnant. As she faces trial and a life behind bars, Devon slowly recalls fragments of the last nine months and, through the help of a determined lawyer, understands why she did what she did.

This is a heavy topic, no doubt about it. The concept of abandoning a child is heinous to us, but the first person POV helps to explain how sincere Devon's claim is. She is expected to be perfect in every way, and getting pregnant doesn't even make a blip on that list.

The majority of the plot takes place in jail. It's fascinating to see the juvenile system, as well as all the psychological stuff she has to go through. We only see the trial that decides which court she will be tried in - juvenile or adult - but that in itself is extensive and emotional.

After is amazing. Devon is the type of character who you form emotional attachments to because she feels so real. This isn't just another teen pregnancy novel - it's a story about self-discovery.

A note on the cover: The illustration is deceivingly simplistic, but it represents Devon's situation. There's the self she thinks she knows, and the self that she's been hiding from, that's being thrown into her face now. (incidentally, I didn't notice that her reflection was pregnant until after I finished reading. The eye sees what it expects...)

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