NOT AFTER EVERYTHING
by Michelle Levy
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Published by Dial Books
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Tyler has a football scholarship to Stanford, a hot girlfriend, and a reliable army of friends to party with. Then his mom kills herself. And Tyler lets it all go. Now he needs to dodge what his dad is offering (verbal tirades and abuse) and earn what his dad isn’t (money). Tyler finds a job that crashes him into Jordyn, his former childhood friend turned angry-loner goth-girl. She brings Tyler an unexpected reprieve from the never-ending pity party his life has become. How could he not fall for her? But with his dad more brutally unpredictable than ever, Tyler knows he can’t risk bringing Jordyn too deeply into the chaos. So when violence rocks his world again, will it be Jordyn who shows him the way to a hopeful future? Or after everything, will Tyler have to find that future for himself?
I should have been better prepared for the heartache captured within the pages of this book. Not After Everything involves suicide, verbal and physical abuse, and bullying, and even knowing these things prior to starting the book, I still wasn't prepared for all of the emotions I would experience. Once I started reading it, I didn't want to stop because I had to know that Tyler was going to make it out okay.
Not After Everything shows that we all deal with grief in different ways. When you top that off with fear and guilt and shame, you can get a confused, lost, sad, person who acts out like Tyler did. What he experienced was too much to handle on his own and it overwhelmed him. It was overwhelming to read. The scenes with Tyler and his father were the hardest to read. They were unimaginable and devastating, but quite often they are someone's reality. I found myself fighting back tears. Other times, I just let them flow.
Throughout the story, there are people who enter Tyler's life who show him compassion and want to help him. They offer him some hope. Once he begins to be more honest with all that his is experiencing, he becomes vulnerable is able to embrace the generosity and sincere concern.
I loved Jordyn's character. There was such an honesty to her in the way she interacted with Tyler. Knowing his reputation and their shared history, she was guarded in offering him her friendship. She has her own story to tell and we get to know it as she begins to grow closer to Tyler. As they became closer and their friendship started to become more, it's apparent that their love story wasn't going to be simple, but I was enthralled reading every page of it.
From this review, one would think that this is the saddest book that I'd ever read and one might question why would anyone want to pick up such a sad book. To that I would say, I like sad books. I like books that make me feel vulnerable and emotional and overwhelmed. And I would also say that Not After Everything isn't just sad. There is humor and hope, and SO MUCH LOVE that it is also overwhelming. And maybe, just maybe, I couldn't find the correct words to express that here. It's a book that I'm glad to have read and hope it finds its way into the hand of readers just when they need it. It is definitely a recommended read!
Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any way other than the e-ARC provided. Thoughts and opinions are my own.