Author: Elisa Dane
Published: February 2016
Publisher: Swoon Romance
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+
Thank you SO MUCH to Elisa for sending me this copy for review! This debut novel did not disappoint at all! There were definitely a couple moments where I just didn't get why things were brought up, but overall WOW!
Okay so right off the bat, you go into a dark moment that happens for Sadie. You get the idea that she has had a past that she is trying to forget completely, yet every time she feels she's getting better, a vision or flashback brings her back to the day she can't get out of her head. Side-note, that dedication page...Amazing!! Most people know that I don't always read the dedication page, although I have been more intrigued to them now than before. As soon as I read it, I knew that this was going to be a wild ride of a novel!
So let me get a little bit out of the way right now. I totally get the aspect of having this game at Lexington Parish, but overall, I just didn't really find it to be fitting too well. Don't get me wrong, I love the aspect of having games like this part of a novel, to add more interest, but I just found that it didn't 100% click. I knew that the game would turn real, before I got to the middle of the book. I was mostly just waiting, and although I knew it was... I was still just as shocked!
I am definitely not a fan of violence of any kind. So bringing out this novel that deals with all sorts of violence and abuse, was so powerful. You get the feeling that everyone is suffering, and you never know. I loved how Elisa was able to showcase so many different types of abuse and suffering within the novel, without having to go into different point's of view (POV).
From the beginning all the way until the end, I was rooting for Sadie. Her past always coming back to haunt her, I could tell she was struggling. I felt her pain, her sorrow, and the way she so desperately didn't want to be part of the clique she was with since she moved into town. Since the start, you could tell that she couldn't get past it...until of course she literally crashed into Hayden one night.
From there, you really see her begin to grow, and evolve as a person. You see her pushing through her insecurities and PTSD into someone who isn't afraid anymore. I did feel like they had more of an instant love/ instant attraction to one another, and although it's generally cliché for that to happen, I seriously LOVED IT!! Hayden is honestly amazing for Sadie. Her bodyguard. Her blanket. Her protector. Her everything. Not to mention the fact that he's totally hot... #Bookboyfriend
Also can we just mention the fact that things got REAL STEAMY there?! Just flip me over and call me done! That was something else, but WOW! Well done! Good thing I read this at home instead of out in public...
Moving on, I want to talk about Sadie and her father. From the beginning, you don't really get to see much of him. He is more talked about rather that talking to. Since he is in the position that he is, you understand that it's hard for him to be more involved. The relationship is totally strained from the past, and I found it hard to not yell and just say "Talk to each other YOU FOOLS!" Clearly dad has some of his own demons after dealing with the loss of his wife. You can tell he's trying, but sometimes I wanted more between them!
Now I don't usually use the term "Hate" but it's coming in handy when I am talking about Britt. That girl is fearless and ruthless. The entire time I was thinking Mean Girls, but a thousand times worse. Britt is someone who wants it all, and will throw a fit if she doesn't get it. She knows that she is top dog, and everyone is too afraid to stand up to her, because she just seems to have horseshoes shoved up where the sun don't shine...
I seriously could not stand her! The way she so easily made people feel worthless, and then when it came to the end, where she questioned whether she was truly a bad person...Like HELLO YES YOU ARE!!
Okay, so there were some pretty amazing quotes throughout the novel that really captured the book. I know I say this all the time, but it's true!
"So you've been through the fire. You've been beaten down. Changed...Steel is forged the same way. It's burned and beaten...until it's made stronger."
"I wouldn't call it living. I wouldn't call it living at all.More like surviving. And I was tired of it... I wanted more. I wanted to be more. And I was pretty sure, having Hayden in my life would allow me to do just that."
There were some parts where I could tell that there would be more clarification in the second book (Which I want SO BAD right now!) because that ending...That ending was something else!
I need to quickly talk about Sadie and Hayden. Although their love was instant, the amount of it was undeniable. The way that Hayden was somehow always around, and always there to protect Sadie as if he had no issues of his own, really showed that he will always be there! For anyone who has read this book, can I just say that those moments where Sadie is screaming a lot...the scenes with Hayden...you know what I'm talking about...yeah that totally had me going like this...
I've had cliffhangers. I've had novels end fully, and I still wanted more. But this ending...This ending seriously ended on the highest part of a novel. I thought I had another 15 pages of the novel, and I was so shocked to find it end where it did. That caught me so off guard, I had to sit on my bed holding my tablet, wondering where the rest was... *GAHH!!*
Overall I really Loved this novel. It was so raw and powerful. It pulled on the heartstrings and left you wanting so much more! Literally had all the feels and it never dulled down! Although I am not a huge fan of violence for anyone (especially with our world lately) I do have to say that the way it was written was amazing! I would recommend this to anyone and everyone, and I really cannot wait for book two! Elisa made this novel on a roller coaster ride, and it was just SO GOOD!
And that is all for my review of In The After Bookworms! I really hope you enjoyed it, and I am seriously urging you to grab a copy in time for book 2's release!!
So until the next time, Keep Reading!!
Your Graduated Bookworm!! :)