"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Albert Einstein

13 July 2016


Mathieu, Jennifer. Afterward. Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, 2016.

Dylan, an 11-year old boy with autism, is kidnapped, but when he is found only days later, it is discovered that the man who kidnapped Dylan had also kidnapped another boy, who has been living with the kidnapper for years less than an hour from his parents' home. Dylan's and Ethan's families are glad to get them back, especially Caroline, Dylan's older sister. Caroline has helped to care for Dylan since he was very young, and now she wants to know how to help him recover from his trauma. Should she reach out to Ethan to find out about Dylan's captivity? Does she really want to know what went on in that house?

This story is told in alternating chapters, with Ethan and Caroline narrating the first year after Dylan and Ethan's rescue. Ethan's family has the means to send him to an exclusive therapist and bring tutors to the house so he can catch up on his schooling; meanwhile, Dylan's family struggles to make ends meet, and Dylan's parents in particular are not handling his capture and return well at all. Caroline does befriend Ethan, much to Ethan's hovering mother's dismay.

As a childhood rape survivor, I can attest to the accuracy of the scenes between Ethan and his therapist, including the difficulty Ethan has with the drive to the therapist's office, the flashbacks, the counting technique, the memories that are just gone because Ethan's brain is not ready to process them yet. I can sympathize with his frustration at his Swiss cheese-like memory.

This book captures the reader's attention and keeps it; it will be very popular with my teen patrons who are always clamoring for "books about kids who deal with really hard stuff," and it would be an easy recommend to abuse survivors because Ethan's reactions are well-portrayed but there aren't many details about what exactly went on during the years he was gone. Recommended.

Recommended for: teens
Red Flags: both Dylan and Ethan are kidnapped; Ethan struggles with flashbacks, which may be triggering to trauma survivors
Overall Rating: 5/5 stars

Read-Alikes: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly, Reality BoyEleanor & Park

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Netgalley for the purposes of review.

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