by Elisa Dane
Series: Fighting Chance #1
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Publication Date: February 2nd 2016 by Swoon Romance
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IN THE AFTER by Elisa Dane is a hard-hitting and heart-warming story of tragedy, love, loss, and redemption. It depicts a school shooting.
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 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. 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.
Sadie does some soul searching about who she is and who she wants to be. She can’t live her life like this. She’s determined to no longer allow the AE to rule her life. Determined and invigorated, Sadie goes to school feeling hopeful for the first time in forever.
But, the unthinkable happens.
Shooters attack dozens of students leaving the school a decimated shadow of what it once was.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
In the After is a story that tells a very powerful and brutally true message of bullying and what it can lead its victim to do.
Sadie is part of the Atwood Elite, teens from the school who are the most popular, and the deadliest. If you cross them, you can kiss your future college and job goodbye. They are the meanest bullies you will ever encounter, except for Sadie and Jenna. They are what I would call the second-hand bullies since they stand by while the AE do their terrorizing. Sadie wants nothing more than to leave the AE. If she does she will be a target so she stays and watches the cruelty. What she fears is that the AE will find out that she has PTSD due to a very traumatic event in her life.
Hayden is attracted to Sadie. Once he sees how she stands by while Dane beats his cousin, he’s completely disgusted by her. Hayden is kind of the reason why Sadie wants to officially be done with the AE. The AE has gone too far, though. Someone who has been tormented for a long time decides to get revenge and shoot everyone they can find at the school.
I’ve read a lot of books where there are bullies but I’ve never read about bullies being this cruel. I was so disgusted by it, knowing that there are a lot of the AE people in real life. Britt and Dane were the worst of them all. I can’t even begin to describe how evil these two were when it came to bullying. I just wanted all of them to get a lesson, but the lesson they got cost them a lot.
Regina George looked like a soft, huggable bunny next to the sheer evilness that was Britt Kennedy.
I have to say I didn’t like Sadie. I understand that the AE would terrorize her even more than the other kids at the school, but she literally would stand by and watch everything unfold, at least for the first part of the book. Afterwards, you could tell she was fed up and wanted an out. Jenna was another who stood by, but she saw first-hand what would happen if you were part of the AE and then turned your back on them. Her brother was part of the AE when he was in high school. When he fell for someone who wasn’t in the AE, he got kicked out and tormented until the end. Jenna wants to be safe from that and to keep her secret hidden so she stays.
I’d never personally attacked anyone, but my silence made me as big of a bully as the rest of the Atwood Elite.
I felt like the story was beating around the bush a lot. It’s a lot of Sadie saying she wants to leave the AE, and her relationship with Hayden. When I read the description, it gave the impression that the story would include more of the shooting but it ended up happening after the 86% mark. This last part of the story felt so real, even though it was rather quick. When reading about the shooting through Sadie’s eyes—how terrified she was for herself, her best friend and Hayden—I was over here stressing out and wanting someone to come and save them.
Can we talk about that long description? I actually shortened it for the blog, but if you go to Goodreads, the description is even longer! I feel like it could have been better if it never mentioned the shooting. I went in the book knowing what would happen. There was no element of surprise. These types of books should be made to go in blind and really feel all the emotions it would provide. Despite all this, I’m looking forward to the sequel and find out how the story will continue.
Overall, a good story on bullying and the lengths the victims could end up going to put an end to it.
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