'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 14 January 2019

Review: The Afterwards

The Afterwards is a powerful middle fiction novel. 

A story about family, friendship and death, it is an emotional and thought provoking  journey.

The Afterwards is about December and her best friend Happiness. 

There is a terrible accident and Happiness dies, but December discovers there’s a place the dead gather before moving on to wherever they go. 

December finds Happiness in this strange, grey place and is determined to bring her home. 

But there are rules that must be followed in the grey place and a mean lady called Mrs Todd who enforces them. 

To save Happiness, December will need to make big sacrifices. She must face fears, battle opponents and be braver than she’s ever had to be before. 

But the alternative is something December doesn’t want to face. A world without her best friend is an unbearable reality, and December is determined to do whatever it takes to save her.

The Afterwards is a fast paced and heartstring pulling read. It’s a thoughtful story that will make readers think about how they would deal with the loss of a loved one, but the subject matter has been dealt with carefully — and with children in mind — so the story isn’t too confronting. 

Beautiful illustrations by the talented Emily Gravett break up the text, and the book has been beautifully designed, with interesting chapter headings and different and varied typesetting that captures attention and gives the book a special flair. 

The Afterwards is a beautiful story that tackles a serious issue in a gentle and kid-friendly way. It would be a great story for adults to share with kids so the content can be discussed together, but it’s also a great story for kids to read alone and think about independently. 

It's a story that stays with you, challenges you and makes you feel. The three essential ingredients to a really great novel.

And for another great read by A F Harrold, check out The Song From Somewhere Else.

Title: The Afterwards
Author:  A F Harrold
Illustrator: Emily Gravett
Publisher: Bloomsbury, $24.99
Publication Date: 1 November 2018
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781408894316
For ages: 9+
Type: Middle Fiction