10 May 2012

Afterwards, by Rosamund Lupton

A terrible fire consumes a private school and two people are hurt. Grace, and her seventeen-year-old daughter Jenny, suffer extreme injuries and are in the hospital, both in deep comas. The results of the fire leave a family broken, waiting to see if Grace and Jenny will survive, and Adam, Grace's eight-year-old son, is blamed for starting the fire.

Grace and Jenny hover in an in-between state. They are outside of their bodies and can communicate with each other, move around the hospital and follow others, completely unseen. They firmly believe Adam didn't cause the fire, and they investigate to find who did. Since Jenny can't remember events right before the fire, it's up to Grace to do the legwork, and unbeknownst to Sara, her sister-in-law who is also a police officer, Grace follows her throughout the investigation to exonerate her son. All the while, Grace keeps watch over her husband and children and feels the strong love which, when it comes to family, will never die.

Guys, I'm really sorry. I tried but I found this extremely difficult to enjoy. While the mystery was intriguing, Rosamund Lupton employs the second person point-of-view, which means that the primary character, Grace, is communicating in a "you" format. The "you" she is referencing is her husband, and while there were several tender moments that clearly expressed Grace's strong foundation of devotion to her husband and children, it just became tough to read the book with "you" instead of "he" in every moment with her husband. I unexpectedly realized that around page 250, I had started to skim to get a better idea of what was happening, and skipping over each "you" as much as I possibly could.

While I found it tough, I applaud the author for her creative attempt and I know that others will (and have) enjoyed this book so far. I do feel the opportunity to have the primary characters conduct the investigation through their out-of-body experience was really interesting, but at the end of the day, it didn't work for me. I even started to think that it might be more engaging if Grace's sister, Sara, the police officer, was the central character. Which means that it certainly would have been more difficult to insert the supernatural element into it, and ultimately would have destroyed the ambition to do something extremely unique, so I then ask myself, what the heck do I know? I'm no expert, but the second person POV just became so difficult to be comfortable with, that I started daydreaming and wondering what it would have been like if other characters led the perspective in first person.

As I mentioned earlier, the mystery itself is very interesting, and I definitely was surprised when certain twists popped up. I do wish it was a little shorter, but I think that feeling is only because the POV was challenging.

The bottom line is this: I'm no ultimate authority, and I am definitely in the minority with my thoughts. Anyone can jump onto Goodreads and other sites which reflect many more positive reviews than negative ones. I am certain something is wrong with me, so I encourage you to take a look at what other reviewers thought before making a final decision to read or not to read it. And, yes, I'm still going to read Sister.

Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Release Date: April 24, 2012
Pages: 400

The publisher is kind enough to give one copy to a lucky winner (U.S. entries). Leave a comment with your email address. Entries accepted through Sunday, May 13, 2012.

About the Author
Rosamund Lupton is the best-selling author of Sister. She lives in London with her husband and two sons.

Visit the author:

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for inviting me to participate. The full list of reviews on this tour can be found here.


  1. I am not a fan of creative points of views! I couldn't stand the book with the plural first person. But I still want to read Sister also! Thanks for your thoughts!

  2. I've seen mixed reviews for this book so you're not alone. I appreciate your honest review.

  3. I have both Sister and this on my shelf. Thanks for the honesty.

  4. I've read a few not so favorable reviews on this one, but I do still plan to try this one.

  5. I am in the middle of this and am having trouble too. =( I missed my initial review date because I was so busy, but I think a part of it was I started to really slow down in the book because it's not moving fast and because that whole "you" thing!

  6. I have seen a lot of tepid reviews for this one, so I am not excited about it and think I am going to skip it. It does sound like the POV was a real problem for some people, and I can imagine that it would have been a problem for me too. I am sorry this one wasn't as good as you had been hoping it would be, but I do appreciate your honest review.

  7. I haven't read anything by this author before but it definitely sounds unlike anything else I have read. I would love to give it a try!

  8. Oy! I struggle with the second person POV a loooottt! I'm an English teacher after all, and I'm always trying to break my students of it. There was a long stretch of this technique in Simon Van Booy's latest: Everything Beautiful Began after. It cloyed at me, but I ultimately overcame it. The premise is interesting here, so maybe worth a try.

  9. I wasn't a fan of this book at all, but the second person wasn't what ultimately did me in. And I do recommend Sister--I really enjoyed it.

  10. I have not read this one yet and actually haven't even read any reviews for or against...I'm intrigued because of the cover, however I know the POV would drive me insane and I'd never get past page 50. Just go ahead and tell me the plot and who did it, k? ;-D

  11. I have read such mixed reviews about this book, but the story still sounds so intriguing. Thank you for the honest review- it is much more difficult to write about a disappointing book than one you really enjoyed. I appreciate your honesty!


  12. Darn, I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this one Natalie. Hope your next read is a better fit for you!

  13. I have read really mixed reviews of this one actually, you are not alone. I really want to read Sister which had amazing reviews and if I love that one may still try it. If you haven't read Sister maybe you should give it a try.

  14. Sorry you didn't enjoy this one more Natalie!


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