August 18, 2015

Not After Everything Tour: Review + Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Not After Everything by Michelle Levy! Today I'll be sharing my review of the book - and don't forget to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a copy of your own!

Not After Everything
Author: Michelle Levy
Genre: YA Contemporary
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: Dial


A gritty but hopeful love story about two struggling teens - great for fans of The Spectacular Now, Willow, and Eleanor and Park

Tyler has a football scholarship to Stanford, a hot girlfriend, and a reliable army of friends to party with. Then his mom kills herself. And Tyler lets it all go. Now he needs to dodge what his dad is offering (verbal tirades and abuse) and earn what his dad isn’t (money). Tyler finds a job that crashes him into Jordyn, his former childhood friend turned angry-loner goth-girl. She brings Tyler an unexpected reprieve from the never-ending pity party his life has become. How could he not fall for her? But with his dad more brutally unpredictable than ever, Tyler knows he can’t risk bringing Jordyn too deeply into the chaos. So when violence rocks his world again, will it be Jordyn who shows him the way to a hopeful future? Or after everything, will Tyler have to find it in himself?
Not After Everything is a young adult contemporary fiction novel that delves deep into the teenage mind and soul attempting to find out what truly makes someone "tick." The novels focuses on the main character and narrator, Tyler, as he struggles through his senior year of high school after his mom commits suicide a couple of months before, and his dad has become more violent and unstable since her death. Tyler's life used to be one he enjoyed - he had a hot cheerleader girlfriend, was a starting running back on the football team, got good grades, and even managed to snag a scholarship to Stanford. All of this was before his mom decided to take her own life - which changed Tyler forever in many ways. The book is really a detailed character study of Tyler - how his life was before his mother's death, how her suicide changed him as a person, how that change effected his priorities and views on life, and how he would eventually learn to live with his pain without letting it take him down with it.

I generally don't read YA contemporary fiction because it seems to be a lot of fluff, in my opinion - mostly sappy high school romance stories and happy endings. This book does not fall into those categories. It's incredibly realistic and digs down into the deeper topics and darker emotions that life brings. Tyler was a great main character for the novel. Like I mentioned, the story felt more like a character study of him - so we really get to know him on several personal levels. To bring his character to life even more, the author used the first person point of view to write the novel - which was told from Tyler's perspective. I'm a firm believer that point of view has a large impact on the experience a reader has with a book, and that the best (normally) is the first person POV. We get to peek into Tyler's mind and learn things about him that we wouldn't usually be able to. His inner thoughts, feelings, fears, hopes, and so much more are exposed for us, which allows a much stronger bond to form between the reader and the character. This point of view was a perfect fit for the story - I honestly don't think it would have the same impact if it was written in a different way. 

The story revolves around Tyler and his life - both before and after his mother's death. I found it interesting to see the similarities and differences between these separate parts of him, along with how his character was changed and eventually grew because of this tragedy. The narration felt very realistic to me - it was gritty and didn't hold back anything. We get to see everything that goes on inside Tyler's mind - none of it sugar coated or glossed over. The story was a roller coaster of emotions as well. It's tragic, sad, uplifting, and full of hope - along with many other things - just as it would be in real life. We see what it takes for Tyler to begin to heal after his mom's death and how he starts to take responsibility and ownership of his life instead of letting others walk all over him. There are so many great lessons and tough subjects throughout the book that I can't even list them all. It's all very relevant to today's society, which makes the story and the characters take on such a realistic quality. Once you start the book, you'll be pulled into Tyler's world, mind, and heart - and you won't be able to stop reading until you've read the final words. Due to the subject matter, some readers won't like this book or won't even bother to read it at all - others, however, will read the novel and come out the other side changed - even if it's a little. Either way, I definitely recommend this novel to fans of the genre, especially those who enjoy realistic fiction. 

Michelle Levy was born and raised in Littleton, Colorado, where she memorized books before she was able to read, tricking her parents into thinking she was a genius. At eighteen she moved to Los Angeles, to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. Michelle always secretly harbored a desire to write. She spent many insomnia-filled nights dreaming up stories that she never thought to write down. When she finally set out to get something on the page, the words flew out of her until she had her first completed manuscript, and she never looked back.

When Michelle isn't writing she is most likely working at her other job as a casting director, where in her many years of casting she has been privileged to work on projects such as Six Feet Under, Deadwood, Bruce Almighty, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters, and many more.

She still lives in Los Angeles but desperately misses thunderstorms and clouds and, well, weather really (even the occasional snowstorm), so she visits Colorado quite often. (Author information & photo taken from Goodreads.)

Author Links:
Giveaway: (1) Hardcover copy of NOT AFTER EVERYTHING - Open to US only!

 *A huge thanks to the awesome people at Dial Books for sending me a copy of the book for review and for allowing me to host a giveaway!*

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