May 23, 2018

Aftermath Blog Tour: Review

Author: Kelley Armstrong
Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller
Release Date: May 22, 2018
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers


Three years after losing her brother Luka in a school shooting, Skye Gilchrist is moving home. But there's no sympathy for Skye and her family because Luka wasn't a victim; he was a shooter.

Jesse Mandal knows all too well that the scars of the past don't heal easily. The shooting cost Jesse his brother and his best friend--Skye.

Ripped apart by tragedy, Jesse and Skye can't resist reopening the mysteries of their past. But old wounds hide darker secrets. And the closer Skye and Jesse get to the truth of what happened that day, the closer they get to a new killer.
Aftermath is a fantastic multi-faceted new young adult novels that fans of all genres are going to love. When I first read the description, I thought this was a contemporary novel about the topic of school shootings and what happens in the aftermath. Which is sadly very relevant in our society. After I started reading though, it turned out to be so much more than a simple look at a cultural issue plaguing our country. It became one of romance, diverse characters, and also a mystery full of twists and turns that kept me guessing right until the end. The author did a wonderful job weaving all of these genres together to create a unique and engaging novel that I read over the course of a few hours in one sitting.

The story's two main characters - Skye and Jesse - were realistic and easy to identify with right from the beginning. We get to know them both quite well throughout the book and we get to see their shattered friendship mend and then blossom into something new. I loved watching them together as well as getting to know all the small details about them separately - their memories, hopes and fears, how the shooting had effected them, and everything in between. Another plus for me was that Jesse (or Jesser, his given name) can be considered a diverse character. His parents are from Bangladesh, but he was born in the U.S. We get to learn a little bit about his heritage, culture, and religion (which is Muslim). The big thing that I loved was that these details about Jesse didn't take over his entire character. They didn't completely define him. They were simply parts of his character, just like the facts that we learn about Skye and her family. I liked that it was included in the story but didn't overshadow the main plot.

Another big thing for me was the writing style the author chose. We get alternating perspectives between Skye and Jesse, which was a great choice in my opinion. Skye's chapters are told from the first person point of view, while Jesse's are done in the third person. I'm not quite sure why the author decided to write them this way instead of writing both characters in the first person. Don't get me wrong - it worked great for the story and we get to really feel like we're there with both of them and see things through each of their eyes, but I would've personally preferred both characters done in the first person. That's purely my preference and says nothing bad about the writing or the book. The plot was a nice mix of several different genres that seamlessly blended together to create a truly original novel. I enjoyed the contemporary aspect and liked the romance between Skye and Jesse, but the main pull for me was the mystery/thriller aspect. Thrillers are one of my favorite genres and this book didn't skimp on that part of the story. There were red herrings and tons of twists and turns that kept knocking my theories back to square one. It took me quite awhile to finally figure out who was behind it all and why, which says something about the author's writing ability. I've read so many thrillers that it's hard to surprise or stump me anymore, but this one got me. I highly recommend this book for fans of the several genres I've mentioned along with anyone wanting a great novel relevant to the times we live in.


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