Wednesday, August 26, 2009

After by Amy Efaw

After, by Amy Efaw, is the story of Devon and what happens to her in the days after she gives birth in her bathroom and throws the baby in a dumpster. Before you turn away in disgust, consider that Devon is fifteen years old and has convinced herself that she wasn't pregnant. She's also a great student, star soccer player, and all around good girl. Does she belong in the juvenile court system, where she can have a clean record and the potential for a productive life after her sentence? She's being charged with attempted murder, was it premeditated or a reaction to a situation beyond her understanding?

My first reaction to Devon was anger. I was angry that she would do that to her baby. Eventually I realized that she never gave any thought to it being a baby. Certainly not her baby. I was angry that she was so lost in her own world that she couldn't grasp what was happening to her. I wanted to yell at her and tell her to listen! Pay attention! I couldn't relate to someone so distant, while faced with something so serious.

The beauty in this book is that as Devon begins to realize what happened to her and what she did, we - the readers - begin to realize why Devon reacted the way she did. We are given the information we want as Devon takes responsibility and remembers what happened. Her awakening out of denial is what makes us understand the why and how.

This is a book written for young adults and it is certainly appropriate for teens. The hard reality is that this happens all the time. I really enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone. My only disappointment is that the Safe Haven program wasn't mentioned in the actual body of the story. It's a program that saves lives.

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