Source: ARC from HarperCollins via NetGalley
Yes, you read it right: nothing happened in the entire 400+ novel. Oh, mundane events occurred, all right. Laurel went to school. She went to her therapist. She cried on her bed. She got a job at the animal shelter. But nothing of significance appeared on the horizon. The novel was a gigantic blob of nothingness. I don’t know about you, but when I pick up a piece of fiction, I expect to be dazzled or touched or experience some sort of change in the way I view the world. If I really wanted to bore myself with blobs of nothingness, I would pick up my Physics textbook instead.
I do realize that 1-star ratings are quite harsh since an entire team of people dedicated time and money on this piece of writing, only to have it hated on by a reviewer they kindly provided an ARC to. But hey, we have standards, and any book I think was a waste of time to read receives only 1 star.
OK, since Laurel’s parents and brother pass away in a car accident near the beginning, you would expect the novel to be about healing and dealing with grief. But no, Laurel basically mopes around for a while and then dives into an entire vat of boy drama. Would you be worrying about boys when your entire family has just passed away? Sending flirty emails to your next-door neighbor, whose mother also died in the same car accident? No. No, you wouldn’t.
While the characters themselves don’t get on my nerves, their interactions are quite infuriating, with Laurel and David being the prime example here. It is understandable that both would be unstable after the deaths of their families and that seeking solace with someone who knows what you’re going through helps with the pain. But the romance between these two; I mean, really. Laurel obviously pines after David for a good part of the novel, and David isn’t even around half the time. But then one day, the author decided to wave her magic wand and poof, they’re a happy couple. Not every single YA novel needs romance, you know?
I understand how others might have been moved by The Beginning of After, but this novel was not for me.
I want to stab something