Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Life, After

Life, After is a YA contemporary novel by Sarah Darer Littman.

Argentina is Dani's home. But living there has brought on Dani's family serious, heartbreaking hardships. For one, a terrorist attack killed Dani's aunt and her unborn child. For another, government choices have thrown the country into economic ruin - causing Dani and her little sister Sari to go to bed each night hungry.

When her proud father can no longer deny the need to leave Argentina, as many families have done, Dani and her family arrive in America hoping for a brighter future. It's a hard adjustment. The apartment is even smaller, the high school is vast and full of students who are unkind, and Dani's father is still angry, still sullen.

But then Dani starts to make friends. First there is Jon, who is unusual and different from other students, and Brian whose grinning face proclaims himself her "personal GPS" around the school. And finally, popular, mean, cruel Jessica who might be hiding her own pain...

Dani's life is now completely different. It's not easy. But in it, maybe, she can find a way to move forward and leave behind the hurt and loss, and rebuild a fractured family...

Life, After presents an inspiring character in Dani, amidst a terribly sad story. It focuses on family, country, and the results of terrorism in such a poignant, touching, painfully realistic way. It is a story that easily relates to many of us struggling right now in America, especially in terms of the economic crisis. I couldn't help but become involved in the Dani's life, her sweet, little sister Sari, her courageous, strong mother, and distant, changed, bitter father. You yearn for their contentment and closeness to return. Life, After is lovely and riveting.

Sarah Darer Littman offers a perspective unlike any I've read before. It's simply beautiful with those real-life moments of laughter despite pain, and real-life moments of despair depite hope. The way this amazing author surprised me, touched me, and knocked me out with her delicate, believable, killer prose was stunning.

The characters, all of them, are full of depth and hide their own secret troubles and hurts. Oh, and how easy it is to fall for Brian - the dream guy that isn't so much a Prince Charming as much an honest, good guy with an awesome sense of humor and a caring heart. Not to mention he's cute. You root for Dani to have some happiness, to find some joy between the times of utter sadness at home - walking on eggshells around a father that once was beloved to her.

Life, After brought tears to my eyes! What a fantastic, profound and meaningful novel!!! All I could think as I closed the final page was: I love this book. I really, really love it.

***BIBLIOPHILE ALERT! I have been reading like an even crazier book addict than usual this year, and apparently three reviews a week can't keep up pace with me! Because of this, for the entire month of July I will be having FIVE reviews a week! That's right! Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday! So, please remember to check back here more often during July - and come August I'm planning on returning to three reviews a week. Keep the schedule change in mind, and don't miss any reviews! :)

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