Monday, 22 April 2013
Review: The After Girls by Leah Konen
When I received an email regarding reviewing this book I quickly agreed. I had not previously heard anything about this book but after reading the synopsis I needed to know more.
The After Girls follows Sydney and Ella as they come to terms with the death of their best friend Astrid, and how they are dealing with it. In Sydney's point of view she turns to drink to block it out, whilst Ella is seeing Astrid, getting messages and phone calls off her, and even Facebook messages.
We learn about Astrid's death at the very beginning of the book, and from that point onwards we see the girls slowly spiralling into a state of either oblivion, or disbelief and denial.
This trio of friends have grown up together, sharing lots of things and basically doing what teenage girls do. they have their own little run down shack they found abandoned in the woods, and made it theirs, stamping their mark all over it with photos, books etc. This is where Astrid goes to die, but Ella can't understand why she committed suicide and needs to find out why she died.
The After Girls is full of anguish denial, and grief. Seeing how each girl is dealing with the loss of their friend is an emotional journey, and each one deals with it differently. Ella is determined she needs to find out why Astrid did this, and will stop at nothing to discover the truth, but some truths are meant to remain hidden, and some of the truths Ella discovers rock both of these girls.
Throughout The After Girls there is the constant question hanging over everyone's head, even my own, why did Astrid commit suicide, as the plot progresses there is then the added mystery of what is really happening with Ella, is everything she see's real, or is it really just her imagination. I love how Jake, Astrid's cousin, is there to help Ella, even though they have only just met, and to me he feels like he is the only one that understands Ella, even though he doesn't understand everything she is going through.
The ending of The After Girls was not something I suspected and it made me feel sorry for all involved with it. Leah Konen writes a truly gripping story with hints and clues to what is going on, but not enough to give it all away, but with enough going on to keep you reading and wanting to know more. The subject of suicide can be a sensitive subject to others, but Leah has written about it in a sensitive way but still manages to capture your emotions.